1. Who did the burning? mostly It is CORPORATIONs that owned massive chunks of lands (which some of the case these lands overlap with National Park territories).
The rest is small land owners (which also cover big areas if you sum it). These companies though have a strong lobby in the government across layers, whether it is in the national level or province level.
FYI, many of the companies are foreign ones including Singapore companies and Malaysian companies.
2. Why did the government not make it illegal to burn land?
There are several factors. Actually the amount of land that CAN BE burnt is limited. However the government do not strictly enforce it, because you know, it's Indonesian government.
So a step back, how come the government allow people to burn land in the first place? There is an old local bill (in Borneo area) that protect land owner to burn land. This date back
to an old tradition that in Borneo, in order to farm you gotta burn the land first because of the nature of the peat land itself. I agree that in 2015, there should be a solution in
making a farmland productive without even to burn it. This bill is not yet overruled and even so, being abused by corps to justified the act.
3. Another reason why there is almost no response from the Indonesian government is that the burning happened only in Sumatra and Borneo to the (North)West side (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand).
For better or worse, Java island doesn't get the haze at all, thus many politicians can't relate how bad it is actually.
What is sad is that it is the epitome of capitalism, that we can't do much about it. Palm oil is used everywhere and as long as there is a demand, supply will be there too.
Not long ago, you might have said "freon is used everywhere" or "leaded gasoline is used everywhere" or "asbestos is used everywhere" and as long as there is demand, supply will be there too. But people didn't just give up, they fought, and won.
Edit: all three replies (as of right now) seem to be saying the same thing: that what I'm proposing doesn't work with market forces, and requires government regulation. Which is exactly what I'm saying: just because capitalism dictates that this continues doesn't mean we have to put up with it, we can ban palm oil or at least ban palm oil farmed in a harmful manner, and fix the problem.
This is a job for a functional government, not for capitalism. But it doesn't sound like help is on the way anytime soon.
- a complete lack of democracy, instead a small elite that is literally burning their country to the ground, in order to take it all until nothing is left.
- the absence of skill or will to provide the necessary legislative law in order to actually govern this country and not just passively stand on the sidelines and watch until every thing is dissolved in smoke.
Now, that's not really what happened here, the government seems to have already been weak and corrupted, so those with money just take advantage of it.
But the Indonesians have a government that claims to be operating "for the greater good of the population". Clearly, they're not doing so, at least in significant cases.
Political science and economics understands many of the reasons for such failures. And it's not due to the label you put on the government. Whatever *ist you choose to call it, it's operated by people, and they're subject to the very same incentives and motivations. Putting a sainted "socialist" hat on doesn't make the politicians immune to these. Look into the field of "public choice economics" for more understanding of this.
Indeed, the worst crimes against humanity in all of history have been perpetrated by socialist governments claiming to be socialist, and working for the good of their people. Giving the government additional powers to protect you is functionally identical to giving the government additional powers to exploit you. You'll need some way to guard against that, and the good intentions of those believing in an "-ism" aren't sufficient.
Governments have been selling out people forever, whether to other individuals or whatever business group they formed. that is not capitalism, its exploitation
Let's put it like this. Imagine the Indonesian government didn't exist. What would the people be able to do to stop the environmental destruction? Would you advocate vigilante justice?
For example, imagine I've discovered Starbucks is doing terrible things, and to express my disgust I go around throwing bricks in the windows of the Starbucks in my area. What prevents/discourages this sort of vigilante behaviour?
More generally, the whole point of vigilantism is going outside the established judicial framework. If there is no such framework, the concept of vigilantism is meaningless.
As to what prevents/discourages this behaviour, the answer is mostly going to be "the presence of an existing judicial structure, backed by force, which disallows such behaviour".
Now what prevents street justice in a society without government intervention? The (simplified) answer is self-organised defence organisations. Is a mob/gang boss a preferable means of protection in a community, compared to those means that can be put in place by an elected government?
1. a member of a vigilance committee.
2. any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.
3. done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures
Say a heinous murder is committed and the perpetrator has been discovered. Vigilante justice is a person, or group, taking the perpetrator into custody and punishing them because they don't like that the government refuses to do so for some reason. Vengeance is a person, or group, taking the perpetrator into custody and punishing them even if the government wishes to do the same.
Also, you surely aren't going to convince me that your personal interpretation of a common word is correct by being snotty with me about it.
The adjective form of vigilante spells out violent and summary action. Summary action is often incorrect action which would not be commensurate with the (non-existent in that case) crime. Violent action is not the usual response of the justice system, so again it would be a response not commensurate with the (real this time) crime.
That definition seems to support my original description pretty well!
I don't care how you define it, what I'm asking is, is that better? Is that the society we want?
Going back to my original point, which was about whether a capitalist society without government intervention would be free from exploitation, what are your thoughts on that?
As for your question, a capitalistic society is never free from exploitation. Regardless of the state of the government. Without the government then capitalism would eventually run amok to the detriment of the people. With government it can still go too far due to corruption and cronyism to the detriment of the people. But between the two, I'll take capitalism with government oversight.
But I don't see much of this point to discuss as I believe that any form of economic and government system will never be free from exploitation, because human beings are involved.
Let's go back to the Starbucks example. The reason I used Starbucks is because they're very likely to be one of the companies that's indirectly supporting the deforestation happening in Indonesia as a result of demand in palm oil.
Now how responsible do you make them? One person may argue it's not Starbucks' fault, it's up to the suppliers to act responsibly. Another person would say that companies like Starbucks should be made responsible, as they're one of the companies driving demand for cheap palm oil without the environmental cost factored in.
The reason we have laws in place is to act as a way to set out acceptable behaviour, informed by consensus rather than the whim of an individual. If we abandon law we abandon the framework by which the actions of individuals can be fairly judged. If we leave it up to individuals then you're much more likely to have chaos, more exciting perhaps but more frustrating if you want to have any lasting stability.
This isn't just theory. In countries where (for lack of a better work) the justice framework has broken down (such as Mexico) vigilantes fight against cartels due to police and the government taking no action (either due to fear, corruption, etc). A vigilante is only a vigilante until there is no local sanctioned governing and policing structure, at which point the vigilante becomes the police for all intents and purposes.
Does this cause chaos? I'm sure. At the same time, I'm sure locals would prefer someone protecting them versus no one.
Consider the rise of the Sicilian Mafia as one example of what can happen when you have an inept government unable or unwilling to protect its people:
The problems with vigilante justice are universal, it doesn't matter if you have little choice or not. Generally speaking the problem is that vigilante justice is much more open to the whim of individual desires and views.
Why is that bad? Let's use the 'brick through the window of Starbucks' example I've used before. If you agree that Starbucks are bad, then the brick through the window may look justified, but if you do not believe Starbucks are bad then the action may appear unjustified.
Consider that the problem some people have with government is that decisions are made on your behalf and you feel powerless to change this. However, if you consider what you have without government, you still have people making decisions on your behalf, except you now have millions more of them, and there's less chance to influence what happens as a result of their actions if you disagree with what they've done. Is that better?
The moment you say "Imagine the Indonesian government didn't exist," well, it's going to be a complete shithole. At best you'll be at the mercy of the local warlord or gang leader. Quibbling over exactly how you live your life in this lawless shithole doesn't seem very relevant to the actual situation.
If your screws never stay in after you hammer them then maybe, contrary to expectations, you don't have the right tools.
I'm not specifically anti-libertarian, I think people of that mindset have a place (frontiers, in all senses of the word), but that putting personal rights on a pedestal in a highly civilized, industrialized and often urbanized society doesn't yield good results. That said, there's problems with the other end of the spectrum as well, where the group cannot focus on the important through petty squabbles, or even agree on importance, or worse yet focus on solutions that do not yield results (all rooted in the same reason as above, mind you). Our own nature is one of our worst enemies at this point.
If you have a million farmers causing it, then it has to be elevated to a national level, as an enforcement issue. It becomes no different than if country A were allowing radioactive run-off to flow into country B's territory.
If you then say that those international bodies don't function properly, such that they can't or won't punish Indonesia for failing to stop the mass pollution that is directly harming Singapore, then that is a huge inter-governmental failure that obviously needs to be corrected.
Property rights are enforced at the government level (judicial, police, military), not by corporations. Any failure on protecting property rights, is inherently a governmental failure in one regard or another.
PS: It's a question of overhead, there are some downloading lawsuits with large numbers of defendants but they tend to be worth ~3k / person and are settled individually. With a max payout < 10$ it’s just not worth it.
If we're going to have capitalism, we should at least fix this. Natural resources belong to the commons, and capitalist should pay market rate rent on those resources, the proceeds of which should be distributed to all or be used to fund commons costs (government).
The richest people in world history never came even remotely close to accumulating even a tiny fraction of global wealth. The same goes for the world's biggest commodity corporations.
There will never be a corporation more dominant in oil than Standard Oil was in its time, and even they couldn't corner the global oil market. Oil is far easier to corner than real estate. The richest / biggest private land-owners in the world, hold a comically tiny slice of land compared to what's out there.
Not even for libertarians.
Who cares about the potential winnings from a lawsuit, in a world with no health inspectors (to pick a common "the free market would sort it out" theme), if a restaurant has poisoned your granny and she's in a coma?
We may be discussing slightly different points here. In Australia, we control bush land (including farm land) by controlled burning.
It releases nutrients back to the soil.
It stops build up of plant matter which can become dangerous and cause extreme bushfires.
I am not aware of a better solution than controlled burning that is cost effective. I was told that it's like several smaller natural bush fires than 1 big uncontrollable fire, so the environmental impact (eg. Smoke) is not increased. However seed pods of wildlife are preserved in smaller fires but destroyed in bigger fires.
> FYI, many of the companies are foreign ones including Singapore companies and Malaysian companies.
Most of those companies seem to be of Indonesian origin. The Singapore-related ones I know of:
* Sinar Mas and Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources are both owned by Indonesian tycoon Eka Tjipta Widjaja.
* APRIL is headquartered in Singapore but owned by RGE, an Indonesian group run by another tycoon.
* Even Wilmar International was cofounded by an Indonesian.
Honestly, if Singaporean landowning companies were really directly causing the haze, I think (hope) they'd be more sensitive to the damage they'd be causing to their homeland. The impact is incredibly obvious to anyone in Singapore, which no doubt includes some of the top management of companies based here.
The chain of responsibility goes all the way back to the people starting the fires and the conditions motivating them to do it. The Indonesian government has to trace that chain and carry out the investigations and arrests. Singapore can only punish downstream companies in order to exert an indirect effect.
> What is sad is that it is the epitome of capitalism, that we can't do much about it. Palm oil is used everywhere and as long as there is a demand, supply will be there too.
No, we can do something about it - simply enforce the laws that are already in place against starting fires. Palm oil isn't the problem - the lack of ability or will to enforce the laws is. If the Indonesian government manages to do that (and even find a alternative way for the farmers to earn a livelihood), palm oil will be fine to use.
 The Singapore government and newspapers have been digging into the relationships of these firms: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesias-biggest-...
After decades of no action by Indonesia, it is clear the only way to fix this is for neighboring nations to be more forceful and go in there and do something about it. But fear of conflict in SE Asia is high, so I'm worried that this problem is only going to get worse without worldwide pressure by major nations.
They have a number to measure how bad it is, they call it "PSI", see e.g. http://www.haze.gov.sg/. This is used in multiple countries, though the definition on what number constitutes bad air differs. During my entire stay, the number was 50-100 or so. Keep this in mind.
So my experience: One evening there's like a fog, you can maybe see for 50 meters max. But the fog isn't water particles in the air, it is leftover material from the fire. Meaning: what you're seeing is utterly bad. Most of the time I spend either in the office, restaurant, a bar and public transport (AFAIK not only air conditioned but also filtered air).
I wear contact lenses. Though only spending maybe 30 min in open air max: I got red eyes, had to clean my contact lenses again and had to buy eye drops to fix my red eyes.
The haze was way worse before I arrived there. Only 1.5 day it was really bad. However, you could never see the sky. Just filthiness in the air preventing you from seeing it.
I had it badly with 50-100 of "PSI". Before I was there it was around 300!
Singapore is pretty interesting (fooooood! :-D), but living there will really shorten your life thanks to this.
I never really understood haze until I experienced it myself. It's good to remember that it's not like the fog I am used to. It's like staying in the smoke of a burning building.
Next up is Thailand's burning season in a few months when the people in the north and neighboring Myanmar do their annual burn of farmlands and forest. That's usually pretty bad, too, but not on the same scale as the burning in Indonesia.
Kalimantan, where the fires are burning, hit 3300 PSI.
When we got back from our Thailand trip to flee the haze in 2013, the leftover remnants of the crisis yielded all our clothes in our closet penetrated with thick black dust.
After doing a quick web search, you can play spot the difference in air quality in these pictures: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/singapore-indonesia-haze-interactiv...
So, like 40-50 times less per capita. Total GDP doesn't matter much when there are size discrepancies that large.
They have an estimated 2015 GDP per capita of $3,400 per the IMF. They have 250 million people. Their GDP is a lot closer to $850 billion.
A $2.8 trillion GDP would require a $11,000 GDP per capita. That's not accurate.
1) Most of their advanced air force consists of American hardware. That automatically means they're behind the US in technology.
2) You can't attempt to claim that title without long-range bombers. B1? B2? B52? Anything? The tech, targeting and global deployment capabilities to support all of it? Nope, Singapore has nothing there.
3) Their drone programs are very far behind what the US had ten years ago. They're relying on weak, short-range Israel UAV tech. The IAI Scout is the core of their drone capabilities and it's 40 year old tech. It can only fly to 15,000 feet and at 109 mph. Then the IAI Searcher, which is only capable of 20,000 feet and 125 mph. Those are toy drones.
The Global Hawk goes to 60,000 feet, and 357 mph. And that's considered old US tech.
4) Their global air force integration capabilities are non-existent. That includes complicated logistics and the ability to fly anywhere globally, and refuel for long-range strikes while ensuring the safety of all planes in question.
That means the Singapore air force can be destroyed locally without ever posing a threat. That's not an advanced air force, it's a sitting duck. China would dismantle their air force in a matter of a few days.
5) They have no space capabilities at all. That includes the ability to shoot down satellites, a required capability for the next 20+ years to claim an advanced air force. They have no ICBMs, and no other long-range missile capabilities.
6) They don't have a fraction of the global spying and data gathering (targeting, situation awareness, et al) capability the US air force has.
7) They don't possess the F22, which is the best fighter jet in existence.
8) They're incapable of producing the bulk of the hardware that makes up their own air force, including the planes, UAVs, missiles, helicopters, etc. That means they're always behind and always will be by default.
it's quite bad enough that they keep claiming that they're using the best technology when in fact, they just typically bought it from somewhere else.
It has a quite a bad propaganda which you guys can't even tell from it unless you really think deep about it.
Cars here are so expensive also. On top of that, you need to pay more to "own" the car. For some cars, that cert cost even more than the car itself. Not only that, we have road tax, erp, parking fee, etc, etc whatnot.
Income inequality is quite prominent, even though they claim that they have high GDP. Of course you can say your country has it worst...but hell, you wouldn't claim your country has no beggar if there's someone in the streets picking up cardboard and begging for money, would you?
last but not the least, the population is so dam high and i think like...40% are foreigners? I can't tell who are foreigners anymore.
There are more things that I can think of, but I just end it here in case I get arrested for saying "wrong" things
But 200 years ago the island had about 1,000 people living there, almost all of them indigenous Malays. Current population of 5.5 million, mostly ethnic Chinese, likely does not have very many who would be descended from them?
Yes, they would.
Powerful armies are nothing more than logistics organizations, with 80-90% of members operating supply chains and maintenance to enable the 21st century weapons systems and their elite operators to destroy things.
300,000 guys with assault rifles and crappy Air Force are no match against 75,000 with modern technology and precision munitions.
Singapore is ~$300 billion.
Not sure why Indonesia's GDP keeps getting over-estimated by such a dramatic amount in this thread.
Sorry, that was just a bit careless looking up of numbers.
$850 billion is nominal GDP, $2.8 trillion is the PPP adjusted figure.
For Singapore, the nominal and PPP adjusted values are much closer to each other ($300 billion vs. $450 billion).
I'd love to see the reasoning behind that statement - particularly when they are compared with the likes of Israel, which isn't that much bigger.
I work with numerous people who would otherwise be starting businesses in their home countries, but don't want to have their pocket picked by the absurd laws forcing native Malays and Indonesians to be employed in top positions despite having no skills.
> ignorant majority ethnic group
In fact Indonesia is has thousands of native tribes that constitute many different ethnic groups with a huge diversity of cultures and languages. These are the NATIVE people of Indonesia: Indonesians.
> rides on the backs of the East Asian immigrant populations that actually value education and hard work
Those Chinese immigrants are notorious in Indonesia for being exploitative businessmen who treat Indonesians, regardless of education level, as an underclass, funnel money out of Indonesia and into China, and hiring exclusively Chinese to work in their businesses. Because of the weak government (Indonesia was admirably non-bloc during the Cold War years, leaving it economically vulnerable), Chinese businesses since the 90s have been able to bargain their way into the country in order to harvest its natural resources while giving as little as possible to the Indonesian people.
> actually value education and hard work
The argument presented in JPKab's comment is a common slander against poor countries. Similar arguments have been made by the US about basically the entire people of Latin America, and by imperialist European countries. But an examination of what motivations are actually driving them reveal the true sentiment: "You're not harvesting your countries resources for me well enough!"
The "absurd laws" that aim to protect the Indonesians people and their land are some of the most promising things, as they are long-term assurances that the country will not grow up to be a two-tiered society, ruled by the Chinese.
JPKab and those who think like him would do better to do business in their own countries rather than forcing their way into countries who dont want them while simultaneously spreading bigoted lies about thousands of tribes and hundreds of millions of people that make up the "majority ethnic group[s]" of Indonesia.
Indonesia even has its own government-led anti-Chinese genocidal massacres that killed half a million people! Though of course it's not covered in state textbooks...
You can turn on layers in the Forest Use tab to see the correlation between where fires are/have been burning and where palm oil concessions are. It's pretty clear what's going on.
You can try to reduce your own palm oil usage, but it's difficult, because it's in everything from cookies to shampoo and it's not always clearly listed in the ingredients list for various reasons. A second issue is that palm oil has incredibly high yields per hectare when compared with other oil crops... so from a sustainability perspective choosing a different source of plant oil is a tough call and depends on where the alternative is being produced.
Whatever happens, there must be some way to reward Indonesians for sustainably producing palm oil or some other crop. Large food companies can do a whole lot, they should absolutely be working to get their supply chains certified under the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) program (you can also turn on a layer on the map to see these areas as well). This program is far from perfect, but is much better than the wild west of conventional palm oil, and rewards responsible producers.
Paper and timber are a bit easier, you can make sure all of the paper you use in your office or packaging is FSC certified, and you should require that any construction done on you or your company's behalf sources FSC timber. It's not necessarily more expensive.
See stories about -
Coffee certified by the RainForest Alliance: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-34173532
Free range certified eggs came from battery hens suggesting the "British Lion" mark is meaningless: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/mar/11/free-range-eggs-fr...
Burning is one way to ensure you have really cheap palm oil.. Most of the palm oil demand is foreign, it is NOT Indonesia making it purely for themselves.
For one, Indonesia should have rules banning the burning practice. AFAIK, they have been offered money to combat the need for burning (as compensation) and they ignored these offers (probably reputation thing).
Secondly, other countries should enforce that companies ensure that the palm oil is produced in a ecological friendly manner. Ecological way is NOT expensive btw; cost wise it makes almost no difference.
Lastly, countries should pressure Indonesia to enforce this. Economic pressure is used all the time. Indonesia is NOT sovereign, especially in this case. They're quite good in responding to the palm oil demand from other countries!
That's hardly a reason they should be allowed to do it. Hypocrisy should make us feel bad, but it in no way invalidates our request that they quit shitting up the environment.
Palm oil should be taxed per the burn. We can calculate the aggregate impacts of this burning. Why not quantify a cost on these industries for abusing our common good? We all share this planet. The destabilization of it due to climate change from carbon emissions in unjust to all citizens of Earth, regardless of country. We should take a stand and push for a price on carbon, a price to burn.
It's an awful situation. We're also flying into this mess with two small children; I guess we'll bring masks and protect them as much as possible. We're far less affected than all of the people staying there all the time, of course.
It's a hard problem to fight; it seems obviously a legal issue first... this shouldn't be allowed. But the Indonesian govt isn't handling it; so... critique them? Replace them? It seems like a choice between useless and ridiculous. Is there any really useful response here?
Or focus on the companies benefiting from it, e.g., http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/ntuc-fairp...
Boycott palm oil (but it's in everything); ask the massive corporations downstream to be more responsible about the raw materials they purchase... how big of a boycott does this need to be, how loud/public a demand, before they'll make serious changes, not just gestures?
I do think we'll see some positive response, in fits & starts, but it's a depressing situation at the moment.
Maybe it's some kind of "Apocalypse fatigue"? At some point, you become desensitized when so many bad news follow each other, and I have the impression the Western public is at that point. Which, of course, is a bad thing.
Example: I am from Brazil, since about a year ago I stopped paying much attention to international news, because we have enough trouble here (severe drought, countrywide power supply problems, 10% inflation, -2% GDP growth, unemployment, Olympics preparation is sucking, World Cup, the one that already happened, is still with buildings under construction and creating problems, massive corruption found, parts of the military seemly preparing a right-wing coup, while other parts are seemly preparing a left-wing coup, and the list of problems goes on for a looong time. Also our president has 7% approval rating, probably is one of the most hated politicians in the world right now).
If we actually managed to preserve the Indonesian rainforests in the face of global capitalism, that would be unprecedented in the history of the human race. The question isn't why we haven't, but how in the world could we?
Hell, the Chinese government can't even stop their own people from wanting rhino horns. And it's not for lack of trying.
But Indonesia burns? Not even worth a mention. Not a single word.
Of course e.g. Deutsche Welle was predicting this is coming in July: http://www.dw.com/de/el-ni%C3%B1o-erh%C3%B6ht-feuergefahr-in...
and have kept reporting, e.g. a few days ago: http://www.dw.com/de/die-verheerenden-folgen-der-brandrodung...
I always check hnews + 3 others news sites (like the guardian) just to be well rounded ;)
Sep 19: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/16/asia/gallery/southeast-asi...
Sep 25: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/25/asia/singapore-haze-indone...
Oct 01: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/01/asia/indonesia-evacuates-b...
Oct 30: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2015/10/30/indonesia-fig...
And this is just one (albeit major) news provider.
(I have seen this many times reported by my local national broadcaster in Finland. But then maybe I just notice and care because I know people who live in the affected area. E.g. in June this year, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited APRIL announced it will stop forestry work in order to reduce forest fires and conserve nature. http://yle.fi/uutiset/aasian_sellujatti_lopettaa_hakkuut_ind... )
I really can't suffer for Indonesia, Greece, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria and many more without going insane.
Also people do not know how they could react and discussion like this here could give them ideas.
I would think that what a person could do in another country for example is to pressurise his representative to create embargo against Indonesia so that they have less economical motivation to carry on with such fires. Embargo could be conditional - if fires continue (could be observed from orbit), embargo continues.
This would probably not protect forest, as now more forest is needed to cut down to be economical, but it would protect peoples health.
I think you mean "do not understand".
As for diplomatic solutions, Singapore has tried to get Indonesia to release the names of any Singapore-based companies who are creating this problem in the region by farming there, but Indonesia won't do that either. Try to protect their business interests. If Indonesia could do that, Singapore could punish those countries under its control.
If what you are saying is true, then it really points to the direction that international embargo would be a solution to this problem.
Well that clears it right up. Forget deaths, acres burned, people displaced, homes destroyed - the real metric to measure the scale of the tragedy is CO2 released because, you know, global warming.
I like that the author mocks his own industry for pursuing their own agenda instead of caring about the real story in the opening paragraph then exemplifies that very trait.
It is utterly irrelevant that it is being released now. It will be reabsorbed when the forests regenerate. If those trees had died of non-fire causes, they likely would have rotted in the open air and released methane anyway. This is just natural noise in the carbon cycle, which would occur if the human race didn't exist. Global warming is the theory that by digging up FOSSILIZED carbon, that isn't part of the current cycle and releasing it we are forcing the system out of the prevailing equilibrium.
Classic stuff from good old George Moonbat, who is notorious for struggling with the science bit of his job.
Inspired by the Principle of Charity, I choose to read incongruous lines like that as allowances for the "double audience". Of course destroying the rain forest and choking millions of people is worse than some theoretical threat that's mostly relevant to politics. However one can't simply write that in the Guardian. Even if one could, there's nothing wrong with appealing to people of varying ideologies.
The article is cross posted on theguardian.com and monbiot.com.
The Guardian version says:
> ... Starbucks, PepsiCo and Kraft Heinz are examples. Don’t buy their products until you see results.
His personal webpage version says:
> ... Starbucks, PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz and Unilever are examples. Don’t buy their products until they change.
As a case in point his "Registries of Interests" lists his annual fees, sources of income from one-off articles, gifts he was given, and just about anything that implicates him financially!
It is astoundingly good and he makes a fine example that I wish more journalists and news organisations would follow.
I asked them: https://twitter.com/keff85/status/661642069828587520
But for the last two months it's been constant smoggy haze that makes your throat itch and your nose stuffy. And there's virtually no protest to it here. Just sarcasm and cynicism.
"The one-map policy — a comprehensive map of land ownership to provide clarity on the exact boundaries of land owned by companies — should be fully implemented. Experience over the past decades has shown there is an acute lack of transparency when it comes to maps on land ownership. Without a centralized, public map, the task of pinpointing errant companies or landowners becomes murky.
"The government also seems to have been reluctant to make its existing concession maps publicly available to public forest-monitoring platforms. If we are serious about tackling the appalling air pollution, the government must release data that will facilitate public monitoring."
I come from a country like that and there is no way this will be solved easily, some countries are just too corrupt and incapable of handling themselves, it takes a lot of investment in education and a large number of generations to fix that and since the country is a mess there is no way for that to happen without some miracle.
It's so absurd that drug use or commerce is punishable by death yet every five minutes you get stopped getting offered some kind of it, of course being a tourist in my early 30's help with that but I was with my wife and I don't exactly look like a junkie. What I mean is people (some at least) are not afraid of breaking the law...
This is not even in their radar.
It's worth a visit, but living is probably not fun.
Where were you that you were offered drugs? Places where Indonesians live or places where tourists go to party?
I was offered drugs everywhere... people would stop us in little vespas while walking, sellers inside stores, etc... it reached a point where my wife became afraid of people coming toward us.
People are great, friendly, some scammers but well that is expected in tourist places, the place is beautiful, it's dirty cheap. it's just that it looked crazy poor /unorganized, I was born in Brazil so being among really poor people is common to me(unfortunately) and I was choked when I got there.
If the question was, "can we change how some people are apathetic to Indonesia burning?" I think that would be an interesting question.
Nice hook btw, the title got me to comment. Then, I looked at your website. Of course OP has experience in click baiting and copywriting ;)
Here in Australia, fire is such a part of the cycle of life that the local ecosystem has entirely adapted to it: for example, there's a tree (the stringybark) which exudes a flammable oil and drops its bark in wonderfully flammable strips into piles on the ground. This ensures that, when the next bushfire comes roaring along, it rips through at lightning speed, leaving the core of the tree alive to regrow and eliminating the weaker competition. It's just a bit of a shame if your house happens to be in the way... and what's happening in Indonesia and Singapore right now is basically an intensified, human-supercharged version of the same phenomenon.
And FWIW, I lived in Singapore for 8 years and endured some of that haze myself. It still can't hold the proverbial candle to the level of entirely man-made air pollution in China and, worst of all, northern India.
I'm also offering up prayers to the Lord of the host of ganoderma boninense.
I expect all of the above to have about the same effect.
Singaporeans are badly affected by the smoke. On the other hand, Singaporean business apparently are quite involved as the cause of the burning (for palm oil growing). Shouldn't therefore the SG public push these companies to stop it? Could there be a petition or some sort of protest? I would even try to help such a movement as I can (though I'm in HK, not SG).
I'm somewhat agree with one of the sentiments thrown in this discussion that a lot of people who doesn't get the haze directly (mostly the high ranking government official in Jakarta) won't understand the dire situation in the fields.
Also, there's nothing natural about free markets and capitalism. We (humans) made it up! We're free to change the rules in order to make life and the world better.
I was definitely cleaning out more black stuff from nose than normal.
I do think Indonesia will have to answer to ASEAN at some point, because this year it seemed so much worse than normal and affected the entire region. I can't see the current Vietnamese government letting it slide.
I suspect the politicians of Indonesia and the corporations in neighboring countries have other motives in this - and it's a quite a bit more complicated then the world looking away.
Syria is having a mass exodus of 20 million people running from their own government and the world is pretty much looking away (except when those people land on their doorstep).
this week is Indonesia fires, last week was china insane pollution from gadget manufacturing. next week will be something else. we wont ever be free while all the above exists..
"The Grasberg Mine is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located in the province of Papua in Indonesia near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua, and it has 19,500 employees."
I first heard of this mine when, 20 years ago, a friend of mine and I thought it would be "fun" to climb the highest mountain "on the continent of Australia" 
We rapidly realised that this would be near impossible due to political, and at the time (and indeed now), logistical reasons.
A few years later I read Tim Flannery's "Throwim way leg"  which discussed the development of the mine, the road that accesses the mine, the conflicts that surrounded the mine, and the secrecy that enshrouds the mine.
To this day it's very difficult to access Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid), mainly due to the fact that the mine operators don't want people in the area. Historically it was the local tribes that presented the problem, these days it's Freeport-McMoRan et al who present the problem.
The mine itself has been the subject of contentious investigation:
"In 1995, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) revoked Freeport's insurance policy for environmental violations of a sort that would not be allowed in the US. It was the first action of this sort by OPIC, and Freeport responded with a lawsuit against them. Freeport states that this revocation was based on a misunderstanding, the result of a single 1994 visit to Grasberg; the company later underwent an independent environmental audit by Dames & Moore, and passed."
Dames & Moore are a story unto themselves. Lookup https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URS_Corporation for more information, but they aren't / weren't the most unbiased group to be doing environmental audits.
Suffice to say, this particular mine has a very secretive and questionable history.
This is but one operation, in one sector of industry.
The resources sector of Indonesia has been mired by corruption, and worse, government complicity for decades. This has been pushed and sustained by Australian, US, UK, and European interests and has largely been ignored by the greater global community.
To see this latest environmental disaster receive so little press isn't surprising at all considering the recent history of the area. This isn't something that can be solely pinned on the Indonesian government, this is a horribly perfect example of international capitalism gone awry. The companies involved in profiting from these areas need to feel "somewhat responsible" (a slight understatement) for what's happening here.
Sorry people, rant over.
Colonialism is bad, sure, we all have to believe that. But an overwhelming percentage of the hot-spots and problem areas in the world are in places where old European colonial administrations were driven out by nationalists precipitously. In some places, it's taken these countries fifty years to develop institutions that are in the ball-park of the old colonial administrations, and some of them are still corrupt and evil enough to put Leopold II to shame.
#1: Things weren't "better" in colonial times anymore than they were better in Apartheid-era South Africa or Jim Crow-era America. Hell, we can even go back to Slavery-era America. Sure, things were more peaceful and ordered. At the expense of the subjugation of a significant percentage of the population.
You can absolutely attain peace and prosperity at the expense of the freedom of your citizens. We call that Fascism.
#2: Most of the problems that occur in post-colonial hot-spots are not there because the European colonial administrations left. They are there because THEY WERE THERE IN THE FIRST place.
* Deliberately destablized peaceful areas so that they would be the one to introduce order
* Divided and conquered previously peaceful tribes by boosting support for one in order to attain power (see: Rwanda)
* Toppled democratically elected governments because of fear of communistic populistic ideas that threatened wealthy western industrialists
* Created borders abstractly - merging peoples that did not want to be together and dividing those that did.
Western countries would not be this far ahead of the rest of the world without decades if not centuries of exploitation. And maybe, just maybe, if progress happened at a more natural rate we would have been able to learn some more sustainable practices. Maybe we wouldn't have the internet or smart phones for another century, but maybe we wouldn't have been responsible for The Sixth Extinction.
Like I said, obviously, colonialism is bad, m'kay. But, if you're going to impose a colonial administration, you can't just pull up stakes and remove the bulk of the machinery and personnel of the old administration, and expect things to work out well. I think we have at this point plenty of evidence that turning the keys over to a former colonial population that hasn't nurtured parliamentary ideals and institutions is as likely to end in warlordism, genocide, rampant corruption and repression, as a functioning, liberal state.
Also, the administration of V.O.C. and subsequent Dutch colony had as long a continuous existence as any of the petty sultanates and warlords that exploited the area before them. It's not like it was a bed of roses for the common man or woman living under the rule of the pre-colonial native kingdoms.
One of the problems is that Indonesia should have been either a number of independent states or a United States of Indonesia model, but turned into a kind of copy of the Dutch East Indies, except with Jakarta taking the place of the Dutch. In many ways, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Irian Jaya are Javanese colonies and treated that way.
It is very simple: If the people of Indonesia are unhappy with their situation, they have to actively change it. It is my impression, that power is very uneven distributed in this country and it doesn't seem like the ruling elite is going share it voluntary. You always have to fight for power, there is no way around.
Considering its history, Indonesia is actually not doing all that badly. I mean, yes, the leadership is corrupt and only really cares about Java, and the economic inequality is insane, but at least it's not at the Robert Mugabe/Idi Amin level. Not anymore, at least.
The nature of the beast is often misunderstood.
The main horror of colonialism was not foreign control.
The main horror of colonialism was its absolute authoritarianism and the administrative rule that was used to enforce it.
It's really odd to think any human being with that level of absolute authority could be somehow begnin.
I'm sure it would be cheaper than colonization.
the haze is bad, the highest i've ever seen. first time i ever cough due to haze
I don't see how taking money away from these companies and then telling them to do something more expensive by enforcing more responsible ways of making palm oil is an answer.
It seems that if you take away money from these companies, you'd inspire them to cut corners to turn profits. Their shareholders dictate profitability.
If you want to encourage good behavior, you should just contact them and tell them you are concerned and ask what they are doing about it to end this problem in a short timeframe. Ask them what you can do to help stop it. They will probably appreciate the help. If they don't respond, write another letter and give them a timeline, like the end of 2016, and tell them if they cannot make a change in the local behavior there by then, you will start a lifetime ban on their products in your family and tell your friends, social media, and the press about your decision.
In general though, banning products hurts workers and shareholders. It doesn't enact the change you want.
People should help, but it is unbelievable to me with such smart people here we can't come up with a more realistic way to solve the problem than a boycott.
Sure, by boycotting a business, the workers of that business (may) see their paychecks lowered. But the workers of the competing businesses where you'll be eating/staying instead will have more customers.
In fact, by going to that business instead of the one you'd go if you were boycotting the first, you are in fact doing the same to the later business as the boycotters are doing to the former.
So I can see how the boycott might be bad for the workers of the boycotted business, but it's neutral to workers in general.
Don't be fooled into thinking that Starbucks, Pepsi, Nestle and Monsanto are the ethically worst companies in world. Personally, I buy Nestle and Monsanto whenever in doubt, just because so much of the activism is misguided.
Huge-scale environmental damage was caused by state-controlled companies extracting natural resources in the USSR, for instance, but it could be that things like small-scale organic farming or little coal-burning cooking stoves in Africa are even worse (in terms of comparing environmental damage to utility for mankind.)
We also have to get out of the idea that utility for mankind overall is something to optimize for. It surely doesn't matter that Indonesian have miserable lives - there are 7B+ people in the world and a few less Indonesians are no big deal. However, the Sumatran forest, with all its endangered animals, is a very big deal.
It is fine to be angry about it and want to help, but choose a path that will work.
The way to help is to make companies that source palm oil from these terrible places to go bankrupt. That way, we clamp on demand for palm oil.
No, the market does.