Before the war on my motherland there is only one logging company operating on the Island. I was in my teens in those days and in school so I didn’t have the chance to visit the logging camp site as it is located at the border between central and south Bougainville.
My area is pure forest, but down on the coast it’s all coconut and cocoa plantation; however as teens we always went to the forest up the mountains and enjoyed the beautiful forest which still remains today. I see that in our forest there are not much trees for logging however good enough to build houses when cutting with chain saws which what happened during and after the war.
With the remaining forest shelters the birds and other animals that moved out from the forest which was taken by the coconut and cocoa plantation. The remaining forest is a good thing which makes our children today still see some of the birds and animals which have become rare.
During the height of the war in my Island, I went across to the neighbouring Solomon Islands and I saw with my eyes and witnessed what logging does to the forest. The benefits are low except for the few perks that leaders get, as in mining too. When flying over the Islands in the Western Province of Solomon Islands you can see a vast area where the forest is gone with only little saplings in its place.
Most of the people in the Western Province live in the coastal areas or along the beach and its mainly small Islands so the roads that the logging companies build don't seem to improve the place. Fortunately, in the Guadalcanal Province, the roads that logging companies make help the locals in making life easy to go to town and sell their garden produce. With the forest and the companies gone, the roads become a problem as there is no one responsible to repair it.
Our forest gives us little money but for a short time and than is all gone, Sometimes people tell me where they used to go hunting when they were kids but now there are no birds or animals because of logging.
In many ways before any so called "development" takes place, the people are inter-related with the forest, when ever they needed protein they just walked to the forest and got it, and the forest gave them fresh air which today is quite polluted. In many mountain areas in the Islands, there were landslides which are taking place during heavy rains because all the big tress where cut down. What will that do to the reefs?
It’s the thing called money introduced by the white man that makes us crazy-- we take a no care in our attitude towards our forest. In the Solomon Islands most of the forest is gone now. The government is introducing mining with the first one operating on the Island of Guadalcanal.
Back in my Island, there is still thick forest left, only mining and plantations have destroyed part of it, that is why we say, "No to the re-opening the Rinto Tinto Panguna coppermine on Bougainville." Mining and would further destroy more of the tropical rain forest that is needed for basic human survival.
Please visit Clive's news blog to learn more about how the people of Mekamui have stood up for their island, their rights, their lives.
Mekamui News | Mekamui Message to the World
Hi, I invited Clive to write a blog entry about what is going on in his part of the world. He hit the nail on the head: Mining, logging, large scale monocrops, (and ranching/feral animals) are degrading the nature. Without nature, we have nothing.
I encourage people to check out Clive's Blog and support the work he is doing if you can, Check out a documentary he was involved in making called the "Coconut Revolution", and finally, look into the traditional gardening practices of Melanesia. Geoff :Lawton recently described how traditional food forests grew out from each village and met in between. Harvesting was the main means of propagation. Let's utilize nature's processes instead of using nature. Thanks Clive!