Shine a light: support conservation in Southeast Asia

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Many of our most memorable experiences happened during the two-plus years we sailed through Southeast Asia. Most of them conjure the fascinating culture, rich history, or just plain beautiful places- like Komodo National Park, above.

Unfortunately, a lot of what also sticks wasn’t so pretty: like radical deforestation for palm oil plantations. Reefs destroyed by dynamite fishing. National parks abused when they are unable to protect their resources. The terrible plight of Papuans in Indonesia. It’s a gut wrenching feeling, to become intimate with the challenges that compromise the integrity of a place, or the basic rights of a people, and yet feel powerless to really do anything.

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Jase Kovacs and his partner Jolene have seen many of the same things we did during the last couple of years as they sailed through Southeast Asia. But instead of gallivanting west like we are, they’re sticking around – and making plans to make a difference.

Back in 2013, Jase cashed in his life’s savings to buy a thirty-plus year old trimaran named Labyrinth. Now he, Jolene, and their friends James and Roxanne are embarking on Voyage of the Labyrinth: an adventure film series that follows their journey through Southeast Asia, using their talents to grow awareness of the conservation issues in hotspots around the region, and doing what they can to promote and support solutions- like working with reef conservations groups, and organizations removing ghost nets.

They’re raising money to fund operational costs of three feature documentaries (one each focused in Borneo, Philippines, and Indonesia) and many mini-episodes. Their fundraising goal- $11,000- is a shoestring budget to take a crew of four through this territory for seven months.  Check out their pilot on Vimeo, to get a feel for what Team Labyrinth can share.

Jase and crew don’t just want to shine a big fat spotlight on conservation issues- which would be great- they want to do more, by illuminate the complexities behind a problem and showing a way forward. And, they’re hands on, doing what they can along the way- like dealing with ghost nets and garbage. They produced Ghost Nets in Borneo about Borneo-based dive company DiveDownBelow, who remove nets when they aren’t taking clients out to reefs.

Ghost Nets in Borneo from Jase Kovacs on Vimeo.

Team Labyrinth plans to cover five thousand miles over seven months. They’ve got the technical skills, from diving to filmmaking. They’ve invested in relationships with conservations groups and NGOs around the region. It’s a very real opportunity take an important message to a broader audience. They just need a little help to close the gap!

I would love so much to see Team Labyrinth get funded. It’s not just going to benefit the folks who can buy a DVD: all their mini-episodes along the way will be shared on YouTube. Besides offering both a peek into what life is really like on a cruising boat, they’ll highlight conservation issues: the kind of exposure many of these issues need. With broader outside awareness, pressure can be applied to stop deforestation, stop dynamite fishing, stop humans from being displaced.

There’s only a few days left to reach their Kickstarter fundraising goal, or they may not be going anywhere. If you can’t donate, you can share! Tell someone, or pass a link. And believe with me that they’ll get to make these films, and make a difference in Southeast Asia.

Thoughtful readers know we’re always grateful when you click through to read this on Sailfeed. Thank you!

2 Responses to Shine a light: support conservation in Southeast Asia

  1. Bruce Ellen May 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Hi

    I have been following you for some time and fell that Ihave to comment on these issues.
    Having spent 2 years in Papua New Guinea in 1966/67and then 2.5 years in Boganville building the mine.in 1968/70 or some time arouind then
    First thing I noticed in New Guinea was the amount of trees being felled and the local people did not benifit from it except to have a bag of rice, a twist of tobbaco and a boyhouse to sleep in.
    Boganville was the worst example of a mining company taking over the lives of the local people. Relocating villages where tarro did not grow. comtaminating the river with mine tailings which ruined the fishing for villages below the mine, Paying the local more than they were used to and the selling achol to them to get there money back..
    No wonder the locals revolted.
    Hands up for all those trying to make people aware of what happened and stop the future mistakes being made.

    • Behan May 14, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      Bruce Ellen, thank you for sharing your experience. It’s all too familiar. We heard similar stories. It’s shocking how people in PNG have been misused and neglected by their government, and by foreign interests. I kept wondering why there weren’t more NGO or development organizations, but we encountered none during our stay. You might like this post: http://www.sailingtotem.com/2012/12/evening-discussions-at-tunung-island_19.html

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