1000 Flowers for the Planet - #389 Save the Orangutan
The orang-utan is a critically endangered species, with less than 6,300 in existence. They live in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, where they have faced threats to their existence for decades. These threats mostly come from humans, the main one being deforestation, which can be caused by fire, but is mostly caused by logging. Timber is taken out and the forest cleared, then the land is covered with plantations for the production of palm oil. Mining also takes place along rivers of the rainforest where the large mining operations destroy the habitat of the orang-utan. And sadly, although illegal, orang-utans are popular as pets.
The reduced habitat of the orang-utans may be diminished even further if plans to exploit natural resources go ahead, and this would ensure the extinction of this endearing creature. To learn even more about this important issue go to www.orangutan.org.au or search ‘save the orangutans’ for other good sites trying to do something positive.
We need to be aware of how our actions affect the planet and all its creatures. 85% of the world’s palm oil production comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. We use palm oil in everyday products such as: baby soap, baby formula, wipes, cake mixes, biscuits, bread products, cakes, muffins, candles, cereals, cheese, chocolate, cleaning products, cosmetics, dish washing liquid, pastry, pizza, shampoo, toothpaste, snack bars, ice cream, soap, margarine, noodles, lip balm, pet food, skin care, chips, snacks, peanut butter, and a whole lot more! There is a lot of information at www.palmoilinvestigations.org where I found a list of products in my country that contain palm oil. Flower #137 suggested avoiding palm oil. This would mean a huge change in lifestyle and one few would take, but unless we do something about changing the way we produce palm oil, and try to find a way to make it sustainable without losing any more rainforest, and therefore orang-utan habitat, then we can tell our children and grandchildren they can only look at pictures of these red apes because they’re extinct.
Help save the orang-utans by pressuring manufacturers to either not use palm oil in their products, or to at least grow sustainably. Mandatory labelling of products with correct information must be introduced and enforced so people can make considered choices. Speak up, phone or email companies and ask them to do the best thing for the planet. Donate to organizations on the ground helping to save the orang-utan and its habitat. Volunteer if you can. All of these things will help.