Last night, I watched a documentary on orangutans in Indonesia and the inspirational doctor who is striving to protect them, Dr. Mary Galdikas (Biography). She has been studying them for nearly four decades now and building awareness about their rapidly diminishing natural habitat around the world. She is an inspirational woman because she has abandoned the luxuries of life to dedicate her life to saving those wonderful creatures which she has grown to love and adore as her family. She takes them in and saves them from poachers, brings them to the center, provides them with shelter, food and foster parents and then slowly integrates them back into their natural habitats. My heart went out to these beautiful orange creatures.
The population of orangutans in Indonesia has fallen by around 43% in the last ten years or so and this decline has been caused by either forest destruction or poaching. People are cutting down trees to sustain themselves but they are oblivious to the plight of these beautiful creatures whose natures and social ways are so much like our own.
The country is replacing the tropical rainforests with Palm trees that cover millions of hectares across three countries; Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. They are cultivating Palm for its oil as it has an unparalleled productivity where its seed produces oil as no other in the world. And therefore, even though the land might still be green by growing these palms, they are destroying the habitat of many species that need those forests to sustain them. This “business” is also unsustainable because palm trees soak up so many nutrients from the soil which means they need fertilizers and thus within a few years, the soil becomes useless.
We have been given this magnificent Earth to live on and protect and it pains me every time I watch such programs. Watching programs about the poaching of animals and the destruction of forests hurt me. There are so many issues around the world that I would like to delve into and help that I feel my mind is being pulled in so many directions. I think the only way to really help is to start small… so maybe I should begin with me and what we do at home. I can also help bring up my children to become more aware of their surroundings and what is happening in our world.
Things that I usually do:
1. I bought many cloth bags to use when going shopping … I just need to remember to take them with me…. I also re-use the plastic bags we have.
2. I turn off the electricity whenever I am not in the room.
3. I do not keep the water running when brushing my teeth.
4. I do not buy any products that have been tested on animals.
5. I use the back of used paper… so I reuse them…. the kids do too… they color and paint.
6. I buy local foods… but maybe I should cut down on buying imported products.
Things that I must do:
1. Walk to places or take the bike if it is not too far away.
2. Cut down on buying imported products to reduce the amount of food miles.
3. Look at the products I buy and check whether it has Palm oil or not.
4. Check whether the wooden products that I buy are from rainforests such as mahogany.
5. Visit Indonesia and Dr. Galdikas’s center as tourists fund the program.
6. Donate money to an anti-deforestation NGO program.