Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Afo the Giant Clove tree

This was one of the most interesting tidbits to come out of the 'From your own Correspondent' podcast (An excellent podcast about events from around the world told in the form of first person narrative stories as bbc's correspondents become immersed characters in the tales)
Its about a giant clove tree on top of an active volcano in Indonesia!
The tree is on the slopes of a volcano on one of the Spice Islands of Indonesia called Ternate. At its peak, it used to be 40 metres tall and 4 metres wide, but sadly all that is left of it today is a stump. No one knows how old it really is, but estimate it to be a 350-400 ancient.

After the Spanish and Portuguese were routed from the country by the Dutch in 1652, the very first multinational company (called the VOC or the Netherlands United East India Company) formed between them and the East India Company, started to regulate spice exports. They behaved much like MNCs today do; controlling supply artificially to keep demand and prices high. They would allow only 800-1000 tonnes of cloves to be exported per year and the rest of the harvest would be burned or dumped in the sea! Any clove tree that wasn't controlled by the VOC was razed to the ground. Afo escaped this horrendous fate somehow, perhaps because of its remote location

It seems that man's thirst for money (aka power) is unquenchable, today, 500 years ago and cynically, yet realistically 500 years hence. He apparently doesn't care for anything or anyone that causes so much as a speck on his monetary horizon. That rant aside, what are we to do about our beautiful planet if ravaging her is this deeply ingrained in our psyche?

BBC article - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18551857
Spice Islands - http://discover-indo.tierranet.com/spiceIslands01.htm
FOOC podcast link - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/default.stm