Green Monster

Dimas Ardian / Getty Images

A Riau plantation worker hauls fruit from oil palms

On a recent humid morning in Riau, a province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a young man named Suranto wakes early on a Sunday, wraps a red T shirt around his head and ambles off to the fields to work. Suranto isn't a local; he has come from northern Sumatra because there are jobs in Riau. The forests and peatlands of the area are being transformed into plantations, and workers are being paid to plant tens of thousands of young oil-palm trees in fields stripped bare of their native vegetation by burning. As Suranto stoops and digs one...

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