A Corrupt Government and a Corrupt Corporation Team Up to Destroy a Rainforest and an Indigenous Tribe
Corporations, aided by governments, are destroying people's lives, as well as the planet.
The unholy alliance
Corporations and governments frequently partner together in order to foster the corporation's insatiable greed for profit at the cost of humanity's welfare and the health of the planet.
The Price of Palm Oil
Jill Richardson, writing for alternet.org, has reported on the activities of the palm oil corporation, Wilmar International, on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. She has chronicled how the Indonesian government partnered with Wilmar on August 10th of this year to invade the small village of Suku Anak Dalam, in the middle of the rainforest, with guns and bulldozers, to destroy over eighty homes, completely leveling the village, and to evict all of its inhabitants, so that Wilmar could clear the land and build a palm oil plantation. Completely disregarding the welfare of the village's inhabitants, the Indonesian government had sold the land where the tribe lived right out from under them, and they have been left to fend for themselves.
Palm oil has become ubiquitous. It is in half the processed foods we eat, and it is also in many of the body care products and cleaning products we buy. To meet the ever expanding industrial need for palm oil, Indonesia keeps clearing rainforest land at a breakneck pace. Since 2000, over fifteen million more hectares of rainforest have been obliterated; every year an area bigger than the size of Connecticut is cleared, and Indonesia has lost over 46 percent of its rainforests since 1950.
The palm oil industry, with the blessing of one of the most corrupt governments on earth, is also enslaving children. On alternet.org, in an article titled Worst Food Additive Ever? It's in Half the Foods We Eat and Its Production Destroys Rainforests and Enslaves Children, author Jill Richardson writes "Among the horror stories coming out of Southeast Asian palm oil plantations are accounts of child slave labor. Ferdi and Volario, 14 and 21, respectively, were each met by representatives of the Malaysian company Kuala Lampur Kepong in their north Sumatra villages. They were offered high-paying jobs with good working conditions, and they jumped at the opportunity. According to an account by Rainforest Action Network: 'The two worked grueling hours each day spraying oil palm trees with toxic chemical fertilizers, without any protection to shield their hands, face or lungs. After work, Ferdi and Volario were forced inside the camp where they'd stay overnight under lock and key, guarded by security.' They escaped after two months and were never paid for their work."
What you can do about it
When you go to your local supermarket, it's a good idea to stay away from the interior of the market where all the processed foods are displayed, and only shop around the edges, where the raw and unprocessed foods are kept. If you can afford it, buy and consume only organic produce. You'll be a lot healthier and you will be doing your part to save the planet's precious ecosystems from being ravaged by corporate greed and governmental corruption.