Moving Past Cute Orangatans: The Cost of Rainforest Destruction in Human Lives


Spoils of Destruction. Indonesian villagers fighting palm oil giants to reclaim their rainforest

RT (2018)

Film Review

Spoils of Destruction is about the Indonesian resistance movement to reclaim rainforest illegally confiscated for palm oil plantations. In Indonesia alone, ten million hectares of tropical rainforest have been to destroyed to plant palm oil trees. In the process, tens of thousands of peasants have been driven off their land, as well as having their water and remaining land poisoned by pesticides.

I find it both ironic and predictable that the western non-profit industrial complex chooses to campaign solely about orangutans endangered by multinational palm oil companies, to the exclusion of the large human population that has been sacrificed.

Palm oil is a common processed food additive linked with diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Here in New Zealand, farmers import large quantities of palm kernel as supplementary feed for “grass-fed” dairy cows and beef.

The benefits the Indonesian government promised when the land confiscations began 20 years ago have never eventuated. At present only 30 percent of the population makes a living working for palm oil companies – the other 70% struggle to survive as subsistence farmers.

In the village of Semunjung Jaya, pesticide runoff has poisoned the river peasants formerly used for drinking water and a source of fish. Gone, too, are the wild boar villagers relied on for protein. Heavy pesticide use has also poisoned the soil on adjacent tracks of farmland – making it impossible to grow rice, vegetables or corn.

Villagers fighting to get their land back receive support and training from national groups fighting the illegal “occupation” of Indonesia by multinational corporations. With their support, residents of Semunjung Jaya are suing the Indonesian government and palm oil companies over illegal land confiscation. The government has responded by discontinuing the meager subsidy it was paying farmers who lost their land.

6 thoughts on “Moving Past Cute Orangatans: The Cost of Rainforest Destruction in Human Lives

  1. Reblogged this on shelbycourtland and commented:
    The worldwide destruction of “We The Peasants!” continues as governments, worldwide collude with corporations. Rain forests are being wiped out of existence, the drinking water of the locals is tainted with toxins, their livelihood is gone and those of us in America are faring no better. Just ask the homeless who are walking around dropping hookworms all over the place. Just ask those who are dying of cancer thanks to Roundup weed killer. Just ask those whose homes are shaking almost daily in Oklahoma thanks to fracking(hydraulic fracturing). Their water supply is also tainted and is undrinkable and their land is valueless.

    The “Spoils Of Destruction,” indeed!


  2. Dr. Bramhall, this is yet another atrocity! We are bombarded with them every single day! Pretty soon, there will be nothing left if the people of this world continue to allow their governments to give corporations, carte blanche over our lives. When all is a desolate wasteland, I guess we will finally look up from our smartphones and wonder, “What the hell!!” But by then, it will be too late!

    Thank you for trying to awaken us from a deep, unrelenting and distracting slumber.


  3. Shelby, there’s a lot of publicity in Australia and New Zealand about rain forest destruction in Indonesia, presumably because we import so much palm kernel to feed our livestock during drought years. But all the liberals here seem to care about is the orangutans – it wasn’t until I saw this documentary that I became aware of the immense human suffering involved.

    I saw on Al Jazeera last night about the cancer victim who won $250 million in damages against Monsanto – I’m sure his family can use the money.

    Thanks so much for reblogging my post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I posted a blog about that case against Monsanto and I sent a shout out to you in it because I know how much you loathe Monsanto; just as much as I do!

      And the pleasure in re-blogging your post was ALL mine!


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