Portland group honored for preserving forests, orangutan habitat in Borneo
Health in Harmony, a Portland-based nonprofit, was honored by a Danish think tank for its innovative work in Indonesia addressing human health and deforestation.
Sustainia, based in Copenhagen, honored Health in Harmony as one of its top 100 sustainability innovations for the year.
Health in Harmony partners with Alam Sehat Lestari in Indonesian Borneo to provide low-cost health care to marginalized communities in exchange for a commitment to protect natural resources and reduce deforestation. In the past five years, their collaborative effort led to a 68 percent decrease in illegal logging in Gunung Palung National Park, home to carbon-rich peat and one of the few remaining significant populations of orangutans. In tandem, all health indicators of the communities living around the park have improved, according to Health in Harmony.
The nonprofit was founded in 2005 by Reed College graduate Dr. Kinari Webb.
What Sustainia is recognizing in Health In Harmony is a unique and successful approach to conservation that assumes local people know the solutions to problems like deforestation, if we can only connect them with the resources they need, said Kevin Boer, a board member of Health In Harmony. In West Borneo, thats affordable, high- quality health care so families dont have to log to pay for medicine.
The Sustainia 100 selection committee is headed by actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and includes Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian prime minister; Connie Hedegaard, Former European Union commissioner of climate action, and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
For more information: healthinharmony.org or sustainia.me.
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