Hollywood actors Joaquin Phoenix, Kellan Lutz and Gillian Anderson have joined the Greenpeace International campaign to end forest destruction and tiger extinction in Indonesia, the environmental group announced on Wednesday.
They are among a list of celebrities worldwide who have grown concerned over the state of Indonesia’s rainforests and remaining Sumatran tigers due to the unsustainable production of palm oil and paper, said Greenpeace.
Currently, Greenpeace has a global campaign - The Tiger Manifesto - that allows consumers to demand products that are forest- and tiger-friendly. By signing up to the campaign, consumers could join Greenpeace and other non-government organisations in putting pressure on companies that continue to source their palm oil through irresponsible means.
According to the eco-group, research shows that the vast majority of the forests cleared in oil palm concessions in Sumatra during 2009 to 2011 were tiger habitats. Palm oil is an ingredient found in many everyday food and personal care products, and it is said to be the largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia.
Phoenix, who is the actor in famous films such as Gladiator and Walk the Line, admitted that he himself only learned about “the mass destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests” recently. He said, “It not only negatively affects millions of Indonesians whose livelihoods depend on the forest, but it also has been the direct cause of pushing the Sumatran tiger to the edge of extinction.”
I don’t want the last forests in Indonesia to disappear, not when there are better ways to develop Indonesia’s vast natural resources
Kellan Lutz, Twilight and Java Heat actor
Lutz, a fashion model as well as an actor in the successful movie franchise The Twilight Saga, likewise voiced his support for the Greenpeace campaign.
“Indonesia’s Sumatran tigers could disappear if we don’t stop forest destruction for palm oil,” he said. “Their forest home is the only place tigers, elephants and orangutans live side by side. I don’t want the last forests in Indonesia to disappear, not when there are better ways to develop Indonesia’s vast natural resources,” stressed Lutz, who spent time in Indonesia for the shoot of Java Heat.
Similarly, Greenpeace asserted that forests do not need to be destroyed to grow palm oil or produce paper.
“Thousands of people in Indonesia and around the world are taking action, but we need more signatures on the Tiger Manifesto,” noted Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesia Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International.
“We want Sumatran tigers and forests in our future. Greenpeace will continue to expose those who refuse to cut forest destruction from their products because consumers do not want a part of the extinction of such a majestic animal,” he added.
Along with Phoenix, Lutz and the X-Files‘ Anderson, other celebrities who have expressed their support for the campaign include TV actress Kristin Bauer, Twilight actress Nikki Reed, Australian actress Isabel Lucas and Indonesia’s Julie Estelle.
“It is possible to protect forests and prevent tigers from being driven to extinction and Greenpeace’s Tiger Manifesto brings together those who share this vision,” Maitar said.
The campaign has already been launched in Indonesia, but the call for action to save the home of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger and to eliminate dirty palm oil from consumer products continues, Greenpeace noted.
The Tiger Manifesto builds on other developments in the palm and paper and pulp sectors, such as the recent call by the Asia Pulp and Paper Group for governments, businesses and NGOs to collaborate closely to address overlapping concession licenses and improve overall forest conservation.
Wilmar International, the world’s biggest palm oil trader, also recently committed to zero deforestation, after sustained campaigns and global pressure from Greenpeace and other non-government organisations.