Being a catalyst for positive change

Changing Times is about making a difference. It’s about being informed and taking positive action. It’s a platform for long-form journalism that gives voice to those who are not heard elsewhere and aims to go to the heart of issues, no matter how challenging.

Communication is of the essence. When we are informed, our choices are more conscious. In the face of current challenges, we need to work together to find durable solutions and bring balance back into society; we need to share information, and support each other’s efforts.

Unscrupulous governments and industry are wreaking untold havoc. From the Great Barrier Reef and the forests of Tasmania to the Arctic, the Amazon, Alaska, and huge swathes of Southeast Asia, the flora and fauna without which our planet will become a wasteland are being destroyed.

By presenting news and features that are produced outside of the strictures and bias of the mainstream, Changing Times aims to help halt this devastation, and contribute to turning things around.

On this one website, you can read about the plight of koalas in Australia and orangutans in Indonesia, the campaign against fracking, urban overdevelopment in Kuala Lumpur, and – on the lighter side – world music in Borneo.

You can also find out about reiki, ayurveda, homeopathy, and other healing practices, and read thought-provoking travel articles.

Journalism can be holistic!

The News and travel blog is the hub of Changing Times, the place to go to keep up to date with the latest posts.

I have just posted a comprehensive round-up of what is happening in the palm oil industry. The article covers all aspects of efforts to clean up palm oil supply chains and bring an end to the rampant deforestation that has been taking place, particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) recently held its annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur; in my coverage, I pinpoint some of the main concerns raised by delegates.

There are two new resources on Changing Times: the News links page and Campaign and petition links.

There are links to news and petitions about palm oil, land rights, animal protection, food sovereignty and safety, and global food control.

Press and internet freedom and the threats posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the international trade agreement being negotiated by the United States, Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region – are just some of the other issues that Changing Times follows very closely.

I was recently in Sumatra, so will be bringing you updates about deforestation – and reforestation, and an in-depth article about whether there can be true sustainability in the palm oil industry.

See also my recent articles about ag-gag laws – a serious new threat to activists who produce undercover videos and other material exposing animal cruelty.

I will also be keeping you up to date about the fight to save the Great Barrier Reef and the plight of the koala.

My most recent post about koalas details the work being done by scientists to combat chlamydia, which is a main cause of koala deaths. Scientists in Australia have conducted the first successful field trial of a vaccine against chlamydia in koalas.

My article “Koala extinctions already a reality ” paints a disturbing picture of inaction on the part of many local authorities and the national government in the face of the threats to koala survival. The situation is worsening all the time.

Koalas are already considered extinct in Avalon, north of Sydney, and are in danger of disappearing from many other parts of Australia. The iconic animal that tourists queue up to cuddle is suffering the ravages of disease and sustaining horrific injuries on logging plantations.

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As koala habitat continues to be destroyed for urban and industrial development, thousands of the animals are dying as a result of car hits and dog attacks. Bushfires continue to kill thousands more.

One of my other current concerns is what is happening in Kampong Bharu – the last remaining urban village in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur – which is being targeted for high-rise development. See the article Landowners in Malay enclave resist high-rise development

Houses and the old stage in the market area have already been demolished to make way for an apartment block and a high-rise office building, for which there is not even yet a building permit.


Changing Times keeps you up to date on the disastrous effect that the mass cultivation of palm oil is having having on forests and wildlife in Indonesia. There are in-depth reports on what is being done to combat this destruction.

Following on from the destruction of large swathes of the Tripa peat forest in nothern Sumatra, there are now plans for further industrial expansion in the area. Under a proposed new spatial plan, large areas of protected forest in the Leuser Ecosystem would be re-zoned for mining, logging, and palm oil cultivation.

This is a shocking development that further menaces wildlife and biodiversity in the province of Aceh, where thousands of acres of the Tripa forest have already been destroyed by palm oil companies. (See the News and travel blog for full information.)

The Leuser Ecosystem covers six million acres and is an area of great biodiversity. It is home to the densest populations of orangutans anywhere in the world and is the only place where tigers, orangutans, elephants, sun bears and rhinos share the same habitat.There is a petition on change.org, which appeals for the Ecosystem to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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There was good news in January, when an Indonesian court found the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam guilty of illegal burning in Tripa.

The court ordered the company to pay 114.3 billion rupiah (nearly 9.4 million US$) in compensation and 251.7 billion rupiah (close to 20.8 million US$) to restore the 1,000 hectares of forest affected.

See the full story here: Palm oil company fined millions of dollars for destroying forest.

Read, too, about the pollution haze that each year blankets Singapore and western Malaysia and is caused by slash-and-burn fires in Riau province in neighbouring Indonesia.


Read also on Changing Times about campaigns to prevent shale gas exploitation. This latest push by the oil and gas companies to blast resources out of the earth is an issue for people all around the world.

Go to Video stories to learn about Indonesian fishermen who are risking life and limb diving for sea cucumbers. There is also an article on the News and travel blog.

divingPhoto by Roni Bintang.

For the whole of March, 2014, my news blog was dominated by articles about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. I have now scaled back my coverage of the plane’s disappearance, but will bring readers further information if anything concrete finally emerges about what happened to this aircraft and the 239 people on board.

Positive thinking

Changing Times aims to inspire. For information on how to stay in good form, click on Health and well-being. For some further inspiration, check out the film reviews.

A quote to remember: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein.

Einstein also said the following:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

Chinese proverb: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

And here are a few inspiring links:

The Intelligent Optimist
Spiritual Cinema
Gaiam TV
The Shift Network
The Grandmothers Speak
Playing For Change
Humanity’s Team

A friend has asked me to mention this organisation: Cancer Support France . She says the local Languedoc branch particularly needs support: CSF-Languedoc

Links to partner websites:

Queensland Koala Crusaders

House of Yoga


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“Agathe”, a work by Zena Zenazena. (Copyright Zena Zenazena.)

Apologies; ads are now appearing on this website; it’s now WordPress practice to place such ads and I have no control over what appears. I’ll monitor the situation and decide whether to pay to remove them.

Unless otherwise stated, all original content © 2000-2014 Annette Gartland. All rights reserved.