Something beautiful happened in Borneo, where Willie Smits created a thrilling blueprint for restoring fragile ecosystems.
As you may know, the deforestation in Indonesia has affected much of the country; it has had massive environmental and social impacts… and massive it is not a word used lightly in this case. The deforestation is so massive that only the China and the United States produce more greenhouse gases.
This makes Indonesia the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
As I mentioned, Willie Smits, a trained forester, microbiologist, conservationist, animal rights activist, wilderness engineer, and social entrepreneur, came up with a sustainable plan to reverse this horrible damage.
Smits decided to start his project in Samboja, one of the poorest regions in Indonesia.
When the local people could not afford to maintain a crop, they burned the trees down, creating a painful loss for the biodiversity of the area.
It is amazing, right? Of course it was not an easy road. I am sure in required constant hard work, but it surely was worth it.
Watch Smits’ 2009 TedTalks about this wonderful project to see how the magic happened:
NOTE: The core content of this talk has been challenged on a number of fronts. For details, and Willie Smits’ response, please see “A challenge to Willie Smits’ talk.”