Willie Smits has found a way of regrowing rainforests that have been cleared.
He tells us about it in the excellent, informative and inspiring video above. The audience begins to applaud when he announces that he has over 1000 rescued orangutans in his two centres but he stops them dead . . . “No, no, wrong! This is horrible. This is proof of our failing to save them in the wild. It’s not good.”
No, a man-made refuge centre is simply not a suitable home for these gentle and intelligent creatures. Only a rainforest, their natural habitat, is good enough for these wonderful beasts.
So what does this amazing guy Smits do? He builds them a rainforest. And more than that . . he creates thousands of jobs involving the local people and he incentivises them into caring for and preserving the forest.
Amory Lovins said of him . . .
Willie Smits is the world’s leading protector of orangutans and their habitat. The ecosystem [he has built] is beautifully and comprehensively integrated with the local economy, making the people so much better off. This may be the finest example of ecological and economic restoration in the tropics.