“In San Lorenzo they cut down the jungle to plant African oil palms. The only reason they didn’t expand more was that indigenous people managed to curb the spread,” Ecuadorean activist Santiago Levy said during the World Conservation Congress.
With a propensity to devour everything in their path and spiral quickly out of control, leaving behind swathes of scorched earth, forest fires are considered a hazard in most parts of the world. In Indonesia, however, fires are the preferred method for clearing large areas of land for massive plantations of commercial crops.
For half a century cardiovascular disease has been the largest killer in Western countries, but recently it has started to dominate the health statistics in the South as well. In India coronary heart disease is already the biggest killer, and strokes are about to rise to second place. Globally, cardiovascular disease now kills about 17 million people a year, and a growing number of people are having heart attacks or strokes as early as their 40s or 50s.