Borneo Under a Bad Sign: Is Island Paradise Doomed to be Slashed and Burned?

Will biofuel and manufacturing transform jungle island into … Foster City?

By Joe Eskenazi

At a recent discussion on the imperiled South China Sea Island of Borneo, U.C. Berkeley biologist Steve Ruzin noted that the isle’s once-thriving ebony forests have now nearly vanished. Considering the scarcity of ivory, both the materials in Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s ear-bleeding paean to racial harmony are endangered. Sadly, this will have little effect on the tune’s radio play.

Our children, however, may have no idea that ebony is a type of wood and not a magazine aimed at African Americans.

Along with Patrick Murphy, a USF political science professor, Ruzin discussed the tenuous social and economic future of the world’s third-largest island at a forum sponsored by the University of San Francisco’s Center for the Pacific Rim.

In a nutshell, it’s looking about as good as “Ebony and Ivory” sounds – but there is hope yet.

If islanders’quests…

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