The world was shaken on Saturday, 30thNovember 2013 when 40 years old actor Paul Walker passed away in an unfortunate car crash in Santa Clarita, California. Best known for his recurring role as Brian O'Conner in the "Fast and Furious" action movie series, it turned out that Paul had also played a significant role in saving one of Indonesia's paradises: the pristine coral reefs of the Mentawai Islands, off the coast of West Sumatra.
The death of the actor, who also played alongside Indonesian actor Joe Taslim in the most recent series of Fast and Furious, caused a deep grief among the Mentawai People's Alliance (Aliansi Masyarakat Mentawai) who acknowledged his brief but important role in raising awareness of the destruction of coral reefs around the western Indonesian islands caused by illegal fishing. "We deeply mourn the passing of Paul Walker" stated the Alliance as reported in tempo.co.
The Mentawai People's Alliance explained that last year, numerous fishing boats sailed to the islands, bombing coral reefs , thus killing marine life to haul in fish catch. The illegal fishing did not only destroy the coral reefs and threaten the underwater marvels, but also threatened the livelihood of the local villagers. "We decided to upload the documentary video on YouTube on the damage done, and started an online petition at change.org", the Alliance wrote.
The video and petition went viral and ultimately reached Paul Walker who immediately took action, tweeting a call to stop the destruction of Mentawai Islands' Coral Reefs. Through his twitter account @RealPaulWalker, the actor shouted: "Help! The beautiful Mentawais Reefs of Indonesia are being DESTROYED in a brutal practice. Please sign to help stop it!".
Help! The beautiful Mentawais Reefs of Indonesia are being DESTROYED in a brutal practice. Please sign to help stop it! http://t.co/0GZvzXiO— Paul Walker (@RealPaulWalker) January 30, 2013
The petition immediately reached worldwide attention and the Alliance received thousands of e-mails supporting the efforts to stop the destruction of the coral reefs around the islands. "Within just 24 hours, all illegal boats disappeared and within a week we were invited by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries" the Alliance wrote. The government then sent one of its eight gunboats to secure the area from the illegal boats. Earlier this month illegal boats reappeared in Mentawai , but within three days the police seized two and arrested the crews.
Far from the gleaming lights of Hollywood, Walker, an avid surfer who also described himself in his twitter profile as an outdoorsman, ocean addict, and an adrenaline junkie is said to have been very familiar with the thrilling waves of Mentawai and had visited Indonesia on many occasions. In a 2010 interview with Men’s Health magazine he even stated that he was building a house deep within the Indonesian jungle. He declined to reveal the exact location but described his home as being located in a remote area, which was difficult to reach.
"I came here thinking it would be my own secret island-heaven on earth. But there wasn't even access from the road; I literally had to bulldoze one. But it's worth it. This place is one of the most beautiful on earth, if not the most beautiful" said Walker as quoted from menshealth.com.
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