The King of Malaysia and the Prince of Wales attended a reception in London yesterday (27 July 2011) on behalf of The Earth Awards. The event was hosted in partnership with START, an initiative of the Prince of Wales, to help people in the UK lead more ‘sustainable’ lives.
The irony that the King of Malaysia was at an exclusive cocktail reception to view ‘innovations in sustainability’ will not be lost on the Penan tribe, says Survival International, the NGO which works for the rights of tribal people.
The hunter-gatherer Penan rely on their forest for survival and live some of the most sustainable lives on the planet. However, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, the Penan’s forest is being cut down for timber and cleared for plantations.
The traditionally nomadic Penan live in the rainforests of Sarawak, one of the most ancient and biologically rich forests on earth. The Penan have lived in harmony with their forest for thousands of years.
In stark contrast to the loggers who crash through the forest destroying the Penan’s trees, says Survival, the tribe only take what they need, conserving their forest for the future.
Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry said, "It is astonishing that the King of Malaysia was invited to attend this ‘eco’ event when his country is destroying Sarawak’s forests three times faster than the rest of Asia combined. We urge him to use his influence to stop the destruction of the Penan’s forest to ensure that the Penan’s truly sustainable way of life is allowed to continue."