Michael Myers, left, with friends in Borneo. Myers will speak at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Dec. 28. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHPL

Michael Myers to talk about rainforest research



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Anthropologist Michael Myers will talk about his experience working in Kalimantan, the Indonesian side of Borneo, at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 5:30 p.m. Myers is the son of the library’s circulation manager and program coordinator, Mary Anne Mead.

Kalimantan is the third largest rainforest in the world but has the highest rate of deforestation. Indonesia also is the third largest contributor of global greenhouse gases in the world, mostly due to the rapid loss of its forests. Much of this rainforest loss is driven by global demand for palm oil. In response, governments and nongovernmental organizations developed an innovative project called the Berau Forest Carbon Project in East Kalimantan to try to curb forest loss while still providing development opportunities to the country and to local communities living in the forests.

Funded by the Fulbright Foundation, Myers spent one full year in Indonesia conducting anthropological research, mostly in small villages in the rainforest. Myers worked closely with NGOs and local forest communities to examine some of the difficulties and opportunities involved in this project. He examined the intersection between the global and the local, and between the goals of conservation, development and the local, forest-dwelling communities. His talk will explore forest-based communities in Borneo, how they understand the changes to their landscapes and how they actively negotiate partnerships, resources and opportunities, and deal with obstacles in an effort to navigate new global claims on their local forests.

Acadia National Park has been a major influence in shaping Myers’ love and appreciation for nature, which in turn has shaped a lifelong dedication to its conservation. Myers studied cultural anthropology and geographical information systems at Portland State University. His combined interest in cultural diversity, human rights issues and environmental conservation found Myers exploring possibilities for working on a Nature Conservancy project with his sister, Erin, on issues of local participation in conservation in Indonesia. In 2015, he was awarded a Fulbright Research Award to perform a full year of independent immersive research in Indonesia. After leaving behind his wonderful partner and her amazing daughter to live in the forest, he began a life-changing experience, met wonderful new friends, and is now very excited to be back in snowy Maine with his loved ones and toilet paper, and is excited to talk about it.

Call the library at 244-7065.

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