Happy International Orangutan Day! Today is devoted to educating the general public about how to help save the orangutans and the tropical rainforest they call home. Today, you can help save the rainforest by trying to use and buy only palm oil free products. If you are visiting the market, check the labels on your choices, looking for anything containing “palm”, “stear”, “laur”, “cetyl”, or “olei”. Check also for cetearyl alcohol, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Be a sustainable consumer today, because the rainforest is counting on you!
In the rainforests of Indonesian Sumatra, in the midst of the only remaining habitat of the world’s rarest great ape, the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan, the Chinese hydropower company Sinohydro is clearing forest to make way for the future home of the Batang Toru Dam. The Tapanuli orangutan is strictly arboreal and has never been observed to touch down to the ground. This species was discovered less than a year ago, and we must do all that we can to protect the 800 remaining individuals in the wild. The Batang Toru Dam would fragment the Tapanuli population with roads and power lines, and as even a forest clearing is a barrier to arboreal species, these orangutans would not survive such separation.
Only if we work together to stop Sinohydro can we save the Tapanuli. The Rainforest Rescue petition needs 15,619 people to reach 250,000 signatures at the time of this post.
Albert Einstein believed that “the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Do not stand by and watch Sinohydro destroy the homes of some of your closest relatives. You can help save the Tapanuli orangutan.
Last weekend, I visited the Davidson Young Scholar Summit in order to raise awareness and money for the palm oil issue. I ended up selling countless grocery bags, stickers, and mini orangutan kits, and many families learned about the issue and how they could help save the rainforest. In fact, I raised almost $200 and gave a speech at the Young Scholar Ambassador Panel about my project. The Young Scholar Ambassador Program is helping me work through the Zoo Project and Tutelage Project, as well as smaller outreach plans, as described in the August 2017 post Plans for the Future.