About Me: I am a Canadian writer living and working as an English teacher in Medan,North Sumatra, Indonesia. I came here five years ago as a volunteer for the Orangutan Health Project and am passionate about doing what I can to help protect the rainforest, as well as the animals and the indigenous people who depend on it for survival. There is so much coverage in the media about protecting the Amazon rainforest, yet I am continually shocked at the lack of global coverage on the Indonesian rainforest, which is disappearing at a much faster rate. The number one threat to the rainforest is the spread of palm oil plantations, which are established due to the high demand in the west for products containing palm oil--it is in everything from dish soap to cookies to cosmetics. My goal is to write a book about the issue of Indonesia's disappearing rainforests, why the world should care, and what can be done to create new models of economic sustainability (ecotourism, for example) as an alternative to palm oil. Time is running out, and no book has ever been written on this subject for a mass audience. I am sure if people in the west knew what is happening here, they would do what they can to take action. One final note: I am married to an Indonesian school teacher who is as passionate as me about the same issues, and about educating Indonesian youth. Our plan is to travel Indonesia together in the next year, conducting interviews with palm oil plantation owners, companies and environmental groups--he will act as an interpreter for the more difficult interviews and be my partner throughout the process.
My Passions: Writing, education, helping people and the planet
My Challenges: No money, limited networks
My Vision for the Future: To educate people about this issue and inspire them to take action
My Areas of Expertise: Writing, journalism, Indonesia