Willie Smits

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Bio

Willie Smits Shares Methodology for Sustainable Forests ArcNews Online Winter 2010.

ESRI UC 2009 Keynote speaker Press release: Smits serves as chairman for the Masarang Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to raise money and awareness in hopes of restoring forests and empowering local people. In 2007, the organization opened a palm-sugar factory that uses thermal energy to turn sugar palms into sugar and ethanol, returning cash and power to the community. The factory provides local people with alternatives to the short-term fix of harvesting forests to survive.

"My lifelong goal is to save as much as possible from our global environment for future generations by providing real-life examples of harmonious living in balance with nature," said Smits on the Masarang Foundation's Web site. "I also believe that we cannot save the environment if we do not simultaneously take care of the people's needs."

According to Smits, the project has successfully created more than 3,000 jobs; reintroduced bird, lizard, and primate species; provided food for the orangutan; and lessened both floods and fires.

"Willie Smits' dedication to improving the environment to benefit his community and the orangutan population is incredibly admirable," said ESRI president Jack Dangermond. "Attendees will feel inspired after hearing more about the project and the success it has achieved."

See: Thayer Scudder