It’s a biologist’s dream — a rock band that’s named after plankton and makes conservation cool.
Navicula means small ship in Latin. It is the name shared by an estimated 10,000 species of microscopic algae that are part of the larger group called diatoms that forms the basis of freshwater and marine food chains.
These tiny plankton produce about a quarter of all the oxygen we breathe. They feed the tiny creatures that feed the little fish that feed the bigger fish we eat. They are critical to our lives but rarely get a mention.
So it was good to learn this week that the name Navicula also belongs to a psychedelic rock and grunge group from Bali, Indonesia, and that the band is more environmentally aware than most.
The ‘green grunge gentlemen’ have now turned their attention to the plight of one of our closest relatives, with a new song “Orangutan”.
A major threat to these apes is the our demand for palm oil, which appears in thousands of products from processed foods to cosmetics and biofuels.
To meet this demand, the industry has replaced millions of hectares of diverse rainforest — and prime orangutan habitat — with oil palm plantations where wandering apes risk being captured or killed. (see Borneo’s eco-stranded apes with nowhere to call home)
Meanwhile, the search for a sustainable way to produce palm oil and protect biodiversity goes on.
In comments published on Akarumput.com, Navicula vocalist Gede Roby Supriyanto explained what motivated the band to record a song about the sector and it impact on orangutans:
“Our hope is for improvements in policy, power, and government control over the palm oil industry, because right now the palm oil industry has a “law” itself outside the law of the state of Indonesia. We also need tighter control to support the preservation of the environment and local economy, so that they become healthier for more local communities, the forest, and so that they are more sustainable.”
Or, for a livelier look at some of the film’s footage, check out Navicula and their song about Asia’s rare red ape.