While the fires in Indonesia might seem far away for many people, they are everyone's problem. Many of the blazes are on deep peat lands, producing huge plumes of smoke and large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are stoking climate change.
Serendipity does sometimes smile upon me, and it did a few months ago when I was on a tossing, rolling tin motorboat on the roiling South Pacific off the Austral island of Rurutu in French Polynesia, looking for whales.
With less than 30 animals left in Borneo and an estimated 80 animals in Sumatra, the Sumatran rhino should be a constant reminder to all consumers of the devastating effect industrial palm oil plantations have on wildlife.
The main culprit in the catastrophe facing orangutans is palm oil, a widely used cheap additive found in everything from food products to biofuels. Indeed, estimates say palm oil is now in more than 50 percent of all consumer goods.
In the Olympics of forest defense, protection of natural rainforests from destruction by the companies feeding voracious markets is what will make the difference between a gold medal and unimaginable loss... and optimistic it may be, but I'm putting my money on a win.
The birth of this baby Sumatran rhino is hopefully just the first of more to come -- injecting new genes, new life, and new hope into a species that many feared might never see another calf born again.
When Kellogg's announced that it is moving to limit the deforestation caused by the palm oil it uses to make Girl Scout cookies, it represented an enormous achievement for two 15-year-old girls from Michigan.