The plantations

Mon, 2012-10-22 02:35
Friday
19. October 2012
Monocultures of palm or rubber trees, planted in endless rows, leaving no space or light for other plants, with a biodiversity of nearly zero. Planted on poor sour soil, previously rain forest, cut down and replanted every 30 years, exposing the soil to erosion in the process. The plantations are mostly owned by multinational companies, generating cheap raw materials for production elsewhere – the classical exploitation of nature and local workforce.
And yet – every child attends a school, there is electricity in the rural villages, and signs of an emerging middle class are everywhere. TV antennae on even the modest shack, motorcycles and scooters on the streets, well-stacked local shops and restaurants. Average income already is way above a low-wage country.
From a position of affluence and education, it’s easy to mourn about the destruction of the rain forests and the extinction of species. But we destroyed our ancient forests a thousand years ago, cultivated and transformed every space in the process, lost so many wild species on the way. We can’t deny these people the urge to get out of poverty and to have a lifestyle like ours, with electricity, mobility, health care and environmental consciousness. So maybe plantation agriculture is a small step in the right direction after all.

Location

Indonesia
3° 13' 51.6468" N, 98° 32' 20.8464" E