children's stories

Moving Home
written & illustrated by Grandad

 

My name is Kenji, I live on a small island called Sumatra and I am one of the only few surviving tigers left. All my friends, have disappeared a long time ago. My home is being destroyed slowly by something the man cubs call deforestation. All I knew, was that I was going to have to move home and that isn't easy, as I live on this small island. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get my wife and 4 cubs on a boat to the big island. I would have gone with them, but one of the cubs fell into the water and I jumped in to rescue it and swam out to the boat and handed the cub to my wife, but I didn't have the strength to pull myself into the boat, so swam back to the beach.

I knew already my wife and cubs were safe, because I over heard 2 man cubs talking today, saying that a tiger was spotted late at night jumping out of a boat, followed by 4 cubs. I had learnt many years ago the man cubs language and it had been very useful. However I still waited on the beach, just keeping out of the man's way, so I could wait to hear my wife's roar, I had to wait for 2 more sun rises until I heard her roar, which meant her and the cubs were safe. Then I knew 100% they were safe.

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You may not be aware, last year 800,000 acres of rainforest was burnt, to make way for oil palm plantations, hurting me and my family and many more Sumatran tigers, orangutans, so many other animals and birds. This is an ongoing problem, constantly releasing huge amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere and these fires turn the sky red in Sumatra and so many other countries. The smoke causes the air quality to be extremely hazardous, for not only us the wildlife, but also putting millions of your own people, especially putting children at risk.

The destruction of rainforests, including my rainforest, forced me to send my family to another island and are being destroyed for so many things you use and eat every day. So much of our rainforests have been lost to make way for palm oil plantations, which produce many things including sweets, shampoo, even noodles and is found in many processed foods.

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In the beginning mankind and nature got on really well together, we respected each other and the balance was maintained. Then you discovered something called progress and you wanted more and more, never being happy with what you had. In nature we have always been happy with what we had, until you decided to destroy our homes and take more and more. When I look around it makes me so angry, where there was forest, now there is nothing, but fire and miles and miles of nothing.

It is not only man's need for palm oil, which is destroying the rainforest, but also man's deforestation for logging, agriculture, cattle ranching, mining, oil extraction and dam-building. Every year about 18m hectares of forest, an area the size of England and Wales is cleared. It makes me so angry, you would be angry, if someone was destroying your home. We have no way of fighting back.

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I remember my youngest growing up here, running between the stumps of trees torn down, it broke my heart, as I can still remember as a cub, running through these areas, full of trees and life. 80% of Earth’s animals and plants live in our forest and deforestation threatens so many animals and birds. Removing trees deprives our forest of its canopy, which blocks the sun during the day and retains heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that are harmful to us, birds and plants.

Imagine over night, where you used to drink, where you used to get eat, where you used to sleep, where you felt safe, all suddenly disappeared. How would you feel, knowing that you could never get any of that back, that's what is happening to us and so many other animals and birds.

 
   

One night when I was hunting for my family, I came across a man who had been drinking and it was sitting against a tree. He saw me, but couldn't run off, so he looked at me and said "you are not going to eat me?" He wasn't expecting an answer, but as he was alone, I decided to answer him and replied, "no not this time." he went on to tell me he was a farmer, a very poor farmer and his crops had failed for 3 years and this year he was now a logger and could feed his family. Now as someone who has a family, I get that, I understand, but I went onto tell him the destruction he was causing to the rainforest, nature, the climate and humans. He angered me by saying wildlife and the forest was theirs to do as they wished, I roared and he ran.

   

It’s not just my island of Sumatra that’s affected by your toilet paper use, 15% of all deforestation is due to toilet paper production, that’s 27,000 trees every single day. Every two minutes you produce enough toilet paper to wrap around this planet and that’s enough toilet paper to go to the sun and back every 10 days.

It is frightening as a species, you allow such destruction to our planet, just for toilet paper. You treat it as if it’s an infinite resource, but it isn’t, good luck surviving in a world without trees. You will find it as frightening as us animals and birds do.

   
 

I think you are now wondering, what is the impact of deforestation on climate change. Well, forests are vital in the fight against climate change. A single tree can absorb 22 kilos of carbon dioxide a year. Which means an acre of trees can absorb the same amount of carbon as a car being driven 26,000 miles. Living trees store away all that carbon, but when they’re cut down or burnt, it all gets released. So deforestation is a tragic double hit for global warming, because not only do you decrease the amount of carbon our forests are absorbing, but you release a whole lot more that's been stored up for years.  

Did you know if deforestation was actually a country, it would rank third in carbon dioxide emissions, behind only China and the US. Now doesn’t that make you stop and think, what do you think about that. For me it's terrible for all animals, birds and plants and it's also not good for all humans.

   

Sadly finally there was hardly no forest for me to hide or hunt, so I knew it was time for me also to leave and rejoin my family. At the dead of night, I crept down to the small port, where a week ago, I had put my wife and children on a boat. I knew already they were safe and I knew the name of the island, they went to. I hid in the small wood next to the port and waited, I waited until all was quiet and approached the boats carefully and began to sniff.

Soon I picked the scent of my wife and children and discovered the right boat. I carefully looked around and saw that it was already full of cargo and I knew, early in the morning, it would leave. Now I had found the boat, I needed to find somewhere to hide, after a few minutes I found the perfect spot. Six trees had been placed between two containers and offered me a perfect hiding place. No sooner had I settled down, the crew appeared and 15 minutes later, we were off.

   

I arrived on the new island late the following evening, as the crew on the boat were asleep and no one was awake on the dock, I slipped down the anchor chain and made my way to the nearest forest. Once in the safety of the forest I roared, nothing, I waited and then roared again nothing. I began to be worried, surely in the dead of night my partner should hear me and then finally I heard her. I raced towards her roar and finally there she was with our children. I laid down with them and finally relaxed and went to sleep.

In the morning, I spent time playing with my children, before talking to my wife. All she said was " I have spoken to the other tigers, they are already moving further into the island, as man is already destroying this island too." My heart sunk, I could not believe, once again man was destroying more rainforest.

My young friends, can you help stop the destruction of the rainforest and save the planet?

Are you ready to help us?