What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

Can you imagine fighting for your homes and your very way of life for over 14 years!? That is just what happened to the people of a small community on Rendova Island. In 2000 a big logging company moved in and started a mass demolition of the forest… the problem is that this community lived in the forest and the loggers were literally destroying their homes and their very way of life.  For 14 years there has been a battle in their court system over who has the rights to the land- the loggers or the people who live there.  However, after 14 long years the people of the small community FINALLY won their court case and the big logging companies have to stop destroying their island! Here are some pictures with descriptions from one of the islands local residents!

“The tiny entrance to our home. If you were going really fast you would miss it.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 “A little hut in the rainforest. It’s always such a nice place to sit and relax because it’s near the sea.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

“Technically no one should decides who owns the land because families have owned it for ages. Think of it like game of thrones. People just know that the the land belongs to that family. However there have been disputes lately so they have set up a tribal court. The chiefs will decide who owns the land but you must bring your case and they will decide. “The logging company has no right. Our land is inherited by women in our tribe and to mark this, a bracelet is passed on from one generation to the next.”

 “A tree fell onto another tree a few years ago and this is natures way of dealing with it.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

“Our fresh water river where we bathe, get water and wash clothes”

What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

“there is so much more here than people realize. The logging company got rid of a significant amount of our meat because the animals had to relocate. They polluted the waters and fish is one of our main meats.”

“This guy is standing on a tree that was cut down. As you can see it’s enormous.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 “The battle for the rights of our land have been going on forever. The local people will do their best to destroy the logging company’s machines to stop them further advancing. Think of the blue avatar people in the movie avatar. This is a wreckage from a truck that was destroyed by my people against the logging company.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

“I think what happened was my people really got frustrated. Living in the western world really put into perspective how much this equipment cost and I do sympathize with the logging company on that part. However, they shouldn’t have been allowed there in the first place and because of corruption within the government and the logging company exploiting some of the local people who don’t own the land they were able to come in. The court case dragged on for a good 14 years till it came to an end and I think in the end the people were getting frustrated that justice wasn’t been served and decided to take matters into their own hands.”

“I didn’t say what we did was right but I guess my people saw it as necessary. There are 2 sides to every story. The logging people were probably trying to just to their job and we were trying to protect our very home. It’s hard to say who is right because it’s such a grey area. I hope this answers your question.”

“The massive logging road. On each side of this road is very heavy forest.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 “My mum with a tree they pulled down. The story behind this was there was a bulldozer (I think?) they stole and they put salt water in the engines to destroy it. My mum was taking a picture with the log they pulled down.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 “This use to be my mothers home but now it’s completely gone. As happy as we are that we won, significant damage has been done to our home. This picture is just an example. “What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

“There’s only picture but there is a ridiculous amount of forest that is gone. A complete bay is gone. I think if the logging had been more slower and sustainable, it would have been ok but the amount of land they logged has been ridiculous. Another problem was there were people actually living in the place. They straight up tore people’s homes (my family’s) which is why they got even more angry.”

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Now that they have won their case, the people of Rendova Island can let the land start to heal itself and start living their lives again. Here are some more pictures of island life:

 Hand Carving some wood with that tool in his hand!

What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Just got back from washing dishes at the riverWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Island snake humor!What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 White Sandy Beaches!What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

Drying Coconuts on the beachWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

  Climbing for coconuts!What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

  Active older ladies (in their 70’s)What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 The bird cage is made out of dried leavesWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Fishing by a tree that fell by the riverWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Community feast!What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 leaky canoe!What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

  Hunting DogsWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Big Cassava plant

What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 “this is me getting stones for the fire from the ocean. A way we cook is we heat up the stones on the fire and use them to cook other things.”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 “Grandmother”What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

Double ukuleleWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

  Cooking on Hoal Coals!What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Ladies making dinnerWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 Kids are put to work too…What’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

 FishingWhat’s Happened In This Forest For 14 Years Was Horrible. Luckily, Today Something Good Happened.

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