Orangutans – extinct in the wild in 10 years? Forest appeal at Northallerton Church
On a day when FOE Netherlands launched a report on Commodity Crimes: Illicit Land grabs, Illegal Palm Oil, and endangered orangutans -Firms breaking Indonesian and interantional laws by illegal logging of forest in Indonesia, and Some of these firms are supported by British investors – e.g. HSBC has lent 78.6 million Euros to Bumitama Agri since 2010 (an Indonesian Palm Oil plantation company group)
CEL wrote the following Press release:
3 Dec 2013
Orangutans this Advent
“How are we linked to Orangutans?” and “You can do something incredible!” – Two points made on this Sunday – the first Sunday of Advent at Zion URC Church Northallerton.
On 1st December The Eco-Group at Zion United Reformed Church, Northallerton led a special Advent Service and launched their Christmas Card Appeal to raise money towards protecting the remaining Orangutan habitat in Borneo, through the work of World Land Trust.
Visiting speaker, Dr Judith Allinson, wearing a t-shirt patterned by useful fruits of the rainforest, and armed with a supermarket loaf of bread and a packet of custard-creams, told how within the next ten years orangutans will become virtually extinct in the wild at current deforestation rates unless more is done to protect and link up the remaining pockets of natural forest.
The demand for palm oil continues to accelerate, making land extremely expensive to buy, and causing remaining areas of forest to be cut down and burned to be replaced with oil palm plantations. In Borneo, 90 per cent of Sabah’s native Orangutan population has been lost in the past 100 years due to habitat destruction.
We are linked to this deforestation in the UK because 1 in 10 of our supermarket foods contain palm oil (often labelled as vegetable oil). Have a look when you next visit a supermarket. Judith demonstrated this by examining packets of custard cream biscuits and bread. Palm-oil is also used for lipstick, soap and now – biofuels.
The photograph shows the group standing beside the display for their Christmas Card appeal.. The people in the church are writing a joint church Christmas card to each other, and will donate the money they save (by not writing individual cards) to the World Land Trust’s Malaysian Borneo Fund.
The money will go towards buying land to link pockets of rainforest reserve, and paying rangers to protect the forest from illegal hunters and loggers. World Land Trust say they need to raise A million pounds.
Judith is on the committee of the national organisation “Christian Ecology Link” (CEL), (See in the picture, a recent issue of their magazine with an orangutan on the front cover.) She explained: “CEL’s project ‘100 churches‘ encourages churches to raise money to save wildlife habitat – whilst it is still here to be saved – so that future generations can enjoy the species that live there. We are looking to find 100 churches who will each raise £100 (at least) towards saving endangered wildlife habitat. We are so pleased that Zion here has joined in. It is a way of showing that ‘Care of the natural environment’ is a Christian Responsibility”. The Advent readings remind us to live honourably and walk in the light of the Lord.
Zion is the 10th church and the third URC church to take part.”
Judith was impressed by the variety of projects supported by Zion church through the year including: Tiny Time, Traidcraft, Green Group, Trade Justice Group, House groups, Malawi’s orphans, Education for children in Kenya, Christian Aid, Food Share and ‘The Way In’.
Judith concluded: “We are linked to Orangutans by the palm oil we eat in our food.. and we share 97% of their DNA. The incredible thing is that if we donate to save their wild habitat now, at least orangutans in the wild will be here in 10 years time. If we don’t ??
details of the 100 Churches Rainforest Fund Project.
In the picture: Judith’s banner lists crops/commodities that are causing deforestation threats to forests throughout the world: Palm Oil, Soya, Coltan and Cattle.
The same bread and custard creams- also contain soya as do many other foods. But of greater threat to wildlife is the amount of soya grown in South America which is exported to Britain to feed our cattle. The mobile phone illustrates that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo mining for the mineral Coltan (a mix of metals needed for our mobile phones) is destroying the habitat of the rare mountain gorillas. Judith is wearing a t-shirt illustrating fruits of the forest which are lost when Cattle Ranching removes forest.
Orang-utans – extinct in the wild in 10 years?
A FOE report in 2005 said: Both species of orangutan are in crisis and, given current rates of decline, may well become extinct in the wild within 10 years.
And that was 8 years ago!!