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DiCaprio denounces the uncontrolled spread of oil palm plantations in Indonesia

Il documentario Before the flood evidenzia il ruolo della diffusione incontrollata delle coltivazioni di palma da olio nell’inquinamento emesso dall’Indonesia.

800,000 hectares of forest are wiped out every year in Indonesia. From 2000 to 2012, more than 6 million hectares of old-growth forest have been cut down, leaving a vacuum in the country’s and the world’s heart. One of the main causes is the cultivation of oil palm, which cause forests to be turned into industrial plantations. This process contributes to emitting large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere, as these forests are carbon-rich peat bogs.

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Thousands of animals, including tigers and orangutans, are threatened by deforestation in Indonesia © John van Hasselt/Corbis via Getty Images

How Indonesia pollutes our planet

Before the Flood, documentary produced and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Fisher Stevens, shows the dramatic consequences of climate change. Among other things, it highlights the crucial role forest destruction plays in driving pollution in Indonesia, which has become one of the major carbon emitting countries in the world. The movie also focuses on the proliferation of oil palm plantations in South-East Asia.

Fewer forests, more palm oil

For the filming of the documentary, DiCaprio has travelled to Indonesia, visiting the Gunung Leuser Park, one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems. While he flies over the forests aboard a helicopter, the actor focuses on the thick haze blanketing the surroundings: “It’s scary, we can’t see anything”. The movie highlights how Indonesia is also affected by arsons aimed at making space to new oil palm plantations. Palm oil is the world’s cheapest vegetable oil and is used for the production of food, cosmetics, and cleansers.

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Orangutans are the species symbol of forest destruction in Indonesia. These animals – threatened with extinction – are losing their habitat © Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Let’s save one of the Earth’s remaining rainforests

“This important film brings much needed attention to the destruction of rainforests for palm oil, which is a huge driver of global climate change,” said Lindsey Allen, executive director of Rainforest Action Network. “We must aggressively address the deforestation crisis in places like Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem. With palm oil in roughly half of all packaged goods at the grocery store, it’s up to all of us to demand major global brands finally do the right thing and break the link between their products and tropical forest destruction”.

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