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The Green Life: Indonesia's Destructive Habit

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October 29, 2009

Indonesia's Destructive Habit

Deforestation has made Indonesia the third largest greenhouse gas emitter There's been so much economic, political, and environmental talk concerning the "super" three – the U.S., China, and India – that it seems normal to think of them as the world’s leading greenhouse-gas emitters. But while these two growing Asian powers have grabbed our attention, one of its neighbors has quietly been stealing the environmental-destruction limelight.

Deforestation over the last 50 years has ravaged Indonesia, a country known for its vast tropical forests spread over its 17,000 islands. According to The Independent, logging and burning has made it the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China.

Logging concessions, unsustainable land management, and illegal practices have created an environmental crisis. With nearly 2 million hectares disappearing each year (in 2007, Greenpeace estimated that 300 football fields were destroyed every hour), tiny Indonesia is contributing a whopping 8 percent to global carbon emissions.

While we can only hope the endangered tigers, elephants, and orangutans there are able to survive this madness, you can do your part to help cut emissions by planting a tree. Contribute to the UN’s Billion Tree Campaign or if you're a college student, rent your textbooks from Chegg.com, which plants a tree for every rental. Whether you live in the country or the city, tree-planting is a great earth-friendly project.

--Michael Mullaley

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