Part 1: Borneo Burning: One of the Faces of Climate Change

This post is a part 1 of a 4-part guest series by Sherri Harvey

According to the United Nations, 2019 was one of the most disastrous years on record for Climate Change disasters. In fact, in the month of July alone, there was a climate crisis disaster reported each week. Climate Change is real, although looks different in every single part of the world. No matter the face, there is no denying we need to find solutions. In Australia and California, fires ravaged the land. Fires in the Amazon have destroyed a large portion of the rainforests. In Indonesia, industrial-scale forest clearing has resulted in a 31 percent loss of rainforest in the past twenty-five years. In Borneo alone, the home of one of our biggest rainforests, mining, logging, and palm oil cultivation, has resulted in the destruction of a large portion of trees, a natural defense against climate change. And we need our rainforests. 

Tropical rainforests are located in five major regions: America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and New Guinea, with smaller outliers in Australia. They offer biological and cultural diversity as well as climate stability. In Borneo, the rainforests host the perfect balance of flora, fauna, soil, water, and animals to create an antidote for climate change, but what do the threats facing one of the biggest rainforests in the world actually look like? Borneo is ablaze. Rainforests are being replaced by palm forests. Dayak culture is disappearing. Orangutans face extinction. Indonesians need our help. Indonesia needs the world’s attention. 

In February 2020, I will be visiting places in the jungle that have fallen victim to the effects of the local and global demands for Borneo’s commodities and for the entire world’s natural remedies against climate change: the trees. My mission includes traveling upriver on canoes, driving through the jungle landscapes and staying in long homes with the traditional Dayak culture to paint a picture of one of the largest rainforests in the world. 

Through photos, essays and video, I plan to give a voice to the rainforest, the Dayak community and the orangutans in order to magnify the issues facing Borneo, and ultimately, all of us. Help me by following my journey to magnify the voices of Borneo in order to begin to see the ugly face of climate change. I aim to show the world what life is like for one of the last remaining rainforests on the planet.  

Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved” says Jane Goodall. Follow me here and at to view the effects that deforestation, mining, soil erosion, and illegal wildlife trading have on the people who live there. Could ecotourism bring awareness to the region and help the world realize that Borneo is burning and that they need help from the rest of the world before it’s too late?

David Attenborough’s Orangutan vs. Bulldozer photo


Sher Harvey/The Accidental Advocate

Orangutan photo credit USFWS/Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

Stay Informed!

22 comments on “Part 1: Borneo Burning: One of the Faces of Climate Change

  1. Thank you for your work to inform people.

    Power to the people who come together for what is right, and do the right thing.

    Do it!!

  2. Wow! I can’t wait to follow your trip. We need stories like this to see what this crisis looks like all over the world. Thank you.

  3. Without dedicated people like you informing the public of what is really happening we would all stay in our little bubble. Eventually that little bubble without people like you and these wonderful organizations could be surrounded by nothing but cement and man made materials; void of all our amazing diversified nature and sounds of the nature. Thank you for being a leader and showing the way.

  4. More people need to be informed of what is happening around them and this is a good way of doing it. Thank you for taking the first step and trying to take action on this important issue.

  5. This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story and for taking initiative on such an important issue. Can’t wait to see more.

  6. I do feel like people are blind sided by the fact that they don’t give attention to what is happening with the world unless it is affecting them. I appreciate that you are trying to spread awareness by going on these journey’s. Your journey will give people an insight to who is suffering all around the world. We need rainforests because it gives homes to plants and animals. Along with helping stabilizing the world’s climate.

  7. Rainforests aren’t protected by private property which is achievable for companies to illegally cut and burn down trees that are homes to many exotic animals. A Companies’ mindset isn’t about sustainability it’s about the economy and how they can raise a large amount of revenue with a short period of time. Overall this applies to each category whether its about food, clothes, tree, etc. I believe every one of us has contributed to these categories without knowing the impact of the environment.

  8. This is amazing! It is great that you are trying to give the forest the voice and can not wait to hear what you have to say about your journey. Safe Travels!

  9. This is amazing! It is great that you are giving the forest the voice it truly deserves. I cannot wait to hear about your journey. Safe Travels!

  10. This is inspiring! The work that you are putting in to give a voice to the Rainforests and the environment effected by Climate Change motivates me to look into how I can make a difference.

  11. it is really sad to see how humans exploit the nature for our own sake. Indonesia’s forests are home to millions of species I believe, and knowing they are losing their forever home because of us saddens me. I hope the world can see the crisis that’s taking place and do something about it.

  12. This story is amazing seeing one person see the issue that is climate change and actually making a difference with their actions versus just talking about it and not doing anything real to make a change!

  13. In this article I liked the talking about the different forms of climate change and how it can come in several different forms and still have drastic affects. By informing the reader of the different forms it paints a clear picture to a non believer that the recent climate disasters are not random events for no apparent reason. I also enjoyed the powerful imagery used in this article because of how striking some photos were, such as the Orangutang fighting a bulldozer. A quick question I had was, how have the Native people reacted to the shrinking of their forrest? I really enjoyed your article and look forward to the following parts to it.

  14. I think that we as a society do not realize the severity of the issue of climate change because nobody thinks it is effecting them. I think that you having gone on this Journey is doing a great service to not only us but the world as a whole so they know more about other places that are suffering.

  15. I loved reading your article. It is very informative and heartfelt. The Orangutan vs. Bulldozer photo is extremely saddening to see and displays how nature feels about mankind destroying the earth. “In Borneo, the rainforests host the perfect balance of flora, fauna, soil, water, and animals to create an antidote for climate change. . . I found this to be crazy, because despite the importance of the rainforest in Borneo, it is still being destroyed, yet people fail to admit or at least realize what we are doing. Especially when 2019 hosted the most disastrous climate change. I love the research you are doing to make a positive change that can potentially help save the world, and I look forward to seeing the rest of your research!

  16. This is a great article and I hope that it gives attention to the many problems happening in Indonesia. The picture is very sad to see. Orangutans had the land first and the people are just taking over their homelands. That is not right.

  17. These facts that you stated in this article are very alarming, but the even more alarming thing in my opinion is how very few people know about these things. I for one had no idea that climate crisis disasters are so common. I would like to research what constitutes as a climate crisis disaster and what doesn’t so I understand that statistic a little more in depth.

  18. I like how you provided each bit of information, informing the reader not just on your travels but Borneo and the importance of nature. You were able to bring to light the problems occurring in Indonesia of which most of your audience (like myself) was unaware of. I am glad that you are so passionate about learning and saving the orangutans!

  19. In many parts of the world, industrialists backed by their greedy government are squeezing our forest lung which is a home to millions of speechless poor animals for their luxurious life, hence creating an imbalance in our climate. The fate and future of forest lung and our centuries old Homeland is in our hand, if we live simply then everyone either those poor animals or those badly effected by climate change may simply live.

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