These images form an ongoing documentation of the evolving landscape within the old growth rain forests of Malaysian Borneo. This region represents one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, hosting a variety of endemic plant and animal species. Lacing through the lush vegetation, logging roads now segment the once dense forests, which are being cleared for the cultivation of enormous stands of oil palms. The oil produced from these palms is an extremely important economic commodity in Malaysia and elsewhere in the developing world. Traditionally used and exported as a food source, it is now being adopted as a biofuel, largely in response to demand for more renewable energy sources in the global North. The costs involved in the practice of producing and maintaining large scale monoculture are many: deforestation, habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, increased emission of greenhouse gases, and human rights violations. As such, this project attempts to raise questions about the possibilities of green energy and environmental progress in a globalizing and geographically uneven world.
As an addenda, the images included from Google Earth illustrate the unevenness of environmental costs in the region, as well as provide a counter-narrative to the Malaysian state’s evasion and omission of environmental damages as a result of oil palm cultivation.