Major Victory for Ivory Coast's Rainforests as Oil Palm Successfully Resisted

Apr 25, 2009

Finally the oil palm scourge threatening primary rainforests and life giving ecosystems worldwide faces a setback as local protests are again successfully supported internationally by Rainforest Rescue and others.

Côte d'Ivoire's (Ivory Coast) main palm oil company, Palmci, on Friday announced it was abandoning a major plantation scheme in the south of the country after opposition by environmentalists to destruction of 12,000 hectares (29,700 acres) of primary rainforests.

Tanoé Swamps Forest is one of the last remaining old growth forests in the country and the last refuge for three highly endangered primates – the Miss Waldron's Red Colobus, the Geoffroy's colobus and the Diana roloway – as well as home to many endangered plant species. In June of 2008, Ecological Internet and Rainforest Rescue of Germany initiated the first major international campaign against the Tanoé Swamps Forest oil palm project and in support of local opposition. Leading global consumer products company Unilever was then poised to destroy Ivory Coast's rainforests as both investor and customer, after having just made a supposed commitment – falsely heralded by some – to rainforest protection and certified oil palm, but starting in 2015.

EI President Dr. Glen Barry explains, "6,257 people from 92 countries sent 407,131 protest emails, resisting Unilever's greenwash, and making this a global rainforest controversy. Again, together we have proven the power of global citizens working within loose transnational coalitions, connected by the Internet, to confront ecocide wherever it is occurring. Never doubt that ecological protest, online and in person, can make a real difference for Earth. As with all rainforest 'victories', this bears continued watching as Palmci is scouting other areas."

This recent victory highlights the growing effectiveness of Ecological Internet's "Earth Action Network" [1], particularly working with Rainforest Rescue on U.S. biomass energy issues. In the past few months, EI's global network of tens of thousands of ecological sustainability citizen activists have significantly contributed to victories to begin ending the use of corn ethanol biofuels (while highlighting the dangers of 2nd generation biomass based biofuel), exposed the charlatan nature of proposed climate geo-engineering schemes, stopped the midnight raid upon Oregon's wild forests, and fearlessly and at great expense confronted those greenwashing FSC's approval for industrial first time logging of primary forests. Dr. Barry continues, "oil palm development, logging and other industrial development of ancient primary and old growth forests – certified or not – is a crime against Earth and humanity. Earth, and all her creatures including humans, cannot exist without old forests. Their full protection and restoration is a global ecological imperative or all life may end. If you care about you and your family's water, air, food and shelter in the future, you will commit now to continued, escalating ecological protest on rainforests and climate, and thus to save being."

[1] Current Earth Action Network alerts: http://www.ecoearth.info/shared/alerts/