Saturday, September 20, 2014

Campaigning to Protect a Borneo Rainforest

Tonight in Oxford, Ross Harrison hosted the first UK screening of his half-hour documentary Sunset Over Selungo, ahead of the movie's online release September 22nd.

The vistas shown in the film's trailer are stunning, a reminder of the raw and magnificent beauty of the movie's major star: a rainforest blanketing a large northwest portion of the island of Borneo. The Penan tribe has been hunting and fishing in the forest for centuries, but now, as their way of life is threatened, Harrison is hoping to make their case and convince people to donate to an effort to create a Penan Peace Park.

From the movie's website:

The state leadership has granted logging companies concessions to most of its forests, without properly consulting the people who have always lived on those lands. This means the companies have permission from the state government to cut the Penan’s forests down.
Satellite image analysis shows that a staggering 89 percent of the rainforests in Sarawak have been heavily impacted by logging, with much of the forest completely destroyed. Threatened with the destruction of their livelihood, the Penan gathered together in the 1980s and 1990s to defend their homeland. They built blockades to prevent loggers reaching their forests and protested to the government.
Vast areas of forest were lost, but one of the groups that managed to hold back the loggers to some extent were the Penan from the Upper Baram area, which includes the Selungo valley.

The Penan Peace Park effort was launched in 2009, backed by a coalition of 18 Penan villages. Once Sunset Over Selungo is launched online Monday, a link within the movie and on the official website will allow people to donate.

The PPP will be a place where humanity and nature are living in harmony, where the quality of life and livelihood are secured for both present and future generations, and a place where economic and human development are socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable.

[Sunset Over Selungo]

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