‘A never ending documentary of our botanical beauty around the globe.’
It’s September and I am in Ranau, Malaysia. Where there was no other sound than singing birds, breaking branches and leaves catching raindrops from falling.
I am lost in a Bornean jungle. Tracks I had walked had faded, completely disappeared. The sun had set and the rain started pouring harder and louder than before. It makes me feel small. Strong but small.
There’s something about jungles that makes me feel comfortable. I have always lived in concrete jungles, Amsterdam, New York and London. The cities are screaming, people are rushing and time is ticking.
At home, I barely stand still and never take time to think. But in Ranau, a jungle 11,000 kilometers from London, I find myself entirely serene. I stand still and time does not exist.
‘I love how calm the wild makes me’
Every day we interact with the rainforest in some way. The coffee you drink, the chocolate you eat, the gold your wear.. According to scientists, chocolate may be extinct by 2050 because of climate change. And that’s not the only issue.
Exactly one year ago, I visited a local coffee farm in Malaysia and what was difficult for me to comprehend is that farms like this can’t implement a living wage.
Rainforest Alliance is trying to tackle this problem and is working with partners in coffee supply chains to understand the costs and opportunities in order to be able to implement enough wages for these farmers to survive.
One of my favourite shots of my series Philosophia Botanica; the hut. It’s the home of one family but the entire forest is the home of billions.
The rainforest provides habitat for 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people. Rainforests are critical to the survival of every living thing on earth: forests clean the air, absorb greenhouse gas emissions and they stabilize the climate.
Seize the trees
Rainforests are our best defence against climate change and nearly half of the world’s original forest cover has already been destroyed..
Every year 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees are cut down. All because of timber harvesting, agricultural expansion, construction of roads, pipelines, fabrics and paper.
It causes loss of biodiversity, destroys livelihoods and it increases climate change drastically!
To help, you can recycle or avoid products from forests with special values: develop a responsible sourcing policy for paper and other forest products.
Beauty lies within
For the last few years I have been documenting the botanics from around the globe which has been a huge source of inspiration to me.
The word “flora” comes from the Latin name of Flora; the goddess of botanics. Flora has so much more to offer than just it’s outer beauty: rainforests are the world’s pharmacies, as 25% of all modern medicines are derived from their flora and of all the plants deemed useful in treating cancer, 70% can be found only in rainforests..
Another living proof that the true essence of beauty lies within.
Person of the forest
The Orangutan; the Malay word for ‘person of the forest’. Humankind’s closest cousins are fighting extinction..
The rainforest is the home of more than half the world’s animal species: Orangutans, bengal tigers, mountain gorillas, jaguars, and blue poison dart frogs are just a few of the magical creatures found in rainforests.
While travelling to Borneo, I was lucky to document the last living Orangutans. Sadly we’re losing thousands of species every year, with up to 50% of all species at risk of disappearing completely by 2050. This should not be a lucky shot, so be sensible and live a more sustainable life.
Save this paradise and help us rebalance our planet.