Dear Friends of The Borneo Project,
The links between racism, extraction, and climate injustice run deep. The fight to prevent catastrophic climate change is a fight about humans rights and racial justice. This is how we have always operated at The Borneo Project – by securing Indigenous rights in order to protect the natural world we all depend on.
As we wrap up an exceptional year of tremendous struggle and pivotal social movements, we begin a new year with hope, acknowledgement of our privileges, and energy to continue to build and sustain systems of life around the world.
Climate change and racial injustice share the same roots and must be addressed together. Slavery and colonization went hand in hand with land grabbing, deforestation, and disruption of ecological systems in order to build a capitalist society and provide resources for the privileged. Environmental degradation and our warming planet are the result of that legacy of extraction, colonialism, and slavery.
In the US, in Malaysia, and around the world, we have our work cut out to heal the many wounds of injustice. The theft and destruction of Indigenous land is still happening today. But these communities have the solutions, and we’re here to help them realize their visions of the future.
At The Borneo Project, we’re led by Indigenous priorities and wisdom, and those values result in real transformation.
We’ve had a tough year at home and abroad, but at The Borneo Project, our work has never been stronger. We’re not able to travel at the moment, but the relationships we have built in Sarawak make it possible for our projects and partnerships to thrive while we pause international travel.
One of our main projects, the Baram Heritage Survey, has trained hunters from remote villages to assess the flora and fauna of their forests. The data these community technicians are generating shows very clearly that this area is of ‘High Conservation Value’, and therefore should be protected from logging and agricultural expansion. The technicians are also interviewing their fellow community members about their visions of the future to generate and guide discussions regarding management of their forests and communities. This project is laying the groundwork to firmly establish community-managed forest protection in the largest remaining primary forest in Sarawak outside of a national park.
Alongside building capacity in communities comes fighting the systems of injustice that try to remove resources and turn them into profit. Several of the communities we work with have discovered that their forests have been certified under “sustainable” logging concessions without their consent. In response, we launched the Stop the Chop! campaign with the usual cohort of our partner organizations. We’ve been gathering steam to fight these concessions and remove community land from logging. More and more communities are joining this fight as they learn about this work. The movement to secure Indigenous land rights is building, and the logging companies are on their heels.
2020 has brought extraordinary challenges, and it has also opened up space for authentic and wide-reaching change. In the coming year, we will be celebrating 30 years of The Borneo Project. It is because of your support that we have witnessed unimaginable progress with our partners in Sarawak over the past three decades.
Help us keep this work growing, progressing, and blossoming in the decades to come by donating to The Borneo Project today.
Your continued support helps to tear down systems of injustice and safeguard systems of life, the greatest challenge of our century. We are so grateful to have you by our side in this pursuit, and we couldn’t do it without you.
PS. Remember to purchase thoughtful gifts this holiday season – skip the plastic crap, skip Amazon, buy your loved ones a membership in the Sun Bear Society! Go to borneoproject.org/join-the-sunbear-society.