Orangutans

Did anyone see the delightful animal program on TV last night?

What struck  me in particular was  the friendship of the orangutan with the dog.  What was even more interesting was how the orangutan broke everything it ate in half and fed the half to its friend, the dog.

Apparently, this is normal behaviour for organutans who are generous by nature.

I could only think how ungenerous man is by burning and hacking the orangutans’ jungle homes to create space to grow ever more palm oil plantations.  A horrible vision has been etched indelibly in my mind –  a photographer who was extremely concerned about this destruction, wrote in the SMH recently about how as one jungle burned, an orangutan ran with her baby to the outskirts of the jungle. She then laid down on the side of the road as if she was dead. A passing car stopped and the driver jumped out, grabbed the baby and drove off. As soon as the mother knew the baby was safe she stood up and walked back into the burning jungle.

The horrifying reality is that every day, thirty square miles of jungle are being burnt to make way for palm oil plantations http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/the-guilty-secrets-of-palm-oil-are-you-unwittingly-contributing-to-the-devastation-of-the-rain-forests-1676218.html

Of course, orangutans are just one inhabitant of the jungles. There are birds, tigers, sun bears, snakes, spiders, monkeys, butterflies, frogs, and much more.  How is it that man has taken on guardianship of the earth and yet is so unkind to its other inhabitants? How does that make us superior?

Each book in the Doofuzz Dudes series focuses on a different environmental issue.  I publish with Griffin Press who source their paper from sustainable sources. The environmental issue at the heart of the orangutan problem is the world’s insatiable demand for palm oil.

I did a bit of reseach on the sorts of products that are made with palm oil. These are chocolate, biscuits, soap, cosmetics, toothpaste, face creams, margarine, commercial cheesecakes and pies, and well, the list goes on and on.  In fact it appears that palm oil is an ingredient in most food products sold in the UK. I suppose this is because it is being substituted for a more expensive ingredient.

So with so many products containing palm oil, what can we do? Apparently, the fact that they contain palm oil is often disguised. Palm oil is described by its Latin name or called something else in the list of  ingredients.  However, the cosmetic industry is the major culprit. A recent commercial (the Dove campaign) featuring older women was so successful that it fueled the demand for palm oil. Palm oil is a major ingredient in the Dove products.

Some companies are taking a responsible view and removing palm oil from their ingredients. However, if we care about the issue, it is up to us as consumers to pressure companies into finding substitutes for palm oil by either  buoycotting  palm oil products or by contacting the companies concerned and expressing our concern. But is it already too late to save the orangutan?

For more information go to www.orangutans.com.au/…/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palmoil-free-alternatives.aspx

and

www.palmoilaction.org.au/pages/shopping-guide.html

On a more positive note, I’ve just received a message from a charity I support – The Catskill Animal Sanctuary who rescue farm animals. A most generous supporter has offered to match any donation up to $1.5 million given before January, 2010. For more information go to http://www.casanctuary.org/challenge-grant

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1 Comment

Filed under Book details, Roslyn Motter, Writing

One response to “Orangutans

  1. The Zoo has bred the largest number of orangutans in the world. Vision Care

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