Just This Once

Dear Orangutan Supporters,

It’s been a hard few years for most of us, what with coming out of the pandemic and returning to busy in-person activities. I’ve had a lot to work on too, with several especially strenuous semesters and a demanding internship. But that’s not the main reason I’ve been inactive.

For almost nine years now I’ve been running this organization, with the ultimate goal of public education. First and foremost, I want to inform people about palm oil and rainforest destruction so they can go on to make responsible choices in the grocery store. One of the most important things I’ve consistently told my readers: Everyone can make a difference. Even the impact of one person can create ripples, informing other people and creating positive change.

But last year, amid the stress and worry of the pandemic, I began to feel like my impact wasn’t creating very much. I felt powerless, unable to properly communicate the urgency and the critical importance of my work. For decades, orangutans have been on the brink of extinction, and still the destruction of their habitat continues. What could I possibly do to help save their home? Huge conservation organizations have spent years trying.

It took me a long time to work through this attitude. But beyond the feeling of powerlessness, I still had a spark of motivation- driven, in large part, by frustration. If we turn our heads while these incredible rainforests are destroyed, we are actively part of the problem. Yes, it takes perseverance to keep fighting- it takes perseverance to push against the deeply ingrained systems that cause this destruction- but it’s a necessary perseverance. Our empathy is the only path towards safety for the incredible creatures we aim to protect. Powerless or not, they are relying on us to make this choice.

Many of these realizations came from, of all things, writing a poem. I’d been planning to write something like this for a long time, and when I finally got my thoughts down on paper, I was amazed by how well it expressed both viewpoints- that one person’s actions both couldn’t possibly matter, and were the only path towards progress. If you’ve been feeling similarly over the last few years, I hope this will change your mind.

Let’s get back into step.

Thank you all for saving the rainforest today.

~Pangaea Finn
Founder, The Orangutan Gang

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