29 March 2012

2012: Back in Borneo for 80 days with DeforestACTION

The energy of our first week back in Borneo has shown me first hand the powerful reality of 'Synergy'. That is, the way group dynamics can bring about more creativity, passion, drive and inspiration to the team, as a whole, then the total sum of the 'individual' parts.

A group entity is formed...

When people gather with a common vision that is focused on planetary service, this synergistic energy creates a kind of force-field that uplifts and sustains the group through the challenges and pitfalls along the path to reaching our goals in Borneo.

It's amazing! Just being reunited with the eco-warriors helps to alleviate a lot of the fear, uncertainty and doubt that surfaced for me personally during my 5 months back in Australia since returning from Borneo during the first 20 days of the project, back in September 2011.

Below is a short clip I put together to the wonderful tunes of 'Nomad' that tells the story of our first actions since arriving back to Borneo.

It's been a whilst since I've updated this blog, my world has radically changed since the last post.

I have gone from the relative stability of affluent Australia, living together with my partner on an environmentally conscious community, surrounded by lush secondary rainforest... to walking 8 days through the southern alps of New Zealand along an ancient pathway known as 'The Peace Trail'... to the emotional woes of a relationship break-up... all the way to the present moment of this challenging and sometimes uncertain world of a pioneering environmental project in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Life is all about change, and I suppose my life has been a little microcosm of the instability that is going on all around the planet as we are being called to change our ways, to find ways of living together that honors the rights of future generations to inherit a thriving, abundant and liveable planet.

As Eco-Warriors from around the globe, we engage with a truly diverse and sometimes conflicting range of stakeholders, from corporate Microsoft interested in increased product sales through schools to indigenous Dayak people fighting for their cultural sustainability to future generations, who have no current voice but our own and are often of least concern to policy makers in this rapidly changing world.

We represent our support networks from across the globe who have personally donated money to help sustain our work financially, as well as the many thousands of students from all over the planet who are focused on saving orangutan, and assisting the Dayak people in conserving the future of our planets tropical rainforest.

For those new to my blog, DeforestActionn is a group of young people from around the world working on the ground in Borneo to implement solutions to the deforestation crisis.

We are under the guidance of Dr Willie Smits, our visionary leader and mentor who is right now meeting in Holland with a group of 20 scientists and investors looking to support his radical solution to the world energy crisis, Sugar Palm agro-forestry and zero-waste eco-Village hubs.

Sometimes I feel like Willie believes in us to the point that it is challenges our belief in ourselves. He is a truly incredible man and operates on a level of passion, purpose and commitment that is way beyond anything I've ever witnessed before. Check out his Sugar Palm reforestation concept that we will be implimenting in Borneo HERE

In our first week back in Borneo our team has already started helping to upgrade the Sintang Orangutan Centre (SOC), based at our on-ground partners, the Kobus Foundation (working to empower the indigeous Dayak people economically and ecologically).

JoJo is now 3 years old and has doubled her weight since we rescued her from a wooden cage last September. She now has a friend, Juvi who is of a similar age and seems to be the bossy one of the two!

Check out this youtube clip of Jojo and Juvi playing together at the Sintang Orangutan Cetnre.

Some of the eco-warriors working to move the fallen trees that will be used in further construction and upgrades at SOC.

A massive tropical storm knocked over some Eucalyptus trees and destroyed a section of the fence at the Sintang Orangutan Centre. The coppicing shoots demonstrate the immense resilience of the natural world to respond to disturbance, if given the chance, after such devastation.

Shadrack from Kenya, helping to build the new fence.

Fabrice, Australian based Frenchmen nailing in some wire.

Ben and Perry rolling out another run of barbed wire.

Kodi painting the animal rescue cages.

Liza, painting the new office at the Sintang Orangutan Centre.

There has been a lot of hands on action, as well as project planning and hosting an online DeforestAction webinar (kind of like a massive educational skype conference streamed live over the internet) for thousands of school students all around the globe.

This was such an exciting day, we held 4 webinars over 16 hours updating our school networks on our work in Borneo, helping to increase ecological literacy in schools and engage students directly in solution-based problem solving.

Our education team, Mark Kuroski and Kodi Twiner did an amazing job of engaging the students and updating our supporters of the project and vision for the next 80 days.

We even held one in the Kobus longhouse just before midnight! Shadrack can be seen in the foreground hibernating, with Kodi & Mark hosting the final webinar for North American and Canada timezones.

This little critter is a micro-bat. He hit the fan one night and the animal rescue team kept him overnight until her recovered and was ready for release the next evening.

We also have some exciting news, Earthwatchers has officially launched. This is the component of DeforestAction that maps and monitors forests using satlite technogy. Led by Fabrice, Chai & Fa who are also experimenting with the use of a drone to get high quality footage and photo's from a birds eye view above the forest.

Chai from Earthwatchers getting a demonstration on how to fly the drone remote controlled aeroplane.

Students from the nearby school come to see what all this fuss is about. Ali and Fabrice going through the remote control device.

The kids are in awe of this giant paper aeroplane!

We will upload a video of our first flight tests very soon!

Tomorrow the Earthwatchers team and the Reforestation team are heading out to the incredible Dayak village of Tembak. These are the real eco-warriors, who fought off the logging and palm oil companies and retained their biodiverse ancestral forests.

The village is run on micro-hydro electricity from a nearby spring-fed stream. My team will be focused on working with the existing nursery and reforestation efforts already being implemented by the Dayak's themselves. These people are so kind and humble and are the perfect example of living in harmony with the natural world that they are intrinsically interwoven with.

They have a 63 hectare community forest that has been donated to be used as a release site for Orangutans and other wildlife. Nearby is a 20,000 hectare area of forest that is also being secured as a Dayak conservation reserve!

We are not sure about the internet situation out in Tembak, but plan to return to Sintang Orangutan Centre @ Kobus house in 2 weeks.

Stay tuned for updates and if you feel to donate please visit my personal fundraising page @ Every Day Hero

With love and gratitude for life on this most gorgeous little blue planet,

Paul Daley