Saving the orangutans: A call to action for sustainable consumption
Orangutans of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have been at the top of the list of endangered species for years. With only around 38,500 of them left on our planet, organisations like Orang-Utans in Not e.V. are firmly committed to saving these unique animals from extinction. Their merchandising serves as a source of funding to support these efforts.
Julia Cissewski, founder of Orang-Utans in Not e.V. and shop owner of the eponymous Spreadshop, says every encounter with orangutans is an emotional one. She describes the mother-child relationship as one of the strongest in the animal world. Unfortunately, they also encounter traumatised orangutan orphans whose mothers have been killed, and without their help, these animals would have no chance of survival in the wild.
Adult orangutans also face a daily struggle for survival, and their situation is becoming increasingly critical due to the steady decimation of rainforests for tropical timber and the demand for raw materials such as palm oil. Markus Menke, project manager of the Replace PalmOil app, states that replacing palm oil completely with other oils won’t solve the fundamental problem of overconsumption since other vegetable oils also require cultivable areas often larger than those needed for the production of palm oil.
The fate of the orangutans can only take a turn for the better if human behaviour changes. Orang-Utans in Not e.V. offers numerous opportunities to support private individuals and companies through sponsorship, membership, donations, and the purchase of merchandising products. All proceeds from their sales go entirely into reforestation, reintroduction, and education projects.
The Spreadshop brand has become an important source of funding for Orang-Utans in Not e.V. All organisational tasks, such as the production of articles, shipping, payment handling, and customer service are taken over by Spreadshop, allowing the association to fully concentrate on the protection of orangutans.
The natural habitat of orangutans is the rainforest, which is at the core of climate protection. People are becoming more aware of the dramatic consequences of deforestation, not only for great apes in need of protection but also in terms of climate change. The association’s educational events are aimed at children and young people to elucidate that large-scale deforestation of tropical rainforests for the sake of palm-oil cultivation endangers orangutans.
Julia Cissewski and Markus Menke’s common wish for the future of their association is a world in which associations like theirs are no longer necessary, as people will have learned to adapt their actions to the environment, both on a global and local scale. We all need to assume responsibility for the world that surrounds us.