FoE International News

Chain Reaction #120, March 2013,

BHP's coal mining in Indonesian Borneo

Friends of the Earth (FoE) activists have been heavily engaged in countering coal mining activities in Indonesian Borneo by BHP Billiton and other companies. Arie Rompas, executive director of WALHI / FoE Indonesia's Central Kalimantan branch, writes in an opinion piece: "If BHP continues with its plans for open cut mines it will be a disaster for my people and it will be a disaster for these fragile ecosystems. The Barito watershed is a home and source of life for thousands of traditional landowners."[1,2,3]

Members of WALHI / FoE Indonesia visited Australia for a 10-day speaking tour last November, to raise awareness about local communities impacted by mining.[4]

Meanwhile, Indonesian courts have (hopefully) set a precedent by fining palm oil company PT Kallista Alam 114 billion Rupiah (US$9 million) for illegally burning forests within the Tripa Peat Swamps, part of the protected Leuser Ecosystem. "This is a clear message to companies working in Aceh who think they can destroy protected forests and get away with it" said Muhammad Nur, chair of WALHI Aceh / FoE Indonesia.[5]

[1] Arie Rompas, 19 Nov 2013, 'BHP in Indonesian Borneo: the coal disaster waiting to happen',

[2] Oliver Milman, 7 Nov 2013, 'Fears for orangutans: BHP urged to abandon coalmining in central Borneo',

[3] FOE Australia media release, 'BHP and Leighton Holdings to drive deforestation and mining in Indonesian Borneo's rainforests',



Meat Atlas

FoE Europe's new 'Meat Atlas' presents a global perspective on the impacts of industrial meat and dairy production, and illustrates its increasingly devastating impact on society and the environment.

Say 'no' to water apartheid

FoE Palestine / PENGON, together with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, and the Land Defense Coalition, has launched both local and international campaigns against the Mekorot water company. Mekorot is Israel's state-owned water company responsible for imposing 'water apartheid' on Palestinians, by pillaging natural resources in occupied territory (which is illegal under the Geneva Convention), discriminating against the Palestinian people as an ethnic group, and providing vital support for the illegal settlement process.

More information: FoE International statement on water apartheid in Palestine:

Flood of tar sand imports to Europe anticipated

FoE Europe, Transport & Environment, and Greenpeace EU published a briefing in January on the potential for exponential growth in the export of tar sands from Canada to Europe due to new pipelines planned or under construction in North America, and refinery developments in Europe. The resulting emissions increase in transport would be the equivalent of adding six million cars to Europe's roads. The 2020 scenario will occur if the EU clean fuel standard, set out in the Fuel Quality Directive, is not comprehensively implemented.

More information:

Campaign to save forest in Sri Lanka a success

Land grabbing was threatening to devastate Nilgala forest in Sri Lanka. Known for its medicinal plants, it was being torn up to make way for cash crops such as rubber, sugarcane, plantains and rambutan. Opportunistic land grabbers were spraying weed killers in the delicate forest, killing the undergrowth and medicinal plants, and local politicians appeared to be encouraging and benefiting from the destruction. Some of the trees, such as Aralu, Bulu and Nelli, are invaluable − they are rare, and have been growing in the area since King Buddhadasa's reign in the fourth century. FoE Sri Lanka / CEJ organized a Buddhist tree ordination ceremony on 11 January to raise public awareness. The ordination ceremony gained much media exposure, and the public furore that ensued culminated in the Minister for Wildlife Conservation visiting the Nilgala forest and stating that immediate steps would be taken against those who destroyed parts of the forest. The land grabbing has stopped and the government has taken action against the land grabbers.

More information:

Support new World Alliance Against Gold

The Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4) has launched a new World Alliance Against Gold. The founding statement is available in multiple languages and you are invited to sign up to it as individuals, organisations or networks (a number of FoE groups are participating). Gold extraction is dangerous and devastating work, impacting peoples' health and the environment. Gold extraction contaminates water sources, the air and the earth, preventing agricultural production and causing serious sicknesses and death. It can also be linked to forced eviction, and the assassination of social activists defending human rights.