Journeyman Pictures recently published the short documentary Big Damage under the title Indigenous People Under Threat From Deforestation on their YouTube channel.

Big Damage: As Papua New Guinea’s precious forests are destroyed the traditional forest dwellers find themselves in an unenviable position. They soon find themselves forced to rely on the very companies destroying their lives.

“We are just like we were before, in darkness…”, one local says. Promises from the loggers of clean water and education in exchange for signatures on contracts the locals couldn’t read haven’t come. Malaria is rife with logging camps disposing of oil in the river, the community’s lifeline. “We know the damage that the company is doing”, but as the government ignores their calls for help, they are forced to rely on the company exploiting them to survive.
Filmmaker David Fadele was interviewed about the film in by MongaBay.com in 2011.

The money goes straight into the pockets of the companies that are running the logging operations, and the corrupt politicians and local businessmen that facilitate the logging. The Forestry Department is supposed to be acting in the best interests of the local communities, but corruption, bribery and collusion ensures that the same logging companies continue to be awarded new logging permits.

The local landowners have no idea about the value of their trees—so when a company comes in and offers them a little bit of money, or even offers to pay them with other things such as water tanks or roads or houses, most of the time they just jump at the offer and sign whatever is put in front of them.

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