Synchronicity Earth has provided core support for Act Now’s forest and ocean campaigns since 2014.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to the world’s third largest tract of contiguous rainforest and boasts immense coastal biodiversity. More than 800 languages are spoken on the island and most peoples’ lives are intricately connected with nature. Traditionally, 97% of PNG’s land is held under customary tenure and managed by local communities. This system has allowed the country’s remote and inaccessible forest to remain largely intact. The recent introduction of 99-year ‘Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABLs)’ has enabled the government to ‘rent’ more than 11% of the land to large logging, mining and agricultural companies who are destroying forests and polluting freshwater and marine ecosystems. Experimental seabed mining off the coast of PNG presents an additional threat to PNG’s marine life. Companies looking for ‘natural resources’ are offering seemingly lucrative deals to a government that has not fully considered the implications of trading primordial ecosystems for cash.
Act Now! uses online petitions and social media to engage people nationally and internationally on issues ranging from SABLs, to seabed mining, to corruption. It also promotes a vision of an alternative development for PNG, which respects peoples’ connection with land and nature. Its work with partners in PNG has helped to achieve the cancellation of the majority of SABLs, with much of the land now reportedly handed back to communities.