International Mother Earth Day otherwise known as Earth Day has only been around since 2009. For us every day should be about the living in harmony with nature, but let's do something to make this Earth Day special. Planting trees is always a great thing to do (that's TREED A LOT - LEVEL 3), or what about doing something to help SAVE THE ORANGUTAN?
How many Orangutans are there in the wild?
There are two different types of orangutan, the Bornean Orangutan (lives in Borneo) and the Sumatran Orangutan (yes you guessed it, they live on the island of Sumatra). Sumatran Orangutan In 2007 the Sumatran Orangutan was classified as "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red list of Endangered Species. In the most recent survey in 2004, which seems like a very long time ago, their numbers were estimated at 7,300. However with their native forest habitat being logged (both legal and illegal), the wholesale conversion of forest to agricultural land and oil palm (palm oil) plantations, and fragmentation by roads their numbers are decreasing. Bornean Orangutan In 2007 the Bornean Orangutan was classed as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red list of Endangered Species. In 2000/2003 their numbers were estimated at being somewhere between 45,000 and 69,000. Again a very long time ago for estimates for such threatened animals and again their habitat is mainly being destroyed through systematic deforestation by us humans so their number are decreasing.
What can I do to help the Orangutan?
The first thing to do is to stop buying things that help deforest their habitat. Our SAVE THE ORANGUTAN quest will start you on that path. The GOOD WOOD could help too - or at least if the wood/paper/card you purchase was growing in either Borneo or Sumatra it will. So something special this Earth Day and help save the Orangutan. If you want to do something physical this Earth Day check out our PERFECT! BEACH BODIES quest if you are near the coast or the KEEPING IT TIDY quest for land lovers. #WChgMe #PalmOil #Orangutan #EarthDay2014
UPDATED: 08-April-2014 with regard to P&G press release about palm oil in their products.
Today was hailed as a victory by charities like Greenpeace, who have been running a big campaign to petition Proctor & Gamble to stop destroying rainforests in persuit of palm oil. While we agree that a statement from P&G with a big headline stating "P&G Sets New Sustainability Goal: No Deforestation in Its Palm Supply Chain" appears to be something to celebrate, we wonder how much rainforest will actually be left standing in 2020 when they (and their supply chain companies) aim to stop chopping it down.
If you read the P&G statement you will probably be pleased to see that "Already, 100% of P&G’s purchased palm oil is certified by Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards". What they don't tell you is that it's an industry standard/label that according to Rainforest Rescue "does not rule out the clearing of rainforest. Only primary and “high conservation value” (HCV) forests have been considered off-limits for palm oil plantations under the label since November 2005. An internationally recognized definition of HCV areas has not been established, however, and the transitions between primary and secondary rainforests are blurred in practice." So you have to question how much the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards are marketing green wash.
We believe that slowing, preferably halting, the demand for palm oil is a great thing to do and companies including Proctor & Gamble still need to know that caring people are serious about saving the orangutan.