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Use the Power of Blog to Save the Penan and our Planet

Updated on July 1, 2012

A way life fast disappearing


The end to life as the Penan know it.

The Penan is a nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe that live in the north eastern part of Borneo which officially belongs to Malaysia. The tribe which depended on the dense rainforests of the region for their very survival is now facing an end to life as they have known it for hundreds of years.

They are a proud and naturally peaceful people who believe in equality and sharing. An egalitarian society showing this kind of respect for the individual with no gender discrimination is rare to find in Moslem countries. The tribe is a community and though the Headman is the symbolic leader of the tribe decisions are made collectively and implemented as a community. The tribe has always lived and travelled in small groups ranging between ten and forty in number. The makeup and size of each group varied from year to year and it was a peaceful way of life led in harmony with their surroundings and a deep appreciation of Mother Nature.

Logging in Borneo


The last of the gatekeepers of our planet.

For over twenty years the tribe have been fighting a losing battle to block the systematic destruction of the rainforests of the region by two major Malaysian logging companies, Samling and Interhill. Without weapons these people have stood in front of heavy machinery reminiscent of that picture I have in my head of the Chinese student standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square. Their peaceful methods of resistance were initially successful and the logging companies were actually turned back by these defenseless people who lay in front of machinery designed to fell trees that were a thousand years old. The dollar is winning and this once proud people are now being forced to coexist with the people who get up every morning to tear down their forests. I imagine it would be like sharing your house with people who got up every morning to pull down your house brick by brick and you were forced to watch. The Penan have grown dependent on these logging companies for essential services including transport of their children to school. This set up has made the innocent Penan vulnerable to people who see this as an opportunity to take advantage of them. There have been a number of women and children raped and sexually abused as the tribe now experiences all the depravations of an ancient culture suffering at the hands of a savage civilization. The Penan are the last of a very small number of such nomadic tribes on our ravaged planet and they are the last of the gatekeepers protecting us from our own destruction.

Someone saw the last tree being chopped down on Easter Island


The destruction of our planet is as a result us having of no ceiling on our desires

Our voracious demand for cheap flat packed furniture is the real cause of this very sad situation. It reminds me of how the people of Easter Island cut down every last tree in order to transport those giant boulders across the island to where they now stand as guardians of a desolate land looking out to sea. I sometimes catch myself thinking about what it must have felt like for the people of the island to see the last tree being chopped down. Even knowing what would happen to them and their island the inhabitants of Easter Island just stood by and watched just as we are doing today.

We have no ceiling on our desires. We are taught at a very young age to want more. We find ourselves buying things to satisfy a hole in our hearts. The hole is bottomless and no matter what we receive the hole is never filled. The planet is being swallowed up by our desire to fill a hole that is bottomless. You do the Maths!

Speak up and be heard now!

I am calling on everyone who reads this article to make it your priority to find out about the Penan and their plight so that you don’t do what others have done before you and just look on. The Penan are an aspect of each one of us and deserving of out undivided and immediate attention. By saving the Penan way of life we are taking a step toward saving our rainforests and our planet. What could be more important than that? Everything else can wait for an hour while you write an article and publish it on the World Wide Web, on places like HubPages and shared with friends everywhere on FaceBook. Let’s do this together and prove to yourself that you are not just a drop in the ocean but that the ocean would not exist without you. You have an important say in the outcome of the Penan and our planet. Say it!

Publish a Blog about the Plight of the Penan and be Heard!

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