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Sarah CollinsWhat would you do if your home was being destroyed and you were helpless to do anything about it? How would you feel if you were taken away from your mother or worse yet, you watched your mother being slaughtered and then you were hauled off in a cage? My name is Sarah Collins and I am very concerned with the survival of orangutans and the protection of rainforests, and you should be too. Orangutans are magnificent animals that are extremely smart. In fact, they share almost 97% of the same DNA as humans. Orangutans and the Borneo and Sumatra rainforests they live in are constantly being threatened from the growth of palm oil plantations invading their homes. As kids, we need to take a stand and help or some scientists think fragmented populations will go extinct in 2011, three years from now. Orangutans can’t speak for themselves, so it’s up to us to use our voices for them. They are living creatures and every creature deserves a fair shot to live.  

Rainforest conservation and helping the orangutans go hand in hand. Every time a tree is cut down, carbon is released into the air. Being in the middle of global warming, this is not good for the earth. Our atmosphere already contains too much carbon gas which traps the sun’s heat. This heat is melting the world glaciers, increasing the world-wide temperature, harming many species, and causing many natural disasters to occur. If we don’t help conserve rainforests, they will continue to lead to global warming and eventually, will make earth an unsuitable place to live. No one would be able to survive, so we must make sure we are doing everything we can to help. It may not happen in our lifetimes, but we want future generations to continue and we want them to experience the same landscapes we see today. We have to undo the problem our world has created for itself.

Wow, those are incredible problems. You’re probably wondering, can I do anything to help with these issues? The answer luckily is YES! Palm oil is ok to eat, as long as it comes from a sustainable palm oil plantation. Sustainable palm oil means that the plantation is using the same land that they already have destroyed and aren’t cutting down more rainforests to grow more oil palms. To find if a product is made from sustainable palm oil, you can look it up online. If you find the product is made from unsustainable palm oil, you can write a letter to the company stating that you care for the orangutans’ and Indonesian rainforests’ survivals and you would like that company to consider getting their palm oil from a plantation that uses sustainable palm oil. You can also tell the company to tell the plantation for palm oil they’re using that they won’t use their palm oil unless they make it sustainable. Another way to help is to contact the Indonesian and Malaysian Consulates in your local city by looking up their emails online and telling them how you feel, politely, about the orangutan and rainforest situation. You can spread awareness. Tell all the people you think would care about the orangutans’ and rainforest’s situation and what will happen if we don’t help. If one person helped and told another person that started helping and they told another person and it kept going, imagine how many people could be helping the cause!

I strongly urge you to do something about the orangutans and rainforests. One person can make a difference and being kids, we are the future and we must act now. You will feel very satisfied knowing you are helping to save a species, a natural habitat, and virtually our planet from overheating. I know this feeling because I am selling bags with my club logo, CLUB O.R.A.N.G.E. (Orangutans and Rainforests Are Necessary and Great for Earth) and giving the money to OUREI for various causes to do with orangutans. I am also trying to spread awareness in my community and hopefully, around America and the world. In just a couple months, I have already raised over $1,700. Also, so many people that I talked to had no idea that the orangutans were in so much trouble. It is our duty to spread awareness. I recently went to the California Academy of Sciences Museum in San Francisco, where they had a makeshift rainforest that you walk through. They cited Borneo and orangutans and the rainforest danger. It made me feel so happy knowing I was doing something to help those beautiful creatures as well as helping with reducing global warming.

Sarah Collins - November 22, 2008


Note: Thirteen year old Sarah Collins wanted to do something special for her Bat Mitzvah, a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony for girls. For her Bat Mitzvah, she chose helping raise awareness and funds for orangutans and rain forest by helping OUREI. OUREI also asked her to write this article about orangutans, their plight and what kids can do from a kid’s perspective. If you are interested in joining CLUB O.R.A.N.G.E., please contact Sarah through OUREI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.