Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In APRIL’s No-Deforestation Pledge, Promises of Hope and of Pitfalls

Jakarta Globe, Daniel Waldroop, Jun 17, 2015

Forest cleared by one of Asia Pulp and Paper’s suppliers in Riau in this
Feb. 28, 2012, file photo released by Greenpeace. (EPA Photo/Kemal Jufri)

Jakarta. Two weeks ago, paper and pulp giant Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings, or APRIL, made an announcement that sent shockwaves through Indonesia’s environmental circles: It pledged to immediately stop all deforestation and to enact a policy of protecting one hectare of land for every hectare it develops.

Just 10 years ago, this kind of agreement would have been unimaginable, but the industry has changed rapidly under pressure from a combination of environmental watchdog groups, initiatives by the central government, and the public’s growing concern about deforestation.

Tony Wenas, the president director of Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), APRIL’s main subsidiary, tells the Jakarta Globe that the decision annlounced on June 3 has been in the works for a long time.

“Back in 2002 we introduced the wood legality system. In 2005 we applied the high conservation values assessment over our plantation. In 2014, we launched the sustainable forest management policy, where we committed to 1:1 conservation to development.  And now we’ve fast-forwarded,” he says.

“It’s a journey,” Tony adds.  “It doesn’t happen overnight.”

APRIL has joined a number of large paper companies in making these pledges. One of its largest competitors, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), announced a similar pledge almost three years ago. Today almost 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper manufacturers have agreed to end deforestation.

The change has been a long time coming. In 2003, Greenpeace launched an aggressive and public campaign against paper producers, focusing on APP. But rather than go after them directly, Greenpeace focused on their customers, major companies like Mattel Toys. For the price of doing business with APP, Mattel found its headquarters draped with a large banner featuring the iconic Barbie doll being dumped by Ken because he doesn’t “date girls who are into deforestation.”

Greenpeace kept the campaign going for a whole decade, targeting more than 100 APP clients to shame them into ending their contracts. In 2013, APP announced that it would no longer contribute to deforestation.

RAPP’s Tony readily admits the role that NGOs like Greenpeace have played.

“The input from the civil society, we listen to that.  And we like to be accommodating as well,” he says.

But there are other forces at play that led to APRIL’s commitment. “If produced sustainably,” Tony says, “our product will be better received worldwide.  There will be more trust.”

In fact, Tony believes the changes could boost profits.

“Because we invest in the environment and people, at the end of the day, we’ll be balanced, or with even more value,” he says.

And that’s enough for APRIL’s shareholders, whom Tony says are supportive of the company’s environmental commitment.

‘If they fail, we hit them’

The government too, has played its part. In his 2014 presidential election campaign, Joko Widodo called for greater oversight of the forestry industry, telling reporters that “if we have good, tough law enforcement, then it can be resolved.”

Last month, President Joko extended his predecessor’s moratorium on forest-clearing, although he declined to strengthen the regulation to include the roughly 48.5 million hectares currently without protection.

But APRIL’s commitment hasn’t satisfied everyone.

Nirarta Koni, director of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Indonesia, applauds APRIL’s pledge, but says there’s more work to be done.

“A pledge is just a pledge if there’s no other parties who watch that and make sure they’re doing their job,” he says.

Teguh Surya of Greenpeace Indonesia agrees that the fight against deforestation has shifted from shaming paper companies to supporting them.

“They put on the table a strong commitment. Why don’t we give them the space to change and monitor together and ensure together? If they fail, we hit them. That’s the new paradigm of the campaign now,” he tells the Globe.

Tony defends APRIL’s commitment and says that he welcomes the scrutiny.

“We didn’t want to commit what we couldn’t commit. We are walking the talk. We’re asking their help. Please help us monitor. Please come with us to the fields to see how people are harvesting things,” he says.

The one map

Even with close collaboration between the private sector and watchdog groups, challenges for Indonesia’s environment remain.

Since the rapid decentralization post-1998, land ownership in paper-producing areas like Kalimantan has been fraught with conflict. The local and central governments, business interests and locals all vie for control of land.

And for local farmers and indigenous peoples outgunned by large corporations, the results can be disastrous. Several thousand disputes between locals and businesses over land ownership fester for lack of a way to mitigate them. Without even a standardized map to track ownership, resolutions are rare.

Koni of the WRI has proposed a solution. His institute has launched the “One Map Initiative,” which aims to create a single record for all stakeholders to use.

“We will use the map as a way to communicate among stakeholders.  If everyone has their own map, there will be conflict,” he says.

And right now, that’s the unfortunate reality.

“The forestry ministry has their own map,” Tony says. “The mining ministry has their own map. The agrarian office has their own map. And the local government has their own map.”

“One hundred percent people in this country, across backgrounds, across institutions, agree with the one map,” says Greenpeace’s Surya. “The question is, what is the one map?”

It’s not an easy question to answer. Though Joko promised to deliver to deliver a single map for all of Indonesia, it hasn’t materialized yet.

Amicable solutions

But even with a standardized map, Koni thinks further reform will be needed.  He envisions a setting in which all stakeholders in land use disputes can work collaboratively.

“We need good communication and a forum where everyone could come and could be scrutinized by others,” he says, and where the results “would be positive for everyone.”

Koni believes the idea of conditional amnesty is crucial; disputes will be resolved if the admission of past transgressions doesn’t lead to lawsuits.

“If a company had a complaint from locals that they had grabbed their land and [planted] oil palms there, the solution could be that the company admits that they were wrong because the data at that time was wrong. The locals would say that they wouldn’t make a claim in court, but get to keep the palm oil,” he said.

His inspiration for such a forum comes from an unlikely place: post-apartheid South Africa.

“After apartheid came down in South Africa, they had a new system whereby the people can be pardoned if they give back the land,” he says.

Tony agrees with the sentiment.

“The best solution is amicable, not based on court decisions,” he says. “We’ve never brought any disputes to the court. The local communities have, but not on our side. It’s all been based on discussion and negotiation.”

But Surya maintains that such agreements shouldn’t leave out the justice system.

“Even if the company has already committed to shift their business to be green, it doesn’t give the privilege to be free from the law,” he says.

Whatever the future holds, Koni thinks Indonesia needs to act quickly.

“A year of two ago we didn’t have this kind of pledge. We didn’t have this kind of commitment from the private sector. If we don’t use this opportunity, we’ll lose it,” he says.

It’s a sentiment reflected by Surya. For him, the fight for a greener Indonesia continues.

“We have to keep moving. We only have Indonesia. They have money and international people. They only have their business here. But for me and for my generation, whatever Indonesia’s situation, I’ll stay here,” he says.

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