My interest in protecting the rainforest began when I lived for five years in Sarawak on the island of Borneo and saw for myself the unique beauty of the jungle covered island. But the Borneo rainforest, one the wonders of the naural world, is disappearing at an alarming rate. Almost three quarters of the original forest is already gone and, at the current rate of destruction, almost all of Indonesia's forests will be gone by 2022 - along with the world's largest butterflies, flowers big as refrigerators, pygmy elephants, Sumatran Tigers and the forest orangutans.
I was living in Borneo in 1997 when massive forest fires burned millions of acres, engulfing neighboring countries in polluting smoke. Palm oil growers intentionally set the great majority of these fires to clear land. Having seen a kampong torched by land developers, I used the incident in my novel The White Amah:
"The entire village had been caught up in the preparation for the wedding. The resonant sound of brass gongs and the thud of drums echoed across the pineapple plantations, drowning out the squeal of the fatted pig the excited children were poking with sharpened sticks. When the groom and his family arrived the tormented beast would be butchered outside the longhouse in front of the bride's door.
The bride's mother was putting the finishing touches to the feast when she heard a lorry coming up the jungle track. She frowned. The guests were early and there was still much to do. Laughing happily, the children abandoned their victim and anticipating lollies, raced off to welcome the guests from the groom's longhouse. Without warning armed men erupted from the vehicle, shooting their rifles wildly, trampling the bridal feast spread out on mats in front of each longhouse door and driving the frightened families into the jungle. The mens' orders were to burn down the longhouse, but the gasoline-fed flames spread to the adjacent jungle.
The fire burned for three days and destroyed all the valuable old-growth forest the villagers had refused to sell. Along with the precious timber, thirty three lives were lost, including that of the teenage bride who'd run barefoot into the jungle to escape the men intent on raping every girl they could catch. It was an open secret that the arsonists worked for Joseph Ling."
The White Amah is available from http://www.amazon.com/ Purchasing the book is an easy way to help save the rainforest. 10% of author royalties are being donated to the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Foundation.
The White Amah, a mystery set against the backdrop of the timber logging industry in Malaysia. Sample or purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456578065
The Biocide Conspiracy, a Young Adult thriller that sweeps readers into the world of biowarfare. Sample or purchase; http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456503367