For this last month here at Greenpeace, I have been involved in the campaign for KFC to drop deforestation from its menus. It has made me all too aware of the colossal scale and pace of deforestation in Indonesia and its devastating consequences for species, communities and the climate.
As recently as the 1960s, more than 80 percent of Indonesia was forested. Today, just under half of Indonesia’s original forest cover remains – one of the reasons that Southeast Asia has the world’s highest rate of deforestation and critically endangered species.
When I was told that 5 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions are now coming from Indonesia, I was horrified, but also galvanized. I knew there was a big fight to be had and I was so ready to get involved!
For the past month, Greenpeace activists across the country have been doing local KFC visits and mobilizing store managers to take part in the campaign to save the Sumatran tiger – and we’ve had a great response.
We had meaningful, informative conversations with local KFC store managers nationwide! We gave personal appeals, told managers why we are so concerned, handed over our report exposing KFC, and asked them to let senior management know our concerns. One manager was so shocked and upset that he closed for the day!
On my end, I’ve been on the phone to Greenpeace lead activists across the USA, talking with them about how best to take our concerns right to the source. I spoke to one hundred inspiring people throughout the country who voiced their disgust and individually went to their local stores demanding that KFC end its relationship with suppliers who rely on rainforest clearance, including the infamous Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in Indonesia.
I remember being in a briefing with my teammates learning about the destruction of Indonesia’s natural wonders . Not only did I feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the problem, but I didn’t believe many people would care enough to go out and take action. Wrong. I’ve been totally empowered by the vast number of people who did exactly this! It’s been refreshing chatting to people that want to talk about why they feel the need to protect the rainforest and its inhabitants, people that were happy to take 30 minutes out of their day to do this.
The engaging tactic we used and the people involved have given me new hope and motivation.
I have spoken to one hundred people on the phone who have joined me and the thousands of people worldwide who are calling for KFC to become a true leader in the effort to protect the world’s forests.