The 2021 Comedy Wildlife Awards winners

Rising up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan usually loved the ocean. It can be why she made the decision to research maritime biology. But the more she realized, the additional she recognized that it was not enough to function in the ocean. She required to safeguard it.

“I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate adjust,” she states. “I felt powerless and did not know what to do [so] I determined to pursue my master’s in environmental management.”

This alternative led her to function in environmental defense, and it was fate that introduced her back again home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one particular of the final sites on earth exactly where species these types of as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros however reside in the wild currently. It’s also dwelling to above 300 species of birds, 8 of which are endemic to the region.

“When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, assorted vegetation stretched by way of hills and valleys. The Leuser is genuinely a majestic landscape — one particular of a sort.”

She fell in appreciate. “I experienced my initial orangutan come across in the Leuser Ecosystem,” she remembers. “As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and acquiring fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the knowledge.”

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

“Above the years,” she carries on, “the encounters with wildlife, with persons, and with the ecosystem by itself compounded. My curiosity and desire towards mother nature have turned into a deep wish to shield this biodiversity.”

So, she started doing the job for a governing administration company tasked to protect it. Right after the agency dismantled for political factors in the nation, Farhan resolved to produce the HAkA Basis.

“The plans [of HAkA] are to shield, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the exact time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region,” she claims.

“Wild places and wild spots are uncommon these times,” she continues. “We consider gold and diamonds are exceptional and as a result useful belongings, but wild destinations and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural belongings that basically supply us with daily life-sustaining products and services.”

“The rivers that flow by way of the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows by way of our veins. It may well seem extraordinary, but notify me — can any individual dwell without water?”

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has performed a good deal of operate to defend the region. The firm played a critical purpose in strengthening legal guidelines that convey the palm oil corporations that burn up forests to justice. In point, their involvement led to an unprecedented, very first-of-its-kind court docket decision that fined a single business close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA served thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged significant habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They are operating to stop mining destruction by serving to communities develop alternate livelihoods that will not hurt the forests. They’ve also experienced hundreds of law enforcement and government rangers to check deforestation, aiding to create the very first women ranger teams in the region.

“We have supported various villages to develop neighborhood regulation on river and land protection, efficiently empowering communities to get back ownership about their setting.”

She is a single of Tory Burch’s Empowered Females this calendar year. The donation she gets as a nominee is becoming awarded to the Ecosystem Affect Basis. The little regional foundation is performing to defend some of the final remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

“The resources will enable the corporation hold their ranger utilized so they can continue on protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats,” she states.

To discover more about Tory Burch and Upworthy’s Empowered Females plan visit Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her now!