Rainforest Resolutions

This New Year’s Day, we celebrate change and renewal. We’ve survived through a figurative winter much longer than these past few months, and now we can begin to rebuild. On a personal level, this may take the form of major resolutions, but the crisis we have experienced, and the dangers we continue to face, necessitate a stronger and more collaborative approach.

Our environment works as a system: ecology is driven not by individual, discrete phenomena, but by the interactions and cooperations between species. But when these processes are disrupted by wanton deforestation and palm oil monocrops, these same environmental and ecological interactions can drive complex and destructive consequences.

The palm oil industry is similar. The cause of these looming threats is deforestation, yes; but at its root that destruction is driven by a complex interaction between forestry companies, manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers- consumers like us. While we pledge to spend more time with family, endangered species and valuable habitats continue to face insurmountable threats. While we resolve to get a gym membership, constant degradation of ancient rainforests sparks wildfires and pumps carbon into the atmosphere.

But our status as a key part of this system means we have power over its consequences. This year, resolve to use that power, and remind the system of what it’s tearing apart. Contact companies and encourage them to step up. Spread the word among your family and friends. Vote with your wallet, and relieve irresponsible companies of their dirty profits. And use your interactions to drive positive change.

So, as a planet, let’s make our resolution together. Let’s take better care of ourselves.

~Pangaea Finn
Founder and Director


Zora, Hanover Zoo

This Halloween, your house will be accosted by ghosts, ghouls, and gremlins of every variety! Candy is perhaps your only defense against those terrors that await us under the moon! But before you select your brand of choice, keep in mind that candy can be dangerous too. Help save the planet this Halloween by supporting sustainable companies and becoming a conscious consumer. Check out our comprehensive overview of candy conservation at https://orangutangang.org/2022/10/01/spooky-scary-sustainability/.

Spooky Scary Sustainability

This Halloween, take a second look at your candy basket- because the scariest monster of all might be hiding inside.

Eager trick-or-treaters across the country are beginning to prepare for the spookiest day of the year- and after two years of quarantine, they’re finally ready to switch out their surgical masks for monster masks. But we aren’t the only ones getting ready for mischief- candy companies are gearing up too.

Earlier this year, a Rainforest Action Network investigation uncovered a deforestation scandal: Royal Golden Eagle, a forestry giant with ties to dozens of major brands, is sourcing palm oil from plantations in the protected Leuser Ecosystem. As one of the last safe havens of rare species like Sumatran rhinos, tigers, and elephants, this ecosystem- home to the “Orangutan Capital of the World”- is incredibly important in preserving biodiversity and the health of our global climate. By bulldozing and violating the Leuser Ecosystem, candy companies like Mondelēz International and Nestlé are going back on their promises, breaking Indonesian law, and destroying the future of hundreds of endangered species. And all that strife, perpetuated for cheap vegetable oil, will end up in your candy basket this Halloween.

The National Retail Federation estimates that American consumers will spend $3.1 billion this year on Halloween candy alone. And during your trick-or-treat routine, 600 football fields of rainforest will be burned and bulldozed. While you celebrate a scary good time, these animals are in real danger- and activists are fighting desperately to protect them.

You can join the fight.

First off, make sure the Halloween candy you hand out this year is palm oil free. As a consumer, you can vote with your wallet- boycotting unsustainable brands is a powerful reminder that what they’re doing is wrong. Products Without Palm Oil offers an incredibly comprehensive list of sustainable and unsustainable candy choices, which you can find below.

For quick reference, you can also use the Orangutan Gang’s infographic, which has a short list of sustainable and unsustainable options, plus some advice for Halloween parties.

halloween infographic background
Click to Begin

You can also remind these companies of the injustices they perpetuate in other ways. Use our quick and easy company form letter to let them know you care about the rainforest- and give them a fright.

Finally, and most importantly, spread the word. Sustainability can only catch on if people understand and care about an issue. Share this post with as many people as you can, and make sure your friends know about the palm oil issue. Use our resources- flyers, Halloween handout cards, and many more– to spread this message.

Let’s make this a green Halloween- together.

~Pangaea Finn
Founder, The Orangutan Gang

Who We’re Fighting For

Today is International Orangutan Day- which means today is the best time to learn about orangutans, palm oil, and how you can help. If you’re unfamiliar with the issue, you can reference our Conservation Clips series– a quick crash course with plenty of information about the palm oil issue and its poster child.

International Orangutan Day is an event intended not only to recognize the plight of our closest relatives, but to promote change as well. Awareness is not enough- saving orangutans, and preserving their habitat, requires action. Over the course of this week, to help protect orangutans, make a few changes to your daily life:

  • Check the ingredients of various products on your grocery list. Palm oil is often subtle, and it may be hard to find in a product. Use PalmSmart or an aliases list for help, or just look for ingredients containing the words “palm”, “laur”, or “stear”- its most common disguises.
  • Find alternatives! For any particular type of product, you will likely be able to find a brand that doesn’t contain palm oil derivatives. Products Without Palm Oil is a great resource for this, and has several safe brands listed for each of many product types.
  • Tell others! Spreading awareness- and caring- is the best way to combat any environmental issue. Don’t be ashamed of avoiding unsustainable foods in front of your friends. Tell them why you’re helping save the rainforest, and show them that they can make a difference too.
  • If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even contact a company using our handy form letter. Help make unsustainable companies aware of orangutans, too.
  • And finally, if you’re in need of some motivation, check out Orangutan Jungle School– a delightful TV series which follows young orangutans as they’re rehabilitated at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center.

Thank you all for saving the rainforest this Orangutan Day.

~Pangaea Finn
Founder, The Orangutan Gang