Rainforest Action Network: The Last Stand of the Orangutan

As a nature lover and someone who cares deeply about all human beings and animals, I am honored to share today a guest post written by Laurel Sutherlin of the non-profit group Rainforest Action Network (RAN). Today RAN has released a new video discussing the impact of palm oil on orangutans in honor of their new campaign that aims to remove “Conflict Palm Oil” from America’s snack foods by convincing major food companies to implement responsible palm oil policies. The companies who were publicly announced at the Chicago Board of Trade are being called “The Snack Food 20” and include some of America’s most popular brands such as Pepsi, Heinz, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smuckers. Here is the story.

Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network

Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network

The facts are clear: Orangutans are going extinct for palm oil.  Palm oil is a cheap product used in much of the Western world’s snack food products. Take a look at the label on your food and you will see for yourself that palm oil is often a main ingredient because it is cheap and plentiful.

Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network

Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network

Yet have we ever stopped to take a look at what our use of palm oil is doing to the environment and more so, to some of the most precious wildlife we have on Earth?

“In the 21st Century customers don’t want to buy crackers and cookies that are responsible for pushing the world’s last wild orangutans to extinction and for horrifying child labor violations. That’s why Rainforest Action Network is putting these top 20 snack food companies using ‘Conflict Palm Oil’ on notice that it’s time to develop responsible policies and create products that reflect the values of their customers and the needs of our planet,” said Lindsey Allen, the Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network.

Rainforest Action Network

Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network

Before I present the facts in a guest post below, please take a moment to watch this beautiful short two-minute video on what palm oil in our snack food is doing to threaten the orangutans. The video is a touching exchange in sign language between a young girl and an orphaned orangutan whose home has been destroyed by palm oil. You are sure to be very moved by it.

Conservation/Environment Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD

The Forbidden City has become forbidden due to dangerous levels of smog

I always like to follow the news on places I’ve visited before. It just so happens that China has been in the news big time recently and not in a good way. Apparently Beijing has been impacted by some of the most dangerous levels of pollution in history and it isn’t going away anytime soon. The pollution is at such hazardous levels that the Communist Governement has declared emergency measures to try to decrease the horrendous black soot in the air that is unhealthy for people to inhale. The air quality is so incredibly bad that people are advised not to venture outdoors.

Per today’s New York Times article titled Smog Blankets China’s Capital, “In the past three decades, China has adopted a growth-at-any-cost attitude to build its economy, and the resulting environmental damage is now widespread and severe”.

I was in Beijing a little over a year ago and had been shocked by the thick layer of pollution and smog blanketing and strangling the city like a murderer. Every single picture I shot while in Beijing was a huge disappointment given the pesky pollution that wouldn’t budge. It was slightly better in Shanghai yet still worrisome.

As more Chinese move up the ranks into the middle class and buy more cars, there is bound to be more problems with pollution and the damage to the environment will be unbearable. It points again to the need for all governments to come together and agree on how they should address climate change and the impact that over 7 billion people are making on this earth. Of course, Americans with their big, gas-guzzling cars need to help out too. We all do.  But I hope something is done before it is too late.

I’m leaving you with a few photos I took while in Beijing last year and processed them with a new filter app called PhotoForge which I love. I’ve also been experimenting more with Instagram as well. If you are interested in checking me out there, I am under Thirdeyemom.

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China Conservation/Environment Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD TRAVEL BY REGION