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

LEAF presentation & Holiday Dinner Considerations

Earlier this month, I hosted a presentation for Learning About Forests, or LEAF (a program of the Foundation for Environmental Education). Along with my usual information about orangutans, palm oil, and how to become a conservationist, I went over the palm oil lesson plan which I designed earlier this year, describing the details of the lesson plan to this community of educators. You can watch the video of this speech below.

In addition, I’d like to thank Nicole Andreou of LEAF, a fellow North American Association for Environmental Education 30 under 30, for offering me this opportunity to share my lesson plan with the LEAF educators network.

If you’re just now getting ready to put together your holiday dinner, I also thought I’d include our holiday infographic. Check out our helpful tips to make sure you’re staying palm oil free for the holidays:

Enjoy the presentation, keep your holiday dinner sustainable, and check back for further updates!

Thank you for saving the rainforest today.

~Pangaea Finn
Founder, The Orangutan Gang

Orangutan Caring Week How-To

To start off, if you were unable to make it to the Orangutan Gang’s live-lesson yesterday, you can find the recording below on YouTube:

If you don’t know much about orangutans, palm oil, or some of the steps you can take to help, you can start off Orangutan Caring Week by checking out this lesson and becoming aware.

Once you’ve educated yourself about the issue, move on to taking the following steps. Remember, this week is Orangutan Caring Week, and as someone who values orangutans and their rainforest habitat you have an obligation to work to halt the destruction of their home. This week is the time to stand up, not to stand back.

  • Share this post with three friends. In order to make a difference, we need to act together. You can prompt that kind of group action by creating a group. Encourage the friends you share this with to take the same steps and create a larger community.
  • Make two changes on your grocery list. In order to figure out what products are sustainable or palm oil free, you can look for certification labels, check the ingredients against a guide for palm oil aliases (remember Palm, Laur, Stear, Cetyl, Glyc, Olei), or use an app like PalmSmart to scan the barcode of each product. Make sure to choose products that you buy often. This isn’t just for this week- make the changes on your grocery list permanent so that you’re making a lasting impact.
  • Contact one company about becoming sustainable. Before you contact the company, make sure to check out their palm oil policy to see what, if any, certification they’re already using and any commitments that they’ve made. Then you can fill out the Orangutan Gang’s simple form letter and send it off to the company of your choice.
  • Oh, and now that you’ve taken all of the required steps, go ahead and join the Orangutan Gang.

Remember, your choices matter this Orangutan Caring Week. Make the responsible choice to contribute to the movement. Your actions can- and will- save the rainforest.

Happy Orangutan Caring Week!

~Pangaea Finn, Founder and Director

October Updates: Halloween, Audubon Presentation, & Orangutan Caring Week Webinar

This Halloween, turn your attention to a real-life horror story: the candy that you’re buying is manufactured from the ashes of rainforest. When candy companies source unsustainable palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, rainforests are destroyed in order to make room for palm oil plantations, fueling the ever-growing appetites of consumers across the globe. But you don’t have to contribute to the destruction- you can actually help save the rainforest this Halloween, using the Orangutan Gang’s helpful guide:

Click to Begin

On October 27, Orangutan Gang founder Pangaea Finn presented at the monthly meeting of the Golden Eagle Audubon Society. If you’d like to learn more about impacted birds and how you can make an impact, watch the recording at the link below.

This year’s Orangutan Caring Week will be from November 8-14. Orangutan Caring Week is an annual event held to recognize and take action against threats to orangutans and their rainforest habitat. In previous years, the Orangutan Gang has visited Zoo Boise to educate zoo-goers. This year, to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll be hosting an educational webinar on November 9 at 5:30 pm Pacific to educate attendees about orangutans, palm oil, and simple steps that you can take to help save the rainforest. Your support starts right now- simply share this post with a few friends and ask them to register for our webinar.

You can sign up for the webinar at this registration link. After you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to the webinar.

Remember to share this link with your friends and to make sure that your Halloween choices are sustainable. Happy Orangutan Caring Week, and thank you for saving the rainforest today!

~Pangaea Finn, Founder and Director