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A Youtube video which looks at the issues of palm oil for local people: Oil Palm: Progress or Problem - Part 1


A Youtube video of a brave orangutan fighting back against a bulldozer that is destroying rainforest.

Orangutan Tries To Fight Bulldozer Destroying Habitat

EDITOR'S NOTE: This palm oil report below is not finalized and is only in a draft state but with that said there is already much information to be looked at as it is nearly at a completion stage. Thank you. 













  I, ‘Mr Lanang’1 ask the human race has it ever thought of palm oil from the point of view of the orangutans? I believe probably not, so I have chosen to imagine myself as an orangutan so humanity may understand how the ‘Wise Old People of the Forest’ have been hurt so much by the human species and of what the orangutans may think about this. Thank you for spending the time to look at this report which I must admit can be seen more as an open letter from one orangutan giving his opinions on palm oil to all the people of this Earth. Let there be change for the better after it is read. 2


  1 Mr Aladdin and Aladdin had told Lanang at the time he did this report - while he was still learning about the human world - that it would be best to write as ‘Mr Lanang’ as humans would not believe that an orangutan was writing to them. It was explained human beings are too proud and think they are so superior they lack the imagination and humility to take any notice of the common sense the animal world can offer them. It had to look as if another human was writing to them. Also if Lanang ever mentioned them they would be referred to as ‘Mr A’ and ‘A’ to hide their identity from the authorities. To suit Lanang’s arguments some points from the main text may be repeated in this report; on behalf of Lanang an apology for any such repetition. As seen in human reports Lanang has chosen to regularly use footnotes which can be viewed as ‘afterthoughts’ that hopefully help to detail what he tries to say in the main body of this report.

2 This paper has been peer reviewed by other orangutans and is approved. Please also note due to formatting issues all other footnotes which give more information will be at the end of the report.  




I, Lanang, an orangutan who lives in Borneo wish to humbly tell the human race it must stop buying things which have palm oil in them.


   Palm oil is a large issue for one orangutan to try and understand


  I am still learning about humanity’s horrible addiction to palm oil but as time is short I will write what  I  can  about  this  matter  with  what  I  have  already  learnt. I am sure there is more to find out but the rainforest does not have the time to wait on me look for more information as it may then be all gone. I understand there  are  humans  who  may strongly disagree with  me  and  with what to do about this problem but I just want to give you something to think about as well as to see this problem from our – meaning us orangutans – point of view. It is always good to seek out the point of view of those who are directly affected by your actions rather than just making up an opinion from the comfort of your human living rooms where you enjoy the results of your destruction of our rainforests which are our homes. I will also be honest in what I say, which, sadly I feel you humans may not believe, as I see you are often not very good in telling the truth. If I say something wrong it will simply be an honest mistake. I know you humans have had many years to think out your reasons and make up your excuses to destroy the planet while I have had only a few weeks to look at all the harm you do. I am what the environmental professionals out there would call an an ’amateur’ and look down at me but at least I am trying to find out what I think is the truth and to try and work out what can be done to solve a very big problem. I am happy to be corrected as long as it is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth - as you humans often like to say - even though some of you still lie through your teeth. As you can tell I don’t have a high opinion of the human character because of all the sadness and death you have inflicted on us although I do know there are still many good humans otherwise there would be no point in writing this report. Sorry for any dislike, it is not personal, and I hope after reading my report you will do what you can for the trees and for us which will make me like you. After all, I have had a good human friend to help me make this report so humans could look at it and so thank ‘A’, as well as his father ‘Mr. A’.3 Thank You! Anyhow, if you think there is anything in this report that you feel I may be wrong about then I say go out and find some information on the internet or in libraries so as to help people make up their own minds on what to do about palm oil. I know I don’t have all the answers just as I know I do not even know what could be all the right questions.


 Rainforest trees lost for palm oil, timber and paper.


 Orangutans are dying because of palm oil growers destroying our old growth tree habitats so they can plant their palm oil fruit trees. I also wish that you would stop cutting down rainforest trees just so you can use this wonderful wood to build your houses, for your furniture and to make paper. Less rainforest also affects the water cycle especially in the atmosphere which can lead to droughts in food bowls like those in China and the U.S. Mid-West. It is crazy that old growth trees are even cut down for toilet paper when trees from new growth plantations would surely do. It is also wrong that plantations are incorrectly called forests just to make it look to the world that there is more wild greenery than there really is. Plantations have only one type of tree and they are there because humans have planted them. A real forest has a wide variety of plants and much wildlife to make a really liveable habitat. Only a few good people who want to keep nature ever regrow a true forest when the land of a destroyed habitat has been successfully taken back from plantation owners.

I also see that the human race clears the rainforest to dig big holes in the ground to collect minerals. I ask you can you please just stop cutting down the rainforest for any reason. Just stop it!

 I have been looking at what you do and why you do it and it really is not worth it for you, for us and the whole planet.  I wish to help you learn about this problem so that from the goodness of your hearts you will stop using palm oil. It is an urgent matter as much rainforest has already been cut down in Borneo and I see that you – meaning you humans – want to cut down more rainforest in quick time until it is all gone; not only in Borneo but in Sumatra and Malaysia as well as in South America – not just the Amazon in Brazil – but in other places as well like Colombia and Ecuador – and also in Africa, West Papua and Papua New Guinea. In all these countries local and indigenous people as well as animals (I am especially thinking of the gorillas in Africa) will also lose land and suffer.


Borneo’s rainforests, wildlife and indigenous peoples have only seriously been under threat from palm oil in recent decades.


  In the past before there was palm oil people knew how to live off the land using it only for what they needed such as growing food like rice. There would be local markets for communities. It was still possible to have much rainforest. The first real hint of widespread harm to old growth trees came when rubber plantations became commonplace from the beginning of the twentieth century but in this century’s last few decades palm oil had become the biggest destroyer of rainforests. There were also many coconut tree plantations. However, although it was never good to have just one plant on one area and that many small farmers of coconut trees still needed to work their way out of poverty at least growing coconut trees did not involve the widespread destruction of rainforests which was the case with palm oil.

 The palm oil fruit was first only in West Africa and had only been in Indonesia and Malaysia for a hundred odd years. Both countries include different parts of Borneo:  Indonesian Borneo is called Kalimantan while there are the two Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. (The small oil rich kingdom of Brunei is also on Borneo and is between Sarawak and Sabah). The palm oil trees need a a tropical climate and traders from Europe and knew that land near the Earth’s equator was an ideal spot to grow palm oil trees. In the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution palm oil greased the machines and wheels of industry and so as its demand kept growing over time more land was always needed until in the modern age when supermarkets started wanting it for many of their products it became a big problem for rainforests and the orangutans; as well as for tribal people who were forced off their ancestral lands by governments to make way for palm oil plantations. They, in turn, would have to cut down some of the rainforest to grow food. Otherwise these indigenous people would also have to work on the palm oil plantations as they lost out on keeping their way of life. 

 This stealing of tribal lands is like what had happened to First Nations people in so called New World continents such as the Americas and Australia where indigenous people were forced off their lands which were often mined for minerals. It was hoped these tribal people when placed on reservations which were on worthless lands would die out. However, these tribes are still here and have stayed strong despite being treated so badly and now try to reclaim some of their lost land which they wanted to reconnect with spiritually as well as to live off again while adapting to the modern world. It was a matter of taking back community control of the land that was placed into private hands.

 In Borneo there was the same terrifying pattern: land used by the community now forsaken into private hands. The richness of the land is no longer available to many people who had only used what they needed; for it was now owned by a powerful few. The new rich owners of the land which they unfairly gained only use the land to gain more wealth – more than what they would ever need - and to leave other people as well as the land and wildlife ever poorer, destroyed or dead.

 At least there were some Dayak people trying to keep control over their own land. Yet these brave indigenous were often against powerful big business interests that would do anything to steal the land such as  take control of local government and even more sadly to sometimes also kill environmental leaders. Terribly, often no one would be arrested although the police were always ready to put in jail those protesters who would try to defend the land.  I see that many other local defenders of rainforests have been killed all over the world and especially in the Amazon and other regions of Latin America.


   What can look good to humans can look bad to orangutans


I see that when the rest of the world started to worry about how there was so much rainforest being destroyed for palm oil plantations there was on a high level to have as many palm oil growers as humanly possible get together and agree to freely lay down rules to have them stop cutting down rainforests.

It was also encouraged to have more scientific work done so palm oil trees could make more fruit so there would be less need for plantations.

 I also see how there have been many public statements made by palm oil companies stating how that they will now do all that they can to keep the rainforests and to respect wildlife. 4

In human eyes it is hoped people will only buy products that use palm oil from growers who had stopped destroying the rainforest. Other palm oil growers may then do the right thing if they see their palm oil is not being used.

  In orangutan eyes what looks like a wonderful idea on glossy brochure paper with photos of smiling palm oil workers happily going up ladders to reach shiny palm oil trees is a big lie.

  I have read too many news reports of big food companies ‘not knowing’ that some of the people in their supply lines had grown palm oil trees on land that had once been rainforest. 5

 Sadly, I can imagine how in the future there will be many palm growers who will say they are now doing the right thing by the rainforest when there was really no longer any rainforest to keep saving. At least there are some environment groups trying to catch out palm oil growers who are lying; pointing to satellite photos to clearly show where rainforest trees had been unlawfully cut down. If illegal rainforest loss could be stopped by the authorities many old growth trees would be saved. There are also some palm oil companies who try to make themselves look good by saying they will stop cutting down any rainforest when they already have all the land they need for their plantations.


   Palm oil and supermarkets


So from what I understand palm oil was first used in a local way for cooking like coconut oil but in the twentieth century the demand for it really became worldwide to have it mass-made so it can be used in biofuel as well as to be added into many supermarket items. Along with products like candles, shampoo, biscuits, noodles, cosmetics, soaps, lipstick, ice cream, chocolate, bread and crisps palm oil was also in junk food which I know are not good for humans to eat anyway. Why do you humans want to eat foods which have nothing good in them and so unhealthy? Which makes you put on weight and can even cut short your lives? I believe obesity and diabetes levels are so high now in many countries that humans from the latest generation will not live as long as those of the last one!  It is sad that many people eat sugar filled junk food because it is cheap and I feel sorry for any human who cannot buy good food. Natural food is always healthier but I know it costs more because there is more work involved in keeping it fresh for people.

Us orangutans who already live in the rainforest can just pick and eat fresh food straight away while for you humans it has to often travel a long distance before you can buy it and if there are people who cannot afford good food they are left with no other choice but to buy junk food. Sadly, indigenous people now face the same problem

after they were kicked off their lands for palm oil plantations and who used to be able to even grow their own food. Is this what you humans call civilizing the world? 6


  A need for shoppers to make a proper choice about palm oil


Shoppers need to be able to make a proper choice. There must be laws that force the food companies and supermarkets to have easy to read labels on their products. The information should be so easy to read even children could understand them so they can tell their parents not to buy anything with palm oil. I know advertisers target children as a way of getting their parents to buy things which they otherwise wouldn’t. Demand for palm oil would go down which I think is still one sure way to help save the rainforests and the animals that live in them. I am sure people would not want palm oil in anything they bought if they knew how destroying the rainforest for plantations was also bad for us. Many shoppers who care about animals are already willing to pay a little more for free range eggs so chickens do not have to spend their lives in cages.  On this matter there is also the big worry with salmon farming which has fish in cages. All living things deserve to roam free and to be in the wild.



 A smartphone palm oil app


 What I think has been good for real shopper choice is how one person has made a mobile phone app which can tell shoppers if the product they want to buy has palm oil and its type. After the barcode is scanned by this app it will give the necessary information that the item is:


(i)                 palm oil free

(ii)               has mixed palm oil which means there is good palm and bad palm oil inside it due to the food company using different palm oil growers

(iii)             has bad palm oil or the product company has not given any information about what sort of palm oil is being used

(iiii)     has good palm oil

(iv)             the item has palm oil but the maker of it had signed off to work towards stopping rainforest loss.

A shopper thus had a wide variety of information on which to make a choice. As for me I would not buy anything unless it was palm oil free as I just don’t  trust humans at all with what they call ‘good’ or ‘bad’ palm oil but at least this app gives people with different attitudes on this issue a wide variety of information to choose what best fits with their own opinions.  The app is trustworthy as the person who had made it had been warned by an unknown person she would be killed if the app went well. Someone or some company who had not used good palm oil was worried it would lose much business.

 The app was in Australia and New Zealand but at the time of writing this report it was not yet ready for worldwide use. Nevertheless, here is an example of what can be done to help rainforests and orang-utans if there is enough people power. Many palm oil and food companies must really fear people power - as shown by the threat made to the person organising this app. Humans should understand how there are palm oil companies who like those who deny climate change are always trying to sow doubt in people’s mind so as to make sure there is not a big shopping movement against palm oil.


Some efforts at stopping palm oil in England and Norway


It has been heartening to see how one supermarket chain in a faraway place called England has started to move in the right direction by now making sure its brand products will be palm oil free.7

 I believe the company owner went and saw for himself what was happening in Indonesia and decided that there could be no guarantee that the palm oil  he was getting for his products did not involve rainforest destruction. It is only a small supermarket chain but I see many people have been upset. I was surprised to read how this supermarket was being treated like a leper who nobody wanted to touch when it should be seen as a leader trying to move the human race forward to environmental sanity. 8  Yet  I  see  the  human  race  always behaves badly to anybody who wants to do anything good but may mean many humans making less money or having less power for themselves.

 At least I see the people of Norway – a place also faraway from Borneo – who when told how bad palm oil can be for the environment by local activists decided by up to sixty per cent of them to not buy anything with palm oil! I’m sure that just like the smartphone palm oil app big palm oil companies are scared of such another example of people power. Nevertheless, I wish the people of Norway would also stop their whale hunts. One can only hope. I see that people who want to keep using palm oil say if it was replaced with any other vegetable oil much more land would be needed to be cleared. Palm oil trees were very good at growing much fruit. Yet, in Borneo in a few years I am very worried there may be very little rainforest left anyway. It is more important that right now no more rainforest is cut down for anything humans want to grow. Norway has also been good by offering Indonesia up to a billion dollars if the country would stop all rainforest destruction; but sadly even though Indonesia had said it had put in place a freeze on cutting down trees still too many trees were being lost. Yet at least a very rich country was willing to help stop deforestation if countries like Indonesia and Brazil were willing to do so. Other rich countries from the first world needed to do the same to help rainforests.


 Rainforest soil preferred over empty scrubland by palm oil growers


I’ve been disappointed not enough has come of Norway’s promising offer especially when there is so much empty scrubland could be used to grow palm oil. I guess rich people know they can make more money by clearing rainforests rather than use such scrubland that even animals do not often live in. Palm oil can also often be used as an excuse to make money from the cut down old growth trees as well as to make money from the path palm oil trees that will be planted. It is a ‘win-win’ for big palm oil growers while it is a ‘lose-lose’ for the rainforest.  Rainforest soil is also very good for growing things and when trees are burnt their ash also gives life to the soil. It is cheaper than using chemicals on soil that is not as good.


 Chemical warfare on the land


Chemicals can still be used to kill weeds and if these deadly liquids run down into rivers fish then die and they can no longer be eaten by villagers who now have to also no longer drink this poisoned water or wash clothes or bathe in it.9 Vegetation can also be poisoned which is also not good for humans or wildlife. Palm oil workers who use these pesticides are often never given any protective clothing and they too can get very sick.  


 A one plant wasted world


  Palm oil tree plantations can kill in a different way by having no different types of plant life for wildlife to eat. A palm oil plantation with its one type of tree is a blandscape. Animals and even birds have to move on like the indigenous to find somewhere else to live otherwise they will die. Starving orangutans who have gone onto the plantations to try out the palm oil fruit are killed as pests with machetes or guns; including on ones that claim to be doing the right thing by orangutans. There are only a few plantations that really and honestly try to do the right thing by capturing orangutans and calling in orangutan carers to have them relocated to rainforest where they can again live in peace.


  Orangutan fightback.


  I have read how some angry orangutans once fought back and hurt a palm oil worker. Imagine if orangutans ever organised themselves  into  a  well-equipped fighting group to defeat the humans so as to save their rainforests? However, we all know that is a crazy idea…


The sad state of many palm oil workers


 I am also very angry that anybody would kill orangutans. I would not defend them at all but I also see that many palm oil workers are treated badly. Many workers still do not make much money; like slaves they have no choice as there is often no other jobs. Land that could have been used to grow food is also gone. Sadly, there are even children working in palm oil plantations. 10

Palm oil is making a lot of money but it seems to be mostly going to the palm oil owners – some of whom live in other countries like the United States; they are the only people who had any real freedom and riches. Mr A once told me about medieval times when people worked on large fields for landlords; a master-servant relationship which kept one person rich while the peasants who did the farm work stayed poor. It is important poor countries became richer so they can have living standards that are the same as those enjoyed by people in first world countries. Economies in third world countries have to make sure pay and work conditions are improving so that the new wealth being made is shared with the people working to bring it about. Millions of palm oil workers would be better off.

Bangladesh are very poorly paid and need people in rich countries to I am also aware millions of clothes workers in pay just a few more cents for each garment to help improve their lives. In China many workers in smartphone and laptop  factories  get  sick and die after working long hours like robots and with toxic chemicals. This has to stop with factory owners brought to justice and for people also to be willing to pay a little extra for their electronic gadgets which already cost hundreds of dollars so dangerous cleaning liquids can be replaced with safe ones but which cost more. Nevertheless I have also noticed how in the past few years even in first world countries the richest people are becoming richer while an increasing number of working poor are missing out on the riches of their developed countries. Thus the workers of the whole world have to make sure their governments are really working for them. More people need to have well paid full time jobs so they do not have to always worry about losing out on work. People should always count on some money coming in every week to help them to meet their basic living needs and enjoy life safely.


 All deforestation must stop now to save the few rainforests still left in Borneo


Although there are some people who do make palm oil in an eco-friendly way (no old growth trees or animals are killed as well as workers treated well) there seems to be far too few of them and I do not see much of this happening in Borneo. In the case of Borneo where so much rainforest has already been cut down in the last seventy years there needs to be a full stop to all deforestation. These old growth trees deserve to no longer live with the threat of humanity destroying them for palm oil plantations and timber logging!


 The sad state of the indigenous


As a sign of goodwill to you humans I have pointed out the difficult lives of palm oil workers as I am aware it is not just rainforests and wildlife that suffer.  I also remind everyone once again that it is also indigenous peoples who have lost their lands to be taken over by big plantations. As already stated many tribal people have had to become palm oil workers and so they too are also poorly paid and treated badly.


The sad state of the Earth


The rainforests as complete living things are better for all humanity in so many ways; for the indigenous as well as for people to visit them and for the medicines to be found by way of many plants. Yet the Earth itself suffers from the bad effects of palm oil as less trees means more climate change. With global warming comes also the drying out of the Earth’s soils which makes it harder to grow good food and more water has to be used which then it too can end up being in short supply. 11


 Small farmers of palm oil


Many small palm oil farmers are also making matters worse for the planet with their cutting down and burning of trees. There is so much smoke which can cover large areas of South East Asia. This smoky haze makes it harder not only for the planet to breathe but for all living things. While for many of us orangutans thousands are left to die in these fires.

I do not feel sorry for these small farmers who cause so much death to my species. Yet I wonder if those who are more powerful than these farmers should take the final blame for their actions. I see that if palm oil was - thankfully - no longer wanted many of these small farmers would have no way of making a living. It is a terrible position for these small farmers to be in as they only grow palm oil trees and often rely on the big palm plantations to buy their palm oil fruit. It is often only the large palm oil owners who have the mills to turn the fruit into oil.

It seems many people had moved from crowded parts of Indonesia like Java to go to Borneo to try their luck at making a good living at growing palm oil trees. Yet, they often owe money to the government or big plantations who have given them a loan to help start their palm

oil tree farming. While their trees were growing they would on the plantations as labourers. This work could be up to seven years as this is what it normally took for a palm oil tree to bear its first batch of fruit. Only when the loan is paid off can these farmers hope to make good on their hard work. Finally, these farmers have to keep relying on a high world price for palm oil to help lessen the time to pay off their debt and to live well.   




 Small farm holders could be helped by the government to buy good quality seeds to replace old trees so they too can grow more palm fruit on their land; it would be great in helping to have less of a need to clear more land. As for the small farmers who did so by using their cheap cutting and burning practice I think scientists could show them how ancient Amazonian farmers had used a special charcoal to give new life to old soil.

 ‘Biochar’ as it is called holds microbes and nutrients much better than ash. Ash only works for a short time and finally dries out the soil so nothing can then grow. More land .then has to be cleared while earth with ‘black soil’ lasts for a long time and anything planted can grow quicker; there would be much more of the crop and be even much better.

 The government can help small farmers to buy special heating stoves that could make biochar by burning some wood and animal waste.

 Along with stopping big hazes most of the rainforest would be saved as it would not be necessary to keep clearing land for new planting. Biochar also keeps carbon; while cutting and burning the rainforest to make only ash releases much carbon into the air which largely as we already know adds to global warming.


 Ecofriendly alternatives to palm oil


 Some scientists in their laboratories also looking to replace palm oil with new eco-friendly ingredients made from either algae or yeast or fungi. It can be hoped lots of research money can become available so an eco-friendly substitute made in a big way will soon become possible.

  I think hemp oil could also be a possibility worth exploring as a replacement for palm oil.

 As for algae it could also one day be used for biofuel to replace palm oil and any other crop that is now put in it. A big demand for palm oil in biofuel is another reason there is deforestation and Europeans especially want to stop using it although it is a worry they may take too long to phase it out which can still put at risk saving rainforests. Only us orangutans seem to understand how palm oil must be stopped straight away!  


China and India


 When people in China become even more mindful of the many ways modern living can destroy the environment I’m sure they too would like to see no palm oil used which would be great as China uses much palm oil.

 The Chinese already know how bad air pollution so surely over time they would feel sorry for the people and wildlife who suffer from the fires used to clear land in Indonesia. Hopefully it would lead to millions of Chinese people to have second thoughts about palm oil.

 Along with China there is also India as another big buyer of palm oil.

 India like China also suffers from air pollution and surely they would not like South East Asia to keep having its yearly big fire hazes. Already Indian farmers want a big tax on palm oil as they fear it will become too hard to make a living from selling their own crops.

 I see how some people straight away say the Chinese and Indians do not care about the environment but that is how it was also with people from western countries. I see no reason but to hope that people from anywhere in the world will care about what happens to us orangutans and our rainforests!


  While trees are not always respected in developing countries this can also sadly be the case in so called developed countries


It is a big worry that many developing countries in their rush to give their populations a better life are not seeking out a balance between people and nature which has resulted in hurting the natural world. I see how there are big dams like the Three Gorges Dam in China built to make electricity which means trees are lost and many villagers and animals are forced to go live somewhere else. China is also making a big dam on the large Indonesian island of Sumatra which will flood the habitat of a new species of orangutan 12 that was recently found by scientists. 13 I am shocked to find out how in Australia there can be laws passed to make it easier to clear land used by possums, koalas, echidnas, birds, kangaroos and other wildlife just for cattle grazing land. It is well known that having clear land for cattle grazing is another reason the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed.  It is time for humans to become vegetarians like orangutans. 14 I see national parks in the United States are under threat so mining companies can dig up the land. Not only do national parks have to stay but more are needed like never before in the whole world.  It was wonderful how in the nineteenth century people thought it was good to have parks in cities. Trees made it pleasant for humans to live in cities. Sadly,

some officials no longer think so thus beautiful street trees are cut down to make way for motorways as is happening in Sydney, Australia. 15


  The world for orangutans becoming a hellscape with nowhere to hide


 To look at a crying lonely baby orangutan who sits in the dust with dead trees lying on the ground all around this sad tiny primate. The mother has been shot dead if it had not already been killed protecting the baby as the trees fell. The baby will be taken away to be sold as a pet. Poaching as well as hunting is easier with the land cleared as orangutans have nowhere to hide.


   The cruelty of humanity on orangutans knows no bounds


  Poachers will still go inside rainforests where there are also hunters. I have read how over many years orangutans in their tens of thousands have been killed to be eaten as bushmeat. Tears always trickle down my young eyes every time I think of the many different ways humans have found to bring death and sadness to my kind.


   What indigenous have thought of orangutans in the past


  Although heavy of heart I have been curious to read how long ago indigenous people did leave orangutans alone. It was thought they were people hiding in the jungle to escape doing work or to be a slave. I have even become a little light-hearted to find out how according to local Indonesian mythology us orangutans can speak but we choose not to in case we are made by humans to work for them.


   Human evil never far from an orangutan’s mind


 Nevertheless such emotional weightlessness ends when I suddenly wonder if where rainforests have been emptied of orangutans will this now be an excuse for palm oil and timber companies to cut all these trees down?


    Borneo Ground Zero


  What I do not wonder about is that Borneo is Ground Zero for rainforest loss. 150,000 orangutans have been killed by humans in the fifteen years since 1999. A death rate that I know has even shocked humans! There may be only 70,000 orangutans left in the wilds of Borneo and Sumatra and many of these could also die. Other wild animals have also suffered badly from humans such as tigers, cloud leopards, proboscis monkeys, sun bears, rhinos and elephants.  Orangutans have moved from the endangered species list to go onto the extinction list meaning orangutans would in the near future be gone in the wild. 16 None left. Orangutans to die while humans had promised to save their rainforests! 


   The human smokescreen of false hope


 Palm oil and logging clearly has to stop but for me many human media smokescreens keep blinding people from seeing this simple truth. My wide open eyes see that the biggest smokescreen blowing across my computer screen is that soon everyone will be making palm

oil without cutting down more rainforest. 17 I can only find proof pointing the other way: I see that after many years of environmental groups working with palm oil companies to freely choose to become eco-friendly only one fifth of them have become so. Although this change is welcome it is too slow! By the time other palm oil companies do the right thing by the rainforest it may all be gone! It is expected that it is only a matter of a few years before this will happen. ‘Interestingly’, I see there are palm oil and food companies saying they will be rainforest friendly in the same amount of time. Yes, I can see how they would be ‘rainforest friendly’ when there is no more rainforest to cut down. Such humans are clever at making empty promises that make them look good while wrongly carrying on with ‘business as usual’ which they say they are not doing!

  Palm oil growers and those who use palm oil in their products know they have to look good with the environment to overcome any bad look for destroying it. For this humble orangutan it seems to serve the interests of everyone to keep up the appearance that everything is being possibly done to save the rainforests; while the interests of the orangutans who want no more rainforest loss is only sidelined. It makes me so sad. My sadness only deepens when I find out how those palm oil growers who had signed up to promise to stop destroying rainforests are found out to still be doing so. They are even given more chances to be true to their word so their palm oil can still be sold to shoppers who often have no idea that they had broken on their commitments. It seems only the very worst offenders are ever publicly outed when they cross a ‘red line’ too many times and it becomes almost impossible to keep their worst actions hidden from the public. Yet even these criminal companies can be welcomed back into the fold of good palm oil companies after only saying they had fixed up their failings. Yet some palm oil companies were so bad they did not even care what anyone else thought about them as long as business was still good.


  The appearance of doing the right thing or looking good matters more to humans than actually doing what is right and really doing what is good


  No one seems to highlight that the voluntary pick up on good palm oil practice is failing. Whatever problems there are will be fixed in ‘good time’. There is no ‘good time’ for us orangutans! I doubt so much that enough good is going on but I dearly want to be wrong! Yet I think it is a false hope that is being pushed that good palm oil made by everyone will become real. Such wishful thinking even seems to be shared by some environmental groups as they rightly fear that any good work to put a brake on deforestation will come unstuck. The gates of hell will be pushed wide open but as far as I am concerned they are wide open now only having been closed by so little that for us orangutans who are still alive we have not even noticed!

 I wish you humans stop believing or even worse – pretending – what rainforest is left is going to be saved. I certainly do not believe that most of the eighty percent of palm growers who have not yet fully committed to save the rainforest will soon change their minds to do so.


  International palm oil laws needed


 I believe to have all palm oil companies freely choose to responsibly take care of the world’s rainforests is not going to succeed in the near future. If it ever happens it may be all too late for the rainforests – if any a still left. I want nothing more than this to happen and totally support the idea of good palm oil practices which means having no deforestation yet I just do not see this happening on a wide enough scale – especially in my lifetime. If people cannot volunteer to do the right thing then humans should bring in international laws and a World Environment Court to make people to do the right thing. Strong laws to stop deforestation will also only work if there is strong enforcement of them which the world community must guarantee. I see that many countries fail too often in upholding their own environmental laws with so much illegal cutting down of trees still going on. 18 Maybe the world working together is the rainforest’s last hope. 19


  A palm oil ban still needed   


For today a palm oil ban still looks like to me the only way to save the rainforest before it is too late. 20 For what looked to be a good idea to have environment groups working with palm oil growers I now fear all it has done is to make bad palm oil growers look as if they are doing the right thing while rainforest loss had not yet stopped; especially when some environment groups keep saying there is nothing to be done but to keep working with palm oil companies as they are here to stay and everyone just had to accept this. Well, sorry to say this to you humans but it is something orangutans will never accept! 21

 Of course there are still environment groups willing to carry on the fight in their own way: with only themselves and their supporters to rely on. It has come to my attention it is often local environment groups - who have to face and see first-hand so much environmental destruction - who are less willing to co-operate with any untrustworthy foe.

  There is though one woman from overseas who has been studying us orangutans for many years and still lives in Borneo who also supports a palm oil ban. I have heard many good reports about her by other orangutans through the rainforest vine and she understands so well how much harm palm oil has done to us that she says she could not even bring herself to have a biscuit as it would make her feel too guilty thinking of how many orangutans have died due to the palm oil in it.  Like other people – some also from other countries - who do the right thing by us she has been rescuing orangutans, helping baby orphans to learn jungle skills with a rainforest school, trying to buy rainforest so it can be saved as well as raising awareness to stop the root causes of habitat loss such as to do with logging and palm oil along with always welcoming humans come and see her organisation’s work for orangutans in Borneo so they will learn more about orangutans and how to help them. Also having many people coming to visit helps bring in money to fund programs that help the orangutans and the local community is also happy and end up appreciating the national park so as to be against any threat from loggers or palm oil growers wanting to take it over. What matters most is saving orangutan habitat.  

  With only a tiny number of palm oil companies doing all the right things for the environment it is clear that the message to the world should be that palm oil must be banned with only a few exceptions. Instead the message is that only those palm oil companies with bad palm oil should be avoided suggesting that there are actually more palm oil companies than there really are making good palm oil. I have even seen a world report card by one big environmental group giving good scores too many food companies who say they use good palm oil but I cannot believe this is true because it serves its own self-interests. All this talking up of buying so called ‘good palm oil’ only weakens the case that palm oil should no longer be in anything that now has it. This should be the aim all people interested in rainforests, wildlife and human health should be working towards. 22

 Palm oil which is easy and cheap to grow and helps some humans to make much money is not even a necessary ingredient as humans can easily live without it to stay alive; orangutans, along with the rainforest, can also do without palm oil as all its use does for us is lead to our unnecessary early deaths. The ongoing publicized idea by many self-interested  palm oil supporters  that  there  is  much  ‘good palm oil’ 23 is misleading and which is to wrongly ‘civilize’ a liquid that in deadly reality involves the killing of so many living things in clearing land for planting palm oil trees (which in and of themselves there is nothing bad about them). The old growth trees which are cut down and the wildlife which dies having relied on them have surely earned their right to still be respected and to keep living.

  It is Mother Nature who truly civilizes the earth and not those greedy human beings who go out of their vandalising way only for their own gain to wreck so much of this valuable life-enhancing planet which in the end could lead to the death of us all – plants, animals, humans. To me for humans facing the real threat of losing money is the only ‘bad thing’ that will push palm oil growers to change their ways for the good of all. It has proven difficult to have palm oil growers to do so of their own free will. I have read that some palm oil companies have become willing to start caring about rainforests only when they have to start to worry that their bad palm oil may no longer be bought and this warning does not always come from shoppers but also from food companies who know how important it is for their business to be doing the right thing environmentally by their customers. To hit the wallet will help orangutans. I am sure of it. After all, all that is being asked is to make palm oil so orangutans will no longer die. That is a fair call.

 A palm oil ban is a clear message for direct action which ordinary shoppers can easily understand. Anything with palm oil can be avoided and it would be easy for people to understand that there will be a few products that could still be bought with the assurance that it really has good palm oil in it. 24


  Beware of what you wish for when it comes to being reasonable


  Co-operation between environmental groups and palm oil companies is worth trying but it has to be a clear understanding to stop doing so if it looks like palm oil companies only have a partnership  so it can   make them look good. Environmental groups have to be careful to not water down their ideals in exchange for money and support from any companies who are only generous to them for their own publicity and marketing reasons.




 I have heard about what you humans call ‘greenwashing’ which is when a company will say to the world it will do things the right way so it will not hurt the environment; as it wants to have a good image so everyone will buy its products. Yet what really happens despite such ‘environmental friendly’ claims with lots of glossy posters with beautiful trees and smiling people is to keep attention away and to cover up its bad practices that still harm rainforests, pollute the land and air, poorly pay workers and kill animals. 25


Solving the symptoms of environmental destruction can really help but it is surely always better to go after stopping the root cause of any human activity harming the planet


 Yes, it makes common sense to look at the causes of rainforest destruction and to stop them when possible. I do not like any half measures that make it look alright to still have some trees cut down – all trees deserve to be saved. However, it is also important to help make life better for those animals who still try and live where their habitats have been wrecked. Many animals need to go live somewhere else while some animals still find it possible to live in ‘habitat islands’ of still upright trees that somehow by some miracle have survived. I am very grateful to those humans who help orang-utans trapped on these green ‘islands’ – surrounded only by rows of palm oil trees - as well as to save those orang-utan babies left on their own after their mothers were killed when the land was cleared.

To make some good of a bad situation cannot be complained about when it involves moving orangutans to a safe habitat which hopefully will not also be destroyed. After all, what could be more helpful than rescuing orang-utans including baby ones? There is nothing wrong with this sort of help except when such rescues are framed as the only way to help orangutans which is to keep attention away or even cover up from the horrible reason why they have to be moved in the first place: to clear away rainforest for the ever increasing growth of palm oil tree plantations. I think it is a clever type of greenwash which you humans have put in place here. Yes, please keep on saving the orangutans but please do not make people think it is all what needs to be done to help them. The rescuing of orang-utans is only fixing a symptom of a far worse problem which is the cutting down of the rainforest which causes these orang-utans to have to be rescued. After all, as they go on cutting down the rainforests even palm oil companies can help to make themselves look good by supporting orangutan rescues. (The further orang-utans are away from the palm oil plantations the better as there will no longer be any need to worry about them eating the palm oil fruit). Yes, here is a photo of a palm oil company representative with someone from an overseas orangutan group giving a local animal hospital some medical equipment to help hurt orangutans. The doctors and nurses are all smiling and are so happy for this generous gift and yes, I am happy too that these unlucky orangutans will be made so much better. I am never happy about the reason these orang-utans are in pain which is because chainsaws have sent their beautiful world crashing down all around them. The deforestation must stop.  I suppose it can seem all too much to fight the powerful. It is hard to not give in to the palm oil companies when all seems lost; when so much rainforest has already been destroyed. When it looks as if what is left could also soon be gone. With a hell on Earth almost guaranteed maybe the best that could be done is to save a few little paradises trapped inside it. This is what I think maybe the idea behind wildlife corridors which are a way of connecting bits of habitat that have been overlooked when rainforests have been destroyed. I see get that it is possible to reforest some land in a plantation so animals can live in a larger forest and not be on their own. It is a good idea as it is important that animals are not left trapped on ‘green islands’ in a hellscape of destroyed trees or palm oil plantations which are ‘living hells’ to most animals. 26


 This false world filled with the calls of the Sirens


 As I look over all that I have looked at thus far on the deadly effects of palm oil on the orangutans I cannot help but think of ‘Mr A’ my learned advisor who once told me about the Sirens from Ancient Greek legend. They were female creatures with human faces and the bodies of birds and could sing beautifully which would bring those men sailing by their island to have their ships destroyed on rocks and thus the sailors would drown. It is such a horrible death.

  The Sirens and the danger they were to sailors was well known but still when they started to sing no one could stop the feeling of going towards them.  Only a man named Odysseus had lived after hearing the Song of the Sirens as he was tied to his ship’s mast as he listened to them and his men’s ears were plugged with wax so as to not hear the Sirens as they rowed past them. Today sirens on the island of Borneo choose to not sing about anything bad about palm oil but rather they sing from the same song sheet how all palm oil will soon be made in a good way. This way the shoppers will drop their guard and feel comfortable to keep buying supermarket items with palm oil while unknowingly to them the rainforest will still be destroyed and the orangutans will still die and while the palm oil workers still call out for better pay although their calls are drowned out by the beautiful singing of the sirens. I know this song will only end when it is too late. Then shoppers will wake up from this disarming daydream to see how it had been a living nightmare especially for orangutans. The song promises peace for Borneo and yes there will be peace when the rainforest and orangutans are gone.  Yes, it will be peaceful when the chainsaws and rifles can be put down with nothing left to cut down or kill. It will be a peace more common to death than to life. Borneo to be a graveyard for many trees and animals; all is to be still in the large one-tree-type plantations which even the twitter of birds will be harder to come by to break the deathly silence. So Mother Nature is to be stripped bare to make money. 27


Change the way people look at issues to bring on change in the world for good


Against all the odds the human doomsayers would not stop screaming out that the economies of the world would all fall down when coal was phased out and replaced with solar and wind to make energy. Yet now the world finds it hard to understand why coal is allowed to stay for so long when it is so much better for the world to use renewable energy. Much fossil fuel is still used but it is hoped that it will gradually be on the way out.

Many new jobs for people in renewables are also being made to replace so many old ones in coal and oil. Humanity may still yet stop destroying the world through climate change but if it doesn’t it is because it did not act fast enough. 28

  All this sowing of doubt - along with promoting glossy lies over what is good - is to keep people thinking one way when another way of thinking should be made way for that will have people supporting what is best for the environment and for the rights of trees, wildlife, local people, the indigenous and for the health and living of now poorly paid palm oil workers. Yes, a new way of thinking is needed. Humans know how to work and live in a new way when there is change and this would again be the case if palm oil was one day replaced.  I have learnt from ‘Mr A’ my main advisor that humans can change their minds and attitudes to overturn the way they do things. Yet it often depends on some people challenging what the majority of people believe to be ‘normal’ - when it actually isn’t so - that people will then change their minds so as to bring about social changes in society and the world which will be better for everyone. After all, for example: slavery is now seen as a social evil but for so long in human history it was seen as normal and an even much needed part of human society. It was unimaginable for many humans not to have slaves to keep the social order in a ‘civilization’. Over two hundred years ago people worked to change people’s minds over slavery when it was seen as unthinkable for whole societies to live without this human supply of captive workers seemingly serving an important social role. Yet the impossible was finally achieved when in England the slave trade was stopped in the early nineteenth century helped, as some say, by it becoming an unprofitable business. 29 To think it was once a radical idea for a human to believe that everyone should be treated equal when now it is seen as abnormal not to believe in human equality for all. 30   When it comes to the future of the planet it is now seen as right by many humans to move away from using coal and oil and to use the sun and wind for electricity; to overcome the world’s need for coal and oil was also seen as impossible as these industries were so big and powerful as the human race had such big energy needs; but like a slowly turning ship it is now possible to see humanity turn its way around to save every living thing from dying from global warming.  The same could be done with stopping new palm oil plantations happening on rainforest land. Although the need to stop rainforests from being destroyed is even more urgent as in the case of Borneo it looks like after only a few more years there may be little left. People’s minds have to be changed now that any palm oil in their products is unacceptable! 31




 It is all I can say at the end of this report that could easily go on for much longer as there is much more to look at but nevertheless I do still believe that most 32 palm oil is still made in a bad way that is unfriendly to rainforests and wildlife. I also know there are many human experts that may disagree with what I have written – especially those who side more with human interests - but I wish to only open up the debate so humans can at least gain some idea of what orangutans think about palm oil. This report is simply a ‘starting point’ and not the ‘final say’ and encourage all human readers to look at what others have to say so they can come up with their own opinions – don’t take my word or the word of anyone else as the ‘last word’. What I will say is that tens of thousands of orangutans are still suffering and dying from human demand of palm oil which they do not really need and may even harm their health in the long term. Indigenous rights to land must be respected and upheld which is one of the best ways to keep the rainforest. We orangutans see indigenous culture as far superior to any so called modern human ones and wish that humans form so called developed countries did more to support them so as to also save the environment. Indigenous peoples who have lived within rainforests can go on taking care of them and wish them to stay rather than to be forced off. A World Environment Court must also be set up to punish all those who grow palm oil illegally on rainforest land. Also for rainforests an independent international regulation body to protect them without any links to palm oil or logging companies could be set up to help resolve disputes between communities and companies as well as with environmental groups so also help to secure their long term survival.  Empty scrubland must be used for anymore palm oil plantations and maybe money grants can be given to encourage such an agricultural practice to offset money that would be gained by logging. Anything that can be done to stop the cutting down of trees must be tried. Much more research money must also go into advancing environmentally friendly ingredients that can replace palm oil and that can be used to build up businesses that can replace palm oil companies so people can even have a good job and earn a fair wage. 33 It is all empty promises that palm oil companies will be eco-rainforests. Humans must stop this very day from seeing palm oil made at the cost of rainforests and the animals that live in them as ‘unavoidable’ and ‘normal’. This destructive mindset must change! I, Lanang, on behalf of all orangutans ask that palm oil be boycotted now before it is too late!

 Thank you. Lanang. An orangutan from a rainforest in Borneo.


  Thus I, Mr. Lanang, fully support this report to the human race that will hopefully help to quickly bring an end to the making of palm oil at the cost of rainforests and orangutans as well as to other wildlife and the planet itself. Yet as this report is only really a preliminary one I urge all right thinking humans to do their own research and come to their own point of view on the issue of palm oil and its bad effect on the environment; to see if what our fabled ‘Lanang’ has written is valid so orangutans are right to say that palm oil should be banned.

 As it is rightly suggested by Lanang: each person should seek out and think for one’s self to come to understand what is true.


Thank you. ‘Mr L’.






(Please note what is in this section is Point 3 through to Point 33 as the first two footnote points have been placed in the main text of the palm oil report on the very first page. Thank You).



3. Of course we know humans and orangutans cannot speak with each other so as to have this imaginary ‘Lanang’ receive any human help I ask the sensible human reader to accept this little literary stretch of the imagination. - Mr Lanang.

4. In all honesty though I have had to ask myself if what they say is the truth. I doubt humans so much I really cannot bring myself to trust them to freely follow their own rules - especially with no one with the authority to force them - when there is still so much money to be made.

5. There are of course a handful of palm oil companies doing the right thing - I just wish ALL palm oil companies were doing so! Humans could have their palm oil and orangutans could have their rainforests! I see that not enough people are buying palm oil from the good companies. This bad situation does not really surprise me as good palm oil is not cheap as more has to be done by the palm oil grower to make it friendly for the environment. These extra costs are passed onto the person who buys this better palm oil. Unless shoppers are willing to pay a higher price for good palm oil the supermarkets will still have the cheapest palm oil so as to not lose money; while some supermarkets are  so greedy  for  money  they will have the cheapest palm oil anyway. It is important for people to support palm oil companies which will not cut down rainforest as well as treat their workers well as well as not kill orangutans who wander onto plantations but hand them over to people who will relocate them to a safe habitat. Yet there is not many of them anyway so calling for a ban on palm oil is still a good position to take while keeping a tiny number of exceptions in mind. I do feel sorry for the very few good palm oil companies who open themselves up to having their prices undercut by the many more who are selling bad palm oil.   

  Also something has to be done by governments possibly by way of financial assistance and trade agreements in giving low income people in many countries a real choice to buy cooking oils that are healthier but can be expensive. Palm oil is cheap for cooking compared to say using olive oil and if it (and corn oil) is an imported product maybe there can be some tariff relief so it can be sold cheaper. Less palm oil sold to decrease demand also decreases pressure to cut down trees. (I see that Indonesia already lifts tariffs off olive oil to help the people of Palestine as their economy needs help). People who can only afford to buy palm oil for cooking may end up risking their health if the medical studies about the bad effects of palm oil on human health prove to be very true.

  I notice that humans also complain that is hard to always know how much good palm oil is really being made as there is much mistrust over the people who check on the palm oil companies to see if they are doing the right thing. I have learnt that what humans write down on paper for anybody to check up on is not what really goes on in the real world. However, if one takes into account one of the best case scenarios that about twenty percent of palm oil growers are now avoiding cutting down trees then this means eighty per cent still are and this is still not a good result for orangutans after so many years of humans trying to have every palm oil grower to improve. Going on present projections for deforestation it still means too many orangutans will lose too much habitat in the next few years which may have them die out in the wild.

6. I see that one reason mass-made treated food is cheap is that it can be kept in tins and air-tight plastic packets. I see that even though such artificial packaging is bad for the environment it helps to make food for humans last longer. (It is strange to see pictures of bananas in plastic packets seeing they already have a natural cover!). All that matters to these supermarkets are to have more items be sold and not the thousands of seabirds and marine life who are choking to death because of micro-plastic pollution in the Earth’s oceans; also with so much overfishing there are now far less fish in the sea with so much of the the Earth’s oceans now so empty of many marine species. (It is also shocking to see on the computer large groups of fish – as well as birds - dying because of plastic. I have seen big sharks found with many plastic bags inside them. At least it was encouraging to see a man helping a turtle on the beach whose leg was and neck was caught up in bits and pieces of plastic rubbish. Yet, I have read of up to a thousand turtles in Australia dying because of plastic with many more doomed to die because of all sorts of plastic in their bodies. Yes, all supermarkets must ban plastic bags! It would be a first start to cutting down on much more plastic use by humans so much of it in different types is killing animal and marine life). All this damage to suit supermarkets that from what I understand mainly use palm oil as a cheap way to stay longer on their shelves. Supermarkets also do not seem to care about the health of their customers as I have come across many medical studies which show that too much palm oil can be bad for people’s hearts. With up to fifty percent of supermarket products with palm oil in them it now seems they need to have health warnings on the packets. I understand humans decided to replace butter and bad fats with palm oil thinking it was a healthier choice but it looks like it too needs replacing. I see there are also other medical reports that say how wonderful palm oil is but I wonder who funded them. Excuse me  for  being  suspicious  but  I  know  how cigarette  companies denied for decades that smoking did not give people lung cancer so their cigarette sales would not go down. If I was a human I would stay on the safe side and avoid palm oil. Yet I notice it is hard for shoppers to even tell which things have or not have palm oil in them especially in countries like Australia.  I also see how the U.S. government gives money mainly to farmers who produce crops such as corn, soy, cotton, wheat and rice which have led to an increased slant in the American diet away from fruit and vegetables to an unhealthy fast food diet. Subsidies have led to the rise of mega-agribusinesses. In third world countries where subsidies can be helpful for farmers there still needs to be the motivation to have farmers become more efficient and less wasteful.

7. Some people think this could be just a marketing trick but to me what seems more like a marketing trick is all those other supermarkets, food companies and palm oil growers who say they are using and making ‘good palm oil’ when  if anybody did some research into these claims there is very good cause to doubt them. I especially doubt those palm oil companies that say they are working towards making palm oil without any need for deforestation but it will still take a few more years. Why the long wait? To see that by the time they are ready there will no longer be any more rainforest? I do not trust them nor those food brands that use these palm oil companies as their suppliers then claim that they too are working towards being ‘environmentally friendly’. Yes, these palm oil companies maybe palm oil friendly in a few years but by then it may well be all too late for us orangutans, other wildlife and the rainforests

8. I have read how large companies like to encourage others to single out those who think about the world in a way that is opposite to them and to then have everyone keep away from them so people’s attitudes to the large companies will not change. These large companies want people to think that they do only good for the world  and  all  the  money  they  earn  is  a proper reward for such  goodness and already do much advertising toward this aim which is all about satisfying their own self-interests. The people who want them to stop them from what they do or change their ways - which will mean less profits - are surely bad and must not be listened too and, yes, the best way to do this is to ignore them so they stay voiceless, weak and powerless.  To say opposite voices have any good in what they say dangerously opens the door – if only a little – to the possibility that more people will listen them until it reaches the stage that they may actually threaten the way things are. Having people change their minds is the last thing big companies want people to do when it means that they will become the ones who will now be ignored. To have people lose interest in you will mean not earning any more money and that must never be allowed to happen. There are also milder voices that oppose what big companies do but they can be persuaded to come over to the dark side and these voices can be used to make the big companies look as if they are reasonable and trying to do everything possible to be fair to their customers to their workers and to the environment in the ruthless ‘human-eat-human’ world of business. Those who were idealistic ‘grow up’ under the ‘helpful guidance’ of a big company to become ‘realists’ and now work to help others along the same ‘reality check’ while somehow still thinking they are helping the world. To sound very cruel - as I am an orangutan with my loyalty only to my species first so sorry humans if I hurt your feelings - I think deep down that they are just denying reality and maybe not honest enough with themselves or too brainwashed to understand so.

9. Flowers also needed to be saved so bees when they go after a flower’s nectar can spread pollen from flower to flower so there will still be seeds to have more plants. Yet many bees have died due to pesticides killing them off. A chain reaction leading to the death of the world could happen: no flowers-no plants-no trees-no oxygen-no food-no life. Alas, I see how humans can wipe out the basic building blocks of all life on Earth. It is the smallest plants like grass on land and plankton in the sea which insects and fish eat to then be eaten by larger living things that keeps the Earth’s food webs alive. Humans with their technical skills continually rip them apart. The human species has already wiped out eighty three percent of wild mammals on Earth! There are also many other animal, bird and fish species that are being killed to extinction! Include also lemurs who now face a 95% chance of extinction and if there is not outright immediate extinction think also how one hundred one hundred million sharks are killed every year for shark fins! Human thoughtlessness kills so many animals when there really no reason or need ot do so. A polar bear at the Arctic was killed recently by a security guard on a cruise ship liner but it was the polar bear that was in its home – not these tourists! I’ve even seen a gorilla trapped in a zoo telling thoughtless human visitors not to throw food at him as it is not good for his health!

10. In Malaysia were workers from Indonesia, Burma and Bangladesh who thought they would earn good money on big plantations to find they were working very hard only to often be paid less than Malaysians. Women on palm oil plantations earn less money than men and who had gone from also growing food to be landless like the men having to now work to buy food. While men on good plantations could have job security it wasn’t so for women and some even felt like hostages when a company would say to their husbands that their wives would lose their jobs if they kept asking for better work rights.

11. I see some humans say that future wars between you humans maybe over water rather than over oil. it is all so crazy as you humans seemed to have forgotten that rainforests are the lungs of the Earth exhaling wonderful oxygen while taking into their bodies harmful carbon dioxide. With carbon trapped in trees they help to keep the Earth’s air clean helping to offset all this global warming which you rightly fear. Yet, it maybe all too little too late as melting ice, forest loss, warming oceans along with other environmental symptoms of climate change will hellishly turn the Earth into a hothouse in which nothing can be done to help the global climate improve for human, animal, marine, bird and plant life.  

12. The Tapanuli orangutan

13. In Nicaragua there is a mad government plan to build a canal right across the country to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans but which will destroy much land where both trees and indigenous people live.

14. If humans could all become vegetarians just like us orangutans they would save not only trees but also many animal lives. Humans think how 50 billion animals have to exist in factory farm conditions and then killed for you to eat. Yes, think also of a lamb, pig, turkey, rabbit, kangaroo, duck, chicken or cow kindly staring at you back in the face next time you pick up a chop in its nice clean clear plastic packaging at the supermarket. I do not think it is so nice and clean when the poor animal dies. Also bad farm practices degrade the top soil and even harm all the worms that help ecosystems to blossom. I also see there is in a Australia a large Indian company who wants to build a big coal mine that could spoil a big underground water system as well as the Great Barrier Reef. Many Australians are against it and would become even more worried if they found out this Indian company has a business partnership with a palm oil company based in Singapore which I personally do not trust to do the right thing by rainforests.  It has been found out recently to be linked to the destruction of a rainforest area twice the size of Paris. Yet there are so many other monstrous examples of such environmental vandalism by palm oil companies always turning up in the news. As an orangutan I am at a loss as to why human governments who seem to always want more money also always keep ignoring the wishes of their people who sensibly want to protect the natural world!  In India itself the poor are turning to use electricity made from solar power as it is much cheaper than trying to rely on electricity made by coal. Their health will also improve if there is far less pollution from fossil fuel energy sources. Crops in the third world are also stained by carbon pollution, including rice, so a move to renewables will make otherwise healthy food less harmful to eat. 

 15. There is also a beautiful patch of native bush in Sydney called Wolli Creek the government keeps trying to destroy for either a railway or a highway but so far the local community has been able to stop every plan. In Victoria are 800 year old sacred trees which are to be cut down for a highway but the  indigenous are protesting against especially when it is possible to have an alternative route to be put in place. Also European farming practices in Australia have harmed the environment in the past. Aboriginals always know how to work with the land. On the other side of the world in an English city called Sheffield there are thousands of long living trees being destroyed by a small minded local council. What it is doing makes no sense but it seems all this senseless felling of beautiful trees is partly about making it cheaper to take care of the footpaths. I am so happy to see many Sheffield people - including a man with a long green beard who with his guitar sings songs in the defence of nature – all trying to stop the killing of their deeply loved, still growing trees; which include those planted nearly a hundred years ago to remember soldiers who had died in World War One. Now there was a new world war against the rainforests of the whole planet.

16. Sadly, many primates including the other apes & monkeys such as gibbons on all the continents from South America, Africa & Asia that have them now face dying out because of humanity’s ongoing ruining of their environment.

17. Dear fellow human reader let us continue to amuse ourselves with the thought of an orangutan always looking at our human world by way of a computer. Although I do see that there is another Borneo orangutan on a social media platform who does by an electronic device send messages and photos to a human audience on the internet. Her name coincidentally is Krista who is no relation to the Krista in the main text. – Mr Lanang.

18. What I see now is that with environmental laws not enough proper policing goes on and it often seems the case when governments or local councils (1) get money coming into their treasuries from palm oil companies which tempts them to treat them in a soft way; or (2) when people who have ties with palm oil companies get into office so will only what is good for palm oil.

 Palm oil growers who said they were not cutting down rainforest trees but were still secretly doing so and were found out were not always readily punished by authorities and even if a court ruled against such illegal actions a palm oil company could still have another court slow down or put a stop to have to pay any fine usually be saying it was unfairly judged. The only law palm oil companies really showed any respect for was the economic law of supply and demand which affected how much money profit they would gain. Any moral law did not really count for much when it did not make good business sense. 

 19. I see how the governments of Europe are planning to ban palm oil in their biofuels (although it is feared any ban may end up being phased in over too long a time to help most rainforests). Orangutans would welcome this although the palm oil companies of Malaysia and Indonesia see this move as unfair. Yet, it has to be proven once and for all that no more deforestation is taking place. Palm oil being made at the cost of the rainforest has to be stopped. I think at the very least it is reasonable to see laws put in place that would have palm oil companies use empty grasslands which would help the rainforest while people could still make a living with palm oil. Also it would be good if palm oil companies had to make it much clearer to the public how their supply lines work to see if they can then be properly labelled as having good, workable environmental business practices. If humans do not like to be forced to do the right thing then perhaps rewards by governments can be put into place to encourage people to change their ways to do what is good. I believe that is what happens when governments try to encourage people to get solar panels so as to encourage a move away from coal power. Jobs are even made that way and those who have lost their coal job can ideally get a new job in renewable energy with governments even helping them with retraining to increase their chances of re-employment. I am not aware of all the ways of human beings but sometimes I think this idea of volunteering to do the right thing which palm oil growers started is a way for them to appear to be doing the right thing so as to keep good government from restricting their business but there is still the problem that many are not yet being responsible enough to make us orangutans happy. Also I see how some supportive governments of palm oil bring in schemes to make it easy for palm oil companies to be labelled as environmentally friendly when in reality they could be doing more to stop deforestation. They can join these schemes instead of signing up to any other official multi-national scheme that tries to be tougher in protecting rainforests yet which could also be much better at doing  so. 

 20. Like I have already said any ‘good time’ is running out for orangutans! It is said that us orangutans have been able to adapt for the last 70,000 years to human changes and this is true but it is only in th last few decades that there has been widespread industrial farming of palm oil as well as logging. There may soon be any more ‘room to move’ for us orangutans to be able to keep adapting successfully. It is time for humans to adapt and change their behaviour so as to help us orangutans! I know humans can be good as I have just seen a video of some humans form a human chain to go down the steep side of a canal to save a dog who faced being swept away by fast running water. It was so inspiring to see.

 21. YES! IF PALM OIL STAYS! IT IS US ORANGUTANS WHO WILL BE GONE! That is my message to the human world but rather I want it to be: NO! PALM OIL WILL BE GONE! WHILE ORANGUTANS WILL STAY! (When the battle lines were clear and environmentalists and palm oil companies were never partners the disagreements between them always looked straightforward; now it isn’t and what the final goal is and for who even seems up for debate as one way or another human interests go on taking their damaging toll on nature no matter what any good intentions may also be involved in this new way of ‘dialogue process’). We will never allow ourselves to have the same defeatist spirit. Didn’t those people in England once had a leader who would also not accept defeat when the whole of Europe was taken over by an evil man with his armies? The rest of his government wanted to do a deal with him while still giving in when all seemed lost so as to ‘save’ what they could of their country but he said that England would have to keep fighting as he still believed in victory. I believe he was not much of a nice person himself having supported terrible things that the English did in their own empire but on this single occasion his fighting spirit would inspire his people who had lost all hope to believe they could somehow still win. After many dark years - and with the help of other powerful countries - Europe was freed and his country was made safe which seemed impossible at the time he made the decision that no deal must be made with the enemy. Yet, I ask myself why all this talking to the enemy today? Yes, talking is good but people should keep their independence that they do not receive any money from the very enemy they wish to defeat. I don’t understand how this can be allowed to happen but it does make sense that you should stay free from the influences of those who do not really agree with you and would like you to think like them. The good or bad of every dispute now seems a lot less easy to workout with everyone now trying to be like friends with no one wanting to upset anyone else as it is feared that nothing would be settled and it will be ‘business as usual’ which would be the worst outcome for environmentalists. Yet with the smooth talking can come a loss of moral clearness and this seems to work in favour of those palm oil companies who keep on cutting down old growth trees. However, to many outsiders it looks like ‘business as usual’ anyway. Nevertheless, those humans who still call for bans are now told by such environmentalists partnering with palm oil growers ( I have read that it is mostly environmental groups based overseas and not local ones) that this would only cause more harm to the rainforest and orangutans. As far as I am concerned they may as well be saying that the human race must destroy the rainforest to save it. I believe an American officer once said something like that about a village that was wiped out by his army during the Vietnam War believing the enemy was in the village. It was better that they were killed even though the village was also destroyed. The army would move on to ‘save’ someone else while the survivors of this village would be left to pick up the pieces of their burnt down homes to start anew with no help from their liberators and with the enemy certainly returning. For us orangutans you so called ‘liberators’ of our rainforest are equally becoming our enemies! As an orangutan I have to take strong issue with those do sound like as if they are suggesting that the rainforest may have to be destroyed ‘just a little’ to save most of the whole of it. It is such strange reasoning to me and I also take a stand against those who also say that if palm oil is banned another crop will have to be planted which uses more land. To say that a bad thing must keep happening because something else that may even be worse will happen still doesn’t make it right that humans should still be doing the first bad thing. Stop doing that bad thing and then stop doing the next bad thing when it too comes along. Yet, I will say that it is true that palm oil does use less land and it is a cheaper crop which makes it so popular to those people especially who want to quickly get rich or richer from this easy cash crop.  However, by all accounts – as we orangutans already bitterly know – rainforest in Borneo goes on being cleared for palm oil. As for any other crop used it may only just quicken the total destruction of old growth trees which you humans are going to achieve anyway!

 My message to the world: NO MORE RAINFOREST MUST DIE! I am very angry and truly believe that the people who do not want palm oil banned are using fear as a weapon for their own interests. Over and over again like a chant (or mantra) it is said how other crops used to make vegetable oil are worse than palm oil. It is true much more land area is needed for other crops but one never hears that it is also true much that instead of cutting down rainforests there is much land that is not habitat that could be used instead. No, this is never said out loud by those who yell at those who politely call for banning palm oil. As things stand now amongst these ‘other crops’ is soy and it is already causing land problems in the Amazon. Most of it seems to be grown for cattle feed and so it would help the planet if human beings became vegetarians (I know I keep repeating this. I guess it is my chant!).Soy is also grown in Indonesia but it looks like it could not so easily replace palm oil. Although it could be possible to employ less people for soy it is still a crop that has to be replanted every year while a palm oil tree can last up to thirty years. There are good growing tropical types of soy now grown in the Amazon which I suppose could be planted in Indonesia but certainly palm oil is still a better vegetable oil to save on land. (Which I say as it may also turn out to be less economical to replace palm oil with any other crop so one wonders if any company would really bother to do so. As it is I am yet to come across any ‘Plan B’ by anyone who may actually be looking at the scenario of a palm oil ban. However, as I have said at the beginning of my report I am aware I can be making mistakes and overlooking certain matters by not being as thorough in my research as I would like or should be. I’m sure the critics reading this report will jump on every mistake I may have made). So yes, the palm oil growers do have a point about how much better their crop really is but if they are also so concerned about the rainforests why isn’t there a big push to use empty grasslands to plant any new palm oil trees? Thankfully, in Brazil, the government has encouraged palm oil growers to plant on degraded land but rainforest could again be under threat if palm oil demand increases. If more soy was grown by Indonesia it would most likely be because it could rely less on soybeans from other countries so as to make tofu which Indonesians very much like to eat. The United States is where soy is grown the most in the world and it is where another crop called rapeseed is used to make canola oil. Rapeseed is best grown in a mild climate like the wide plains of the North American Mid-West. It is hard for me to believe that rapeseed can grow as well as palm oil fruit in the tropics, but, of course, nothing is impossible for humans when there is money to be made. More forests in the world can be destroyed if humanity so willed it not only for other crops but also for more timber when any other choice which will help forests costs more in money terms to humans. I must never forget that making money is the first important thing that humans always want to be best at and measure all success in money terms. Yes, the Earth is truly doomed. If humans could try put the Earth first there could possibly be an ecological balance between the planet and the human race. With Borneo to always remain the main focus of this report it has to be said for us orangutans palm oil still remains the main threat to our lives but if some balance could be achieved and if humans could live with just making a little less money to plant these trees on land that we or and other animal clearly do not use then that would be a great starting point towards a better world for all. As I have said earlier this has happened in Brazil although there is still a danger to the rainforest if world demand for palm oil increases. To have that demand never rise and even stop is certainly what orangutans want.  

22. As stated there are health risks linked to palm oil especially when processed at high temperatures. Yet to try and bring some balance to this anti-palm oil point of view there are some medical reports giving mixed results suggesting palm oil could have some health benefits for the brain and heart. Yet, the bottom line remains with most articles that I have read that if a person has a choice: use other oils that guarantee the same benefits. Is better to be safe than sorry. I for one like the look of olive oil for humans. 

 23. In an opposite way I also think of the-often-used-term: ‘conflict palm oil’ which is very good to point out but sometimes I fear it could make humans think in reverse that there is also much good palm oil (or ‘sustainable palm oil’ to use a popular human term used by both environmentalists and advertising marketing people) when in fact most palm oil can be viewed as bad for the environment. Thus in orangutan eyes there is only ‘conflict palm oil’ and it is in more than just junk food.

 24. What I want is honesty from you humans as I feel that is not what I am now getting which has allowed for palm oil to keep being made in a bad way without  seriously being questioned by ever more people as  they  are  being tricked that in the end everything will be okay. I can tell you fooled humans it will not be! Yes, to be truthful is all I ask for: (i) palm oil growers must admit they have been making palm oil the wrong way (ii) palm oil growers have to really show they are happy to fix things up by letting the whole world clearly see how it will be made from now on in the right way (iii) they have to make sure there is no more environmental damage. Sorry to say but us orangutans believe that no one should still profit from their wrongdoings and palm oil bans must stay. I have seen how many people who have been keen to not use palm oil have ended up feeling confused and even defeated when they are told by so called ‘green experts’ how ‘complicated’ the palm oil issue is and their good intentions may only lead to worse unexpected harm for the planet and in the end some of these people keep buying palm oil which is seen by orangutans as the wrong action. Those ordinary people who disagree with the professionals are made to look like lonely prophets in the wilderness stating false promises of hope when in reality us orangutans feel it is the other way around. I also don’t understand how there are some environmental groups who say they support only buying items with good palm oil but angry with those people who say it is hard to find anything with good palm and so say it is alright to stop buying anything with palm oil as most of it is bad anyway. Yes,  I really do not like how humans who question the idea that there is good palm oil and still call for having a palm oil ban are so often talked down too as if they are stupid by other people who keep saying a ban on palm oil will make matters worse. Yet to us orangutans we really wonder how much worse could things get than what they are right now? It would be interesting to see what will happen from a palm oil ban. If palm oil growers still refuse to make good palm oil thus then threatening many people’s jobs then hopefully humans will surely adapt to take up new eco-friendly roles if those businesses start to fail in the same way people moved from coal jobs to renewable jobs. (Companies will see there will be no future in doing any business that involves hurting the planet). A ban on palm oil will surely lead to a downturn in bad palm oil production happening over time so humans can plan ahead and in the end they along with the planet will be better off. It is worth for the sake of all on this Earth to help kick-start a downturn in bad palm oil a try. As it is with less rainforests  there  is  now so much more carbon in the air because there are no rainforest trees to capture it that is now getting into rice thus lowering its nutritional value to the many millions of people who rely on it as their main food use. The world looks doomed if everything that can be possibly done to stop global warming is not done. I try to keep being fair to you humans even though the human world is so unfair to us and I see how that for you with so much rainforest already lost it can seem for those who try to protect it that it may seem all too much to fight the powerful. Co-operation is worth trying but it has to be a clear understanding that working together has to stop if all such a partnership is doing is make the palm oil company look good by pointing to an environmental group supporting them. Environmentalists must also make sure they are not watering down their hopes and ideas in exchange for being given money from a palm oil company to ‘help’ them. In my eyes there is no greater wrong than to lead people away from what is right by fooling them through making them believe that by following you they will be doing what is good.  I have also seen how there are environmental groups who complain about other environmental groups who spend too much of the money given to them by people on trying to run the group instead of spending it on rainforests or wildlife. Yes, money can be wasted and it must never be but I think what these complaining groups are up to is to shame groups who really care about us orang-utans. As I see how some of these complaining groups get much money from palm oil companies which helps to pay for all their running costs so they can then applaud themselves by saying how all of their donation money goes back to helping the environment. Donation money they may not even need as they are getting so much money from company people. All I can say is these well-off tricky humans want to self-promote themselves to look so much better and ‘professional’ than these sometimes poorly run amateur volunteer groups. All money should go to saving orang-utans but I would prefer it to have it from those who are humble and do not want to self-promote themselves and the palm oil companies who cause our suffering in the first place. Why can’t humans just stop thinking about themselves and all work together to help each other to get better with the only thing that really matters: to help us! I have learnt to check the accounts of all the environmental groups that have to show by law what they are doing with their money and it makes for some interesting reading.

25. I also see how there are environmental groups who also like to appear less radical and look willing to be reasonable with those who destroy the environment to come up with ‘solutions’ that keep everybody happy so they can keep their membership numbers up as it is from these people  that  they get their money. It is not popular to be radical. These environmental groups do not want to scare off people but they should be more worried about failing the environment than failing their human supporters. The solutions that they can come up with can look like pretend ones to us orangutans if we see that old growth trees are still being killed even if the environmental damage may be satisfactorily lessened to human eyes. Environmental groups should wish for the day when there is no longer any reason for them to exist and that will be the day when all human threats to the environment have been taken away; a day when environmental groups also no longer worry only about their membership numbers.

26. I see how in Australia where up to 90% of the natural environment has been wiped out since Europeans arrived and that flora and fauna always has to fit around what humans want to do to shape the land which includes intruding on animal habitats and never the other way around at least humans have wire crossings over highways as well as tunnels to help wildlife such as koalas and possums to get to the other side safely. It is good that the lives of native animals can be saved in this way. In Sumatra, wildlife corridors to connect habitats are also being put in place in a habitat area for rare orangutans which is being promoted by environmental groups and their company sponsors but I wonder how useful it will be if a hydro-electricity dam is built and the habitats are flooded. It is feared that the 800 known Tapunili orangutans will have their groups split in half which will increase their chances of dying out by being two smaller groups. I wish humans would push more for this hydro-electric dam not to be built and to have renewable energy such as solar and wind can be used as a replacement energy source. (It is worrying that bulldozers may already be operating to clear land for this dam). I would like to think that land which is not habitat could be used for a solar panel field and all the rainforest area for these rare orangutans could be saved. I also feel that there is not an equal partnership between the environmental groups and the palm oil companies that are co-operating to have wildlife corridors as I  imagine  that the palm oil growers will have the final say on what land will be set aside and I am so unhappy about how they are willing to always destroy so much rainforest anyway for their plantations that I cannot help but think that some habitat is only saved as window dressing so it can be said they do care about the environment.

27. I think there is a saying which you humans have which goes along the lines that you make a barren desert where there was once a living forest and call it peace. Think of the African Baobab trees which are said to be thousands of years old now mysteriously dying probably due to climate change. Which leads me to bring up once more – as I cannot help myself not to - the First Nations North American Indians who said humanity will only know after ‘the last tree was cut and the last fish was eaten and the last stream was poisoned’ that it cannot eat money to live. I wish to also mention how orangutans also know to respect Mother Nature: the rainforest is our ‘supermarket’, ‘home’ and ‘hospital’; we know how to find many types of food growing in the jungle; to build sleeping nests in trees from branches and leaves and to find natural medicines or make ointments from plants that can keep mosquitoes away or help soothe sore limbs.

28. I see how the big companies who want to keep coal only want to do so they can keep making lots of money. I do not think these world-wide businesses care that much for those working for them or even for the world itself. They only pretend to care about anything other than themselves so as to keep up a good publicity image for those who buy their oil or coal. They only care that people keep buying what they are selling and not the people themselves. I think this is the same with the palm oil companies who keep pretending that they care about the environment and their workers yet keep destroying the first and keep paying the second as little as possible so as to keep making as much money as they can at the smallest cost to themselves.  Profits must always go up and that is all that matters.

Talk of ‘good palm oil’ is like talk of ‘clean coal’ which fools people into thinking there is a product available that is environmentally friendly; with the palm oil companies being able to keep on as ‘business as usual’ which also means ‘destroying the environment as usual’. Yet the world has to be kept blind from seeing what is really happening and this is done by having public relations and marketing policies that allow businesses to tell ‘beautiful lies’ as if they really are truths. It is important that the lies are believed so as to avoid governments getting involved in limiting their activities due to public pressure. Governments love the money they get from companies but they also love to stay in power which means keeping people happy if a public campaign somehow actually gets to be very popular. A government has to at least be ‘appearing to be doing something’ even if its support is really with big powerful companies. At least a clever advertising campaign along with the very public ‘snake-oil-talking’ by company friendly think tanks can all put doubts into people’s minds that there is even something wrong in the first place so as to then talk of a good type of a bad product that can help to fool people that those who are against coal or palm oil are the ones who are the real alarmists and who want to destroy what is ‘good for the country’ just for their ‘crazy pie in the sky’ ideas which will make ‘no difference’ to anything but ‘hurt people bettering their lives and making money’. People need to stay ‘fair-minded and just ‘be patient’ and keep ‘having faith’ in big business and the governments which support the ‘captains of industry’ who deep down all have everyone’s interests at heart. This company publicity is aimed in trying to stop people from supporting palm oil boycotts by having people fooled into believing that if business is harmed in any way it will hurt those who work for them even though many of these people are already hurt by not being paid enough and may actually be better off if they could find better paid jobs with better work conditions if environmentally friendly alternatives to palm oil became available with a balance between having good well-paid eco-friendly jobs for people and keeping the planet healthy. It is what us orangutans want humanity to aim for as is able to do so if profit alone is not always placed first. For we know such an ideal situation is what is best and it can be a reality. Orangutans know that as we and the trees die daily and the human workers still not get more wages that only those who have ordered our deaths will gain from such disastrous business practices that cause so much suffering to give just a few so much pleasure.

  It is interesting to see how in a small country like Holland they have come up with new ways such as glass greenhouses and with special lights to grow much food that it is now only second to the United States in selling food to the world. What the Dutch do to use not much land to have much food could be adopted in countries where rainforests are under threat and which already have hot climates. You humans understand these techniques much better – for now – but the general principle of saving animal habitat and not using dangerous chemicals should be the main goal of all human businesses especially with producing food. The planet’s natural resources are not stretched especially with water with its used even being cut down by ninety per cent over the years which would make Gaiai - a blue planet - very happy. There is the aim to have no waste and better still to have no destruction of nature. I believe the Dutch can also grow micro algae in large quantities and so I see the possibility to really develop algae as a palm oil substitute. The first world can help developing countries to have the same high environmental ways which would be good for everyone. Surely humans can go on coming up with so many new exciting ways to use so much less land in countries with rainforest so the food needs of the human race could be met by also using far less land so rainforests and animal habitats no longer have to be cut down?

 One human from Iceland had shown his cleverness by inventing a drinking bottle that was made from algae.  When it was no longer filled with water it would naturally fall apart and disappear into the earth. It could replace plastic that was causing so much plastic littering the land and oceans and choking to death so many animals that had tried to eat bits of plastic thinking it was food. Surely, there would be a big demand for algae if this natural bottle took off in worldwide popularity?

 There were also roads in Holland that were being made from recycled plastic waste. These state-of-the-art roads could last three times as long as tar roads and could be reused at the end of their use to make new roads!  

 Yet with all this said I would also like to see true bioplastic being made that can really be biodegradable in people’s composts and not rely on high temperatures in industrial size furnaces to breakdown.   

 What is also interesting to read is that when human engineers were once asked to invent something that could capture carbon, keep the air clean, be good for the environment and be cheap to make and keep going their answer was: a tree!    

 29. Finally by the beginning of the twentieth century most official slavery was summarily phased out and in the last century in the United States there was a big civil war which hundreds of thousands of human lives were lost so slavery could be ended and for the United States to stay as one country. Yet, as Martin Luther King Jnr pointed out a hundred years later it is a pity that ex-Afro American slaves were not given land in the same way it was given to many new immigrants moving ever westwards to help them to have a better start in life as many stayed poor. Sadly, many black people are still seen as second class citizens as well as many migrants and refugees yet at least there are still more people willing to help change people’s views so that all people no matter their individual differences in any shape or form or where they come from are all treated equal. I see there are new laws in place in many countries that make sure everyone is seen as equals and that the human rights of all can be protected.

30. Yet, I also see with you humans there is still much modern slavery that needs to end but at least it is also seen as a bad thing. Those who are slaves are seen by society as people who need to be helped and to have their human rights upheld. So what was once so needed it would be impossible to end was now so unnecessary it was now unthinkable that it could still exist and had to be totally banned. One thinks of a quote by Bertrand Russell who once said something along the lines that we shouldn’t fear to be unusual in stating what we think as what is now thought as normal was once also seen as unusual. With palm oil workers some of them are given such low pay that their employers have been accused of treating them like slaves and so efforts were being made to improve work conditions and wages although the palm oil companies would argue their ‘business models’ were fair and good for the development of the countries they worked in.  Yet that is what the public are meant to believe if they only look at shiny photos of smiling workers and not at any human rights reports which give a very different picture and even talk of children working in palm oil plantations when they should be at school or playing. There are also such horrible working conditions in many other areas of human production and the obtaining of resources which also include child labour such as the minerals used for mobile phones as well as diamonds, tobacco, growing cocoa for chocolate. Animals must also be seen as equals as humans especially when so many suffer due to loss of habitat and the illegal pet trade; thus humanity must work towards shifting people’s attitudes so this very reasonable point-of-view is seen as not radical but as normal. Although, as an orang-utan I do find it hard to believe that humans are actually as intelligent as most animals but I too am open to personal change if I ever saw the human race as a whole stopped trashing the planet.  Also it must be remembered that if big animals die or forced out of rainforests so all does much variety in plants which is also very bad for everyone. It is also awful that animal trophy hunting is still allowed and there is no honour in killing animals simply for the pleasure of doing it. So many animals are fed up with the ways of humans and the latest animal studies show that more and more animals are changing their habits to do more at night so as to avoid most humans. I also fear that as humans become ever more intrusive on destroying animal habitats I can see us orangutans having a new boat ark whereby we will become refugees ourselves and even have other animals come with us to go onto the open sea to look for new habitats. I believe northern Queensland in Australia still has surviving rainforest that may suit orangutans.

31. I think that all those people who say that palm oil is here to stay and we just have to live with it should at least be allowing those who want change to be given every chance to see if palm oil can really be environmentally friendly through people pressure otherwise have it to finally disappear like the way of other ‘dinosaur industries’ such as those linked with fossil fuels which are being replaced by renewables which includes the growth of electric cars over petrol ones. This orangutan knows that too many orangutans have already died because of palm oil so, yes, it would be a very good idea for humans to stop buying palm oil. As for those supporting those palm oil companies saying they would like to make palm oil without destroying rainforests and were working towards such a worthwhile goal but just can’t do it straight away I am reminded of how humans also talk about how it is also a good idea to lose weight to be healthy but although have this good intention just do not seem to be able to break away from all the bad habits that keep them from doing so; I cannot see how so many palm oil companies will also be able to get away from their bad habits before it is too late for most rainforests. Most palm oil has to stop being made as soon as possible if the supply chains of palm oil companies cannot be proved to have not involved rainforest destruction. It is not a good idea to keep supporting palm oil production if there is no chance for rainforests to stay alive. I think again how environmental groups have partnered with palm oil companies to try and grow palm oil in a good way but after many years only a fifth of the palm oil companies are doing so. Although it looks like a good idea to have such a partnership between those without power who wanted to save the rainforest with those with power who want to destroy it I fear it simply has made palm oil companies look good to have environmentalists by their side when rainforest destruction has not yet stopped. What is also worse as I think about it again is how people who have the same fear as me can be strongly told by those who work with the palm oil companies - and can even get money from them - that without this partnership there is no chance for any real positive change and so it just would be ‘business as usual’. It is a ‘pyrrhic victory’ when it costs so much to have palm oil companies think of working with environmental groups when so little is really gained and still so much is still lost. It is still ‘business as usual’ for nearly up to 80% of palm oil companies. (‘Mr A’ has told me a pyrrhic victory is a term that came about when King Pyrrhus of Epirus in 290 BC in two ancient battles with the Romans he the victor lost so many men that even though it had been a win it was wondered if it was worth it when the cost had been so high it felt like a loss; he had quipped that with one more such victory his army would be ruined. If the day comes when you humans proclaim a sort of victory of achieving making good palm oil it may come at the great cost of rainforests and orangutans when so much maybe gone or extinct). It is sad for me to see so called supporters of the rainforest working with the strong even though it is often with the hope of stopping old growth tree loss. It is good to see that some destruction can be slowed down and that there can be some changes to better produce palm oil fruit so some rainforest can be saved. However, I would like the whole way palm oil companies work and even the agriculture business itself could be seriously questioned. Right now so much that is bad with palm oil is able to hide and camouflage itself behind so much greenwashing that needs to be challenged far more often by governments and ordinary people and not just by a handful of environmental groups which are usually locals ones directly affected by palm oil, logging and mining. It seems it is now assumed that palm oil is here to stay and nothing can be done about it. (This negative mindset really needs to change! Doing something is better than doing nothing! I know I could be wrong as humans are devilishly tricky with their reasoning to justify their insane actions or non-actions but I know it is best to do what is right. The next bad thing can be stopped by the next good action).This useless way of thinking goes is that it states is that the ‘best’ thing that can be done is to at least lessen the environmental damage so that one day it can be hoped there will be no more (yes, when there is no more rainforest to destroy!). It is a ‘result’ which on a good day would still need plenty of good will from the palm oil companies: I do not think they can be trusted. I have said that before and I will also say again that there have been too many who have lied up to now and so I think only much outside people pressure is still needed to keep palm oil companies in check. To me it is like a defeat to go inside the palm oil tent to accept the ‘hospitality’ given by those who have caused so much environmental destruction instead of staying outside it to keep attacking and tearing apart the tent itself. I am and all other orangutans are in no mood to to be co-operative as too many orangutans have died and not too many humans have been held accountable for all the misery, death and destruction they have caused and continue to cause.  The only ‘hospitality’ that can be counted on is that of the palm oil companies whose real power would still stay while the orangutans would be gone!  (Importantly, I also wish to also see humans help destroyed lands regrow vegetation that can one day become once more old growth tree rainforests.  It is comforting that those who are really interested in saving orangutan habitat for this long-term goal and not just to have some rainforest window dressing for palm oil plantations are hoping to restore lost rainforest land as well as buy rainforest to stop human ‘development’). If I may imagine: in a David and Goliath fight between orangutans and palm oil companies we are willing to use our intelligence to help stop those who go on willing the destruction of our habitat. Humans who share the same aim can also work towards this aim. There is for instance the case of a young Catholic priest who had a neutral position on palm oil and does not see it is as bad in itself but is now shocked after visiting the indigenous in Borneo where he was once a pastor. He has seen the rainforest destroyed; their land lost so as to be unable to farm and the water poisoned - all by palm oil plantations who have made their way onto a slice of tropical heaven aided by a corrupt administration which allowed for the land to be sold for palm oil ‘development and’ that has not even secured any proper compensation to the local Dayak community who have lost so much with their very culture and way of life – including their economic means - now under threat. He thinks other land could have been used for palm oil – an unfriendly’ substance for the local environment and does not ‘fit in’ at all yet sees how rainforest land is preferred because the soil is so readily fertile. What has also been lost to the indigenous is the biodiversity of so much tree and plant life and for the orangutans, monkeys and other wildlife that was once so plentifully abundant, they have lost their wonderful habitat. The orangutan who fought the bulldozer quickly understood it was the man operating this big machine rather than the machine itself who had to be stopped. The orangutan knew it was impossible to fight the bulldozer but it was possible to stop the person operating it. Humans can do the same. An idea can be very strong if it is allowed to spread and palm oil companies are doing all they can to stop the idea that a ban on palm oil would finally work. An idea is like a tiny germ that can bring down the biggest animal it is inside and I see how on one occasion I saw an old sci-fi film War of the Worlds which had Martians invading the Earth and which looked like nothing could stop them from taking over the world as their tripods with their death rays destroyed all the modern armies humanity used to battle against these alien invaders. Yet, finally the Martians were stopped by a germ they breathed in and which killed them which is what humanity’s modern weapons could not do. When all seemed lost, when victory seemed impossible, a miracle was still able to occur to save the Earth. There can still be a miracle to save the rainforests and the wildlife if people can come together and simply have the idea to not buy products with palm oil and to have their governments also help them by having food properly labelled. I have read from humans who will not accept the reality of a world where everything is destroyed -to make life bad for many human and animal lives so only a few humans can have a very good life - keep saying that it is important for humans to get together in mass movements to peacefully bring on change for a better world. It has happened in the past and it can happen again. It is the hope of the world, of rainforests and of us orangutans. 

 It is interesting to note that I have also come across some very good thought provoking opinions of a local Dayak environmentalist woman* in Borneo who is as well educated as environmentalists from advanced countries but who feels she is not taken as seriously as so called glamour environmentalists from rich Western countries. Yet it is certain orangutans would actually prefer to have a human who comes from and grown up from the same land as them to help take care of their interests. Especially if this person is from the Dayak or Iban indigenous peoples who have had much to do with the orangutans for thousands of years with both human and primate species sharing the same rainforests.

  It is noted by this female Dayak environmentalist that when overseas environmentalists come into local areas they should work in partnership with indigenous and the local people instead of seeing them all as part of the problem or trying to tell them what to do even though they may be doing so in a friendly way. There should be attempts by overseas environmentalists to try and learn from the tribespeople and villagers who would know so much as to how to live with the rainforest. Human beings are not always the problem, especially the local people who suffer just as much as the wildlife and trees when rich powerful outsiders come with their own human technical and agricultural ‘experts’; labour and machines to destroy the habitat to plant crops not native to the land as well as to take away the logged old growth trees to make money.

  Rainforest is not always untouched but it can stay unspoiled by respecting the indigenous people who have learnt to live with the old growth trees. Thus this local indigenous woman questions the outsider’s idea of ‘fortress conservation’ which has a rainforest like some living museum with no contact with the rest of the world when in fact there are people who live inside them and what matters is that human beings live with the rainforest’s interests also in mind. The indigenous people in the past had always shown respect to the orangutan believing they had done to actually help them in the rainforest. There are stories of how the orangutans taught humans to have their children born in a safe way. When it is found out that some Dayaks have killed orangutans it seems that they have lost their culture and are no longer really in touch with their own heritage which has always in the past respected the natural world in which they have lived. After all, it is a deadened ‘modern mind’ that does not respect the orangutan as a fellow keeper of the rainforest; who sees this wise primate as a pest or a competitor or as a trophy or as a pet or bush meat. Then again why care about the animals of the rainforest when the rainforest itself is not seen as something worth keeping…?

 Thus, unfortunately, when one’s cultural values have been infiltrated or be overtaken by so called ‘advanced modern values’ which really only seem more interested in technical ingenuity overriding nature if not outright trashing it for monetary gain; those who control nature’s energy resources do not give Mother Nature the respect she deserves leading to the Earth developing a fever that is commonly known as global warming. The world is dying with up to half of the word overtaken by human habitation which is thus hurrying on a mass extinction of many animal species. It is seen as important to educate those who hunt, who have moved away from environmentally-friendly traditional values; who have lost their cultural connection to the rainforest so as to spare both the rainforest and wildlife further loss. It is important to encourage educational conservation programmes to all, even to those who live within the rainforest who are losing sight of so many of the valuable aspects of their indigenous heritage. However, for funding those who are being asked to donate from overseas to help raise funding for such basic educational work for the environment would often prefer to give their money to those who show them photos of smiling indigenous people living in some idyllic rainforest setting as if it can all be saved without really dealing with the encroaching human impact that comes with showing evermore disrespect and care of nature that can lead to bulldozers literally shifting the ground from under the feet and roots of all people, trees and living things with nature trashed for human profit; if this sounds like some hyperbolic exaggeration think of how maybe up to 100,000 orangutans may have been lost in Borneo from 1999 to 2015 with maybe only a similar number left in the wild. It is pure genocide. It is important that conservationists from rich countries that although it is useful that they try to help save the environment in developing countries that their ‘know-all’ top-down approach can be counter-productive if they ignore the local knowledge that is available in helping to save habitat. Indigenous people know so much about the natural world in which they live and it is a shame if their understanding is not taken into account. To look at indigenous science would be so helpful and would also lead in helping local people taking a lead in both improving and preserving their environment and with such a focus on their direct engagement there will in turn also be a benefit to the wildlife in the rainforest. It has to be remembered there has in the past been a direct relationship between humans and orangutans whereby both would respect each other; to not harm each other so as to live harmoniously and peacefully together. Indigenous people need to be taken more seriously by western environmentalists and not just part ‘of the scenery’ in the natural world.  It is important to replace the top-down conservation model with a bottom-up one which in the long term will be long lasting. After all, what happens to the top-down model when some NGOs become too influenced by palm oil companies and end up betraying not only the orangutans but the indigenous people as well…?  The Iban people with their cultural idea of what is off-limits (or taboo) known as ‘pantang’ would not hunt or kill orangutans or any other living being which they have special respect for which can even include pythons. They will be practical in the way they live in the rainforest to keep the interests of animals also in mind. It can even be the case that those who want to make a living from palm oil could use land that they know will not be harmful to the lifestyle of orangutans. Thus one could imagine a patchwork of palm oil fields in a rainforest area instead of destroying whole large areas which lead to orangutans starving and dying. Human and orangutan could live side-by-side. Of course, it would be best to work on the way of life already in place but in essence the main principle to keep in mind is to work out compromise solutions that could turn out to be win-win situations in the rainforest for both humans and animals. It is said that environmentalists from western countries have idealistic notions about ‘pure rainforests’ while indigenous people who live in them can be more practical and come up with more realistic ways to preserve the natural world. It is also an issue that indigenous people need to organise themselves to fight off greater challenges from not only those who want to dispossess them of their land for big palm oil plantations but there are also big companies with logging and mining interests as well as those who see the building of dams as another pathway to modernization yet which will mean drowning precious land. Laws have been passed in Sarawak that threaten native land rights as seen by indigenous people living in longhouse communities. Indigenous people should have their land rights protected so as to keep their land and be able to mount legal challenges from those who want to take it from them. Indigenous people could actually lead the way for rainforest conservation and environmental groups from rich countries should take on board this idea which will allow the people in the forest to keep their traditional ways while taking up those elements of modern living that are not harmful to the rainforest and to the wildlife and this can include new and many different economic ways to make a living. It is a much better approach than having both indigenous and wildlife displaced and the rainforest destroyed for the land to be used and destroyed by outside business forces.  Humanity must be reminded that in the Indonesian part of Borneo known as Kalimantan that maybe up to 80% of all orangutans live outside national parks and in other areas where there is no official protection so their habitat faces being destroyed by palm oil plantation, timber logging and mining interests. The indigenous in these areas could play an important role in saving the land from such big business as well as saving the land for orangutans.

32. Note that I do not say ‘all’ as there is some palm oil made the right way – I wish it all was...

33. It is a way of also stopping moving the problem to some other habitat area of the planet which would involve using other cash crops that take up even more land and wipe out other animal species. Supermarkets could also stop having products that use bad palm oil (which is most of it _ I can’t help myself to write that…) in their products. I see there is a cosmetic company which shows how it is possible to make high quality lipstick without palm oil (and I assume all human women used lipstick quite well without palm oil in the early twentieth century). I also see how people argue that if palm oil is banned then the problem of deforestation will be moved to somewhere else as humans seem to need to use vegetable oil by using other cash crops like soy etc, but palm oil is the cheapest one to use which also uses less land and that is why it is so popular. Yet it is too popular in Borneo where I live and too much rainforest is gone because of it not that I want other animals to also lose their habitats. However, it can be argued that it would be a first step to save rainforests by simply using degraded grasslands for palm oil as that would also save wildlife habitat. It has been said up to 50% of degraded land has been used so there is still the potential to use much more. Although in Kalimantan the human demand for palm oil is so great that even after all degraded land was used to grow more palm oil trees rainforests would still face being cut down to grow even more. Other habitats for other animals like jaguars – who also live in rainforests – would not be threatened if the problem did just move to other habitats which it doesn’t have too if the planet was actually thought about first rather than just about making profits. It is not just palm oil, but human demand for diamonds, for cocoa, for cobalt etc which also leads to environmental and human abuses. Oil companies are even drilling pristine habitat areas such as in Africa thus threatening gorillas in national parks such as the one where Diane Fossey who cared for gorillas was working and murdered for doing so. I think for sure a national park in the Congo is to be drilled for oil which risks gorilla habitats. Also many brave rangers have also been killed defending the gorillas. I also see that some people think coconut oil can also be a big problem but I don’t see any reports of the planting of coconut trees destroying rainforests on the same big scale as palm oil trees but if it is the case – because I have not been good enough with the internet to find them - or if it becomes so then this environmental issue also needs to be managed to save the environment. I also read that it takes a thousand years to gain three centimetres of top soil but with modern farming practices the world’s top soil may all be gone in sixty years. Yet, when it comes to widespread environmental damage I see as I look back at human history that in the period in Europe called the Middle Ages many hundreds of thousands of trees were cut down by Europeans to make way for human living. This is also supposed to be a time when Europeans were very religious and Europeans are supposed to be good carers of the world and all the animals in it that God had made! I wonder did God ask Noah from the Old Testament to save all the animals of the world from drowning in the Great Flood just so they can all be killed later by human selfishness and greed as well as by what humans call technological and urban ‘progress’? A ‘progress’ that includes animals starving to death when concrete replaces nature and whereby the bulk of deforestation is to so make way for cattle to be fed and to have many baby lambs killed off if they will not be used to make milk.  I have  seen how ‘civilized’ you humans are to have chickens hanging in rows from conveyer belts to be killed and dropped into boiling water to get rid of the feathers so they can then be prepared to be sold in supermarkets. Sadly, I saw one chicken who was still alive trying to cling to a side barrier with its wings before being dropped into boiling water! I have even seen an orangutan mother whose rainforest habitat had been destroyed so went into a human village to look for food for her baby as they were both starving. The humans tied the mother up and beat her and threw rocks at her while her baby cried. Why do you humans do this…? Why this nastiness…? Why do you inflict all this cruelty on the animals of the world while you worship a God who says take care of the Earth and its animals? We animals think you humans are all ‘sleepwalking’ mad! Wake up humanity! Alas, humans through the ages always seem to behave like a locust plague over the world when it suits them. It is just that now there are so many billions of you now while before there were far less humans on the planet. We orangutans are certainly well outnumbered! (At least orangutans help rainforests as we pass seeds around it on our wanderings through them). I have seen humans say that half of the world’s land is used by humans already to grow food so to simply to start using unused land that is not already not habitat would be a good first step for trees and orangutans and other wildlife as the issue is not palm oil itself but that rainforests are cut down to make way for palm oil plantations. It is all about trust. We orangutans don’t care about how much palm oil you humans use but leave us and our homes alone. Palm oil companies could be held to account by legal means to their public statements that they will make palm oil in a good way without threatening the environment anymore. This would also help to keep old growth trees and the animals who live in them. Even the woman who does so much to help orangutans and does not like palm oil is willing to work with at least one palm oil company who she trusts does the right thing by the environment. It is all a matter of trust and true co-operation with everyone treated as equal partners. She has been able to secure habitat by working with the government department that works in keeping the forest as well as with local people – and I think with local villagers and farmers as well - and a palm oil company who is willing to do the right thing. When everyone shows a real interest in saving orangutans then everyone can work together to make things happen the right way. There are just too many people who are doing the wrong thing while also claiming they are doing the right thing and this terrible ‘eco-enemy’ & dishonest situation needs to stop – and right now before it is too late – so the remaining rainforests can be saved. She is always trying to buy forest and to also reforest burnt land and needs much support to save and revive habitat. There is too much illegal logging and illegal palm oil plantation going on. Stopping the illegality will help a lot to save habitat as well as putting pressure on banks and the World Bank to not give money to those choosing to cut down rainforest for their plantations whether it be legal or illegal. This harmful activity is also all so much about saving money and I think grasslands are not used as companies miss out on making money by cutting down rainforest trees that money can be made from. Also some of the big umbrella organisations who claim they work to make palm oil in a good way are often led by those members who are palm oil companies who have had bad records and the environmental groups in these organisations not being able to have enough influence. Complaints are made that anti-palm oil people are always calling for a blanket ban on palm oil as there is also ‘good palm oil’ that should not be banned. Yes, it is alright to support palm oil companies that no longer do any harm to rainforests but there only a very few of them who do this correctly so this is why a blanket ban – with only a very few exceptions – is not too off the mark. Especially when some of those palm oil companies say they are doing things the right way have shadow companies to work with to hide the palm oil they have along the supply chain to hide their wrong doings. If everyone no longer hurt the planet in the way they carried out their business then everyone - including all the earth’s species and plants - could live in peace. Humans, just do the right thing: is that too much to ask…? 



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