Feb 4

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 www.sherriharvey.com 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

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