Friday, June 24, 2011

The Orangutans' Plight

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.


Birdie said...

That is really interesting about Palm oil. I did not know that entire eco-systems were being destroyed because of it. I guess I should have guessed. I do know that Palm oil is very unhealthy and used in a lot of foods so I avoid it for that reason but now I have another reason to keep it off my list. Thanks for the information!

Jan said...

That is a really useful reminder for me Lana. I watched a programme about the Orangutangs and Palm Oil about a year ago. Then I vowed I wouldn't use products with Palm Oil in them but it is sometimes difficult to see this in the listed ingredients. I need to make more effort to find out if a product contains Palm Oil.

I also very much liked your lists - it's a good way to evaluate how much you are living up to your values. Starting small is good. Balanced and with self-compassion.

Judy Croome said...

Yes, it's like the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, and thanks to trophy hunters (who think shooting a "canned" lion makes them 'men') the African lion has been decimated and may soon be joining the delicate cheetah on the endangered list. My brother-in-law is heavily involved in Leaders for Conservation in Africa but until human beings stop breeding indiscriminately and thus need to seek more and more land for themselves at the cost of other species habitat, sadly, too many animal species will be threatened (the Indian Tiger also springs to mind.)

Very distressing post - there's too much arrogance and not enough KINDness in humanKIND's treatment of our animal friends. :(

(Sorry for rant - this is a soapbox of mine)

Judy, South Africa

paula devi said...

Very hard post to read but very important. I didn't know that about Palm Oil or what is happening to these beautiful creatures. If I remember correctly, all of these creatures and our environment were God's first creations and shared the earth rather than owning it the way "man" does.

Lana, Come to visit my blog, I have given you an award to pick up.

Sree said...

very thoughtful and informative post:)

Tabouleh said...

Thank you all for your wonderful additions to my entry... I know how you feel...I know how hard it was to read it and discover the atrocities humanKIND is doing in this world.. you all raised some interesting and important issues and points of view...thank you!

Shopgirl said...

That's so sad. I am glad you are writing to spread the words on steps we could take to change things. I visited our local park where they announced there are only 4 white rhinos left in the world. It's too late for them but not others. We need to do something soon.

Tabouleh said...

HI Shopgirl... thank you for your comment... that is so sad about the White Rhinos... I knew they were on the endangered list but did not know it might be soon that they would become extinct... I admire all those conversationalists out there... They are truly inspirational.