The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has just aired a damning exposé called “Paper Tiger” about the devastating deforestation caused by the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia. The program is called Foreign Correspondent and it is a sort of Aussie 60 Minutes.
The piece features compelling footage of logging giant APRIL mowing down vast expanses of Sumatra’s primary rainforests and creating an “ecological Armageddon” in order to feed their paper mill in Riau, which is the largest such mill in the world.
RAN forest campaigner Lafcadio Cortesi and I spent a half day with the ABC film crew when we were in Sumatra last month. Quotes from Laf’s extensive interview with them are featured throughout the program.
This great investigative piece includes emotional pleas from lifelong farmers about to lose their land to APRIL’s clear cut logging and shows motion detector camera shots of critically endangered Sumatran tigers just days before their habitat was bulldozed for a paper plantation. It documents both government corruption and explosions of violence resulting from the social conflict surrounding APRIL’s forest destruction. This maddening footage is interspersed with snippets of blatant greenwashing and callous disregard from APRIL’s Director of Operations, David Kerr.
The show is a half hour long, but it makes for gripping viewing and offers a strong introduction into the urgent forest crisis underway in Indonesia. I wrote a blog post about this portion of our trip entitled “A Rainforest Apocalypse? People, Peat And Promises For A New Direction“.
Watch the exposé here. You can also read some uplifting news about Indonesia in my post entitled “From the Field: Inspirational Agroforestry at the Corner of Nature.”