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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

The $100 cup of coffee – how your choices affect the environment

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Jungle Jenn and a forest gorilla. Photo supplied.
Jungle Jenn and a forest gorilla. Photo supplied.

Local scientist and activist Jungle Jenn, aka Jennifer Croes, will be at the Byron library on Tuesday 27 June to talk about her work in the illegal wildlife trade.

Having recently returned from Indonesia, where she spent eight days tracking poachers in the Sumatran jungle, she is keen to share her knowledge and understanding of the impact of each individuals choices on the environment.

Giving up her career as a business change manager in 2005 Jenn went to the Amazon jungle to volunteer rehabilitating wildlife that had been orphaned and injured by poachers. It was here she ‘met a two year old orphaned puma called Tequila who changed everything.’

Consolidating her skills

From there she went onto organise Earth Hour in Australia in 2010 before deciding it was time to consolidate all the practical scientific skills she had acquired and officially become a scientist. Studying at the London imperial collage Jenn did her research paper on the illegal wildlife trade which took her to Indonesia in2011 and 2012.

Making films that highlight the impact of the illegal trade in wildlife lead to an invitation to join an eight day trek to track poachers this year with an anti-poaching unit in Indonesia.

‘Over eight days of tracking through dense jungle I found it really strange, that in a protected area, I didn’t see any reptiles and there was no bird song,’ said Jenn.

‘It is more than the charismatic species. Many reptiles and birds are getting harmed and are at high risk of becoming extinct.’

Culturally in Indonesia there are many birdsong competitions. As specific species become rarer and harder to find poachers begin to branch out into a wider range of birds.

Highlighting the importance of birds and bats in relation to seed dispersal and the eco-system Jenn said the cascading effects of species depletion can happen very quickly leading to empty forest syndrome. This is essentially a forest that no longer has any of the larger animals in it.

Find out more

‘The purpose of this talk is to look at the impact of consumerism has,’ continued Jenn.

‘It looks at the kind of role people can play when they go shopping and how their ethical tourism and purchasing choices have an impact.

‘Take coffee for example, it is something that we take for granted.’

Have you heard of the most expensive coffee in the world? It is traditionally a coffee made from the coffee beans found in the fecal matter of the wild civet, a member of the mongoose family.

‘This trend for the most expensive coffee in the world has now lead to the civets being captured from the wild, kept in small cages and force fed’ to produce coffee that can sell for $100 a cup.

You can join Jungle Jenn to find out more at the Byron library on Tuesday 27 June at 10.30am.

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