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State of the Forest: More Than Just Timber (2008)

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State of the Forest is a hard-hitting report on the condition of Indonesia’s rainforest today. Still in the production phase, the film is presented above in 8 parts. Use the playlist button next to the play button to watch parts 2 through 8.

Through “a mixture of voices from communities covering Papua, Kalimantan and Sumatra, also blended with the expertise of some of the key Indonesian academics and activists,” State of the Forest provides an overview of the history, future, and present-day reality of Indonesia’s rainforest.

Films4, the producers of the film, explain on their website”The exploitation and clearance of forests has played a major part in funding Indonesia’s economy since the early 1970s, but the financial reward of this destruction has primarily only benefited an elite few. Land management has been largely unsustainable, based on short-term gains. The majority of the Indonesian population has had to suffer the broader consequences.”

And yet, the rate of deforestation “continues to accelerate,” a daunting concern since, palm oil plantations were established so rapidly from 1991 to 2006 — at a rate of “more than fifty” football fields an hour.

Today, “Indonesia is the second biggest producer of palm oil in the world, second only to Malaysia, and the palm oil industry provides the country with an important source of revenue. International demand has fueled the expansion of the industry.”

There is already an est. 7.2 million hectares of land covered in palm oil plantations, and the Indonesian government is planning to dedicate another 4 million hectares by 2015, solely for biofuel production.

Endlessly touted as being “environmentally friendly,” the replacement of Indonesia’s rainforest with palm oil plantations for biofuel “will exacerbate rather than reduce” stress on the environment — leading to even more natural disasters, water and air pollution, and increasing negative impacts on the 40 million Indonesians and Tribal Peoples that directly depend on the forest for their livelihood.

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Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

We believe the first step to achieve this goal should be an information delivery network that can amplify the impacts of all our efforts 1000 fold. 

Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

Ultimately, we're just one star in this growing constellation of new media, but we aim to do our part by cultivating the best video library dedicated to transition online, and we hope you'll join us