The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Palm Oil Producer Destroying Critical Elephant Habitat With Impunity
Between Aug. 21 and Sept. 5, conflict palm oil grower PT. Tualang Raya cleared another 18 hectares of critical lowland rainforests inside the Leuser Ecosystem. This rogue actor has continued razing forests with impunity despite Rainforest Action Network exposing its ongoing destruction since September 2015.
PT. Tualang Raya is clearing in disregard of a government moratorium on forest clearing for palm oil development. According to satellite imagery analysis, PT. Tualang Raya has cleared a total of 205 hectares of forest since June 2016 when a government circular letter demanded that palm oil companies halt forest clearance.
Satellite analysis shows 18 hectares of critical elephant habitat was cleared by PT. Tualang Raya between Aug. 21 and Sept. 5, 2017.
The PT. Tualang Raya palm oil concession is located in a region of the Leuser Ecosystem called Aceh Timur, an area containing the world's best remaining habitat for some of the last populations of Sumatran elephants, a species that is on the brink of extinction.
Ancient elephant migratory paths run through this region and are being disrupted by palm oil expansion. Herds rely on these paths to find food and water, and when destroyed, elephants often stray onto cleared lands and come into direct contact with communities and plantation workers, increasing human-elephant conflict. If these key lowland rainforests continue to be destroyed, we will lose sufficient, viable habitat needed for the survival of this critically endangered species.
A critically endangered Sumatran elephant calf found sick after having been separated from his mother in a palm oil plantation in East Aceh.Nanang Sujana / RAN
PT. Tualang is also beginning to develop its own palm oil mill; this facility will only further drive the destruction of critical forests in the region.
Urgent action and intervention is needed by the Indonesian government to stop this destruction. PT. Tualang Raya's violation of the moratorium warrants revocation of its permit in order to halt further expansion into these irreplaceable forests.
While PT. Tualang Raya is not yet selling palm oil fruit, the destruction of the rainforests found in its concession is driven by the global demand for palm oil. Major brands like PepsiCo feed this demand by sourcing conflict palm oil. All brands must enforce a moratorium on forest destruction in their supply chains, including all palm oil companies with operations inside the Leuser Ecosystem.
Satellite imagery showing forest clearance in the PT. Tualang Raya concession from April to August 2017:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.