Saturday, June 18, 2011

first shot in a publicity blitz for orangutans -- to Seattle city council

By Shawn Thompson

This week I sent the following letter to Seattle city council by the antique method of land mail, requesting the designation of Orangutan Appreciation Day in the municipality, which, if successful, would be the first of its kind in the United States, and an example for other municipalities. If you have a moment, could you write a letter in support to the Seattle city council, since individual letters get more attention in these days of easy, mass online petitions. Even if you are not living in Seattle, a letter of support would help. The address is: Mayor and members of council, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025 You can also use this letter as a template for making the request to your own city government, in the United States or elsewhere, except if you live in a fascist state or a dictatorship, in which case it might be best not to look radical.

June 16, 2011

Request for designation of Orangutan Appreciation Day, Feb. 12

Dear mayor and revered members of council:

I don't want to discuss the potholes and broken roads that are destroying my poor little Subaru wagon because I have something more important to ask, that Feb. 12 be designated the first annual Orangutan Appreciation Day in Seattle.

Why this? you ask. There is a pressing need for this kind of recognition because orangutans, to whose biological and evolutionary family we belong as essentially hairless primates, are being pushed to extinction by human beings, mainly through the destruction of the rain forests where they live in Borneo and Sumatra, the same rain forests which are part of the ecology which we also need to survive as a species.

We need Orangutan Appreciation Day to remember all this and to encourage us to make the changes to evolve as human beings in terms of thought, feeling and morality, in a way that will help preserve the world we need to survive. We should be thankful for orangutans and their rain forests.
Although orangutans are not native to Seattle, there are at least five orangutans living in Seattle as unlanded immigrants as guests of the Woodland Park Zoo, orangutans who help represent the need for Orangutan Appreciation Day.
Why the date Feb. 12? That is the date of birth in 1809 of Charles Darwin, the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution which liberated both apes and human beings from tyranny and superstition and made our moral evolution possible. We should be thankful for that.
Between Darwin and the research into apes of scientists, we now know enough to understand that orangutans and the other great apes -- gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos -- are thinking,  sentient beings, capable of culture and communication in a rudimentary form that is similar to what we have developed. With this knowledge comes responsibility and the obligation for ethical action.
For these reasons, I respectfully request of city council nothing more radical than a little recognition, at no cost or harm to anyone, for a forgotten member of our family at a time of great peril for them.

My mantra for this is: make the world think orangutan.

Your fellow primate

Prof. Shawn Thompson
5738 25th Ave NE, Seattle, 98105

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What do we know about the head of an Indonesian deforestation company?

logging in Indonesia


Let's face it. It is corporate heads, not companies, that destroy the habitat of orangutans, which may be a factor we should consider in the way we protest what is happening to the habitat of orangutans in Indonesia. Why not monitor the person in charge and shape our protests to directly to him as a point of personal responsibility?


Consider Tijie Goan Oei, the head of Asian Paper Products, a subsidiary of his giant Sinar Mas. APP is cited as responsible for deforestation in Indonesia and China and yet Oei was made honorary president of Peking University in 2010 after donating money to the university, ironical, for the construction of a life sciences building.


How much do we know about this man? (Here is some background at Forbes magazine.)


Why not gather information about him and make some firm but diplomatic points to him personally?


Here is the background:


"Sinar Mas Group APP" honorary president of Peking University, Dr. OEI Tjie Goan

July 8, Peking University, Chinese President Zhou Qifeng in Indonesia, "Sinar Mas Group APP" OEI Tjie Goan awarded an honorary doctorate certificate. Day, held at Peking University Graduate Graduation Ceremony and the ceremony, Chinese in Indonesia, China Chamber of Commerce executive vice president of Investment Enterprises Association, "Sinar Mas Group APP" chairman and president of OEI Tjie Goan was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. Overseas Chinese in Indonesia, China Chamber of Commerce executive vice president of Investment Enterprises Association, "Sinar Mas Group APP" chairman and president of OEI Tjie Goan on the 8th visit to his alma mater, Peking University, Peking University and was awarded an honorary doctorate. He was 42 years ago, graduated from famous universities in which the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics. 8 at the Graduation Ceremony of Peking University the ceremony, when the Peking University Zhou Qifeng as the "Sinar Mas Group APP" OEI Tjie Goan call tassels and certificates awarded an honorary doctorate of Peking University, the audience burst into enthusiastic cheers. At the ceremony, "Sinar Mas Group APP" OEI Tjie Goan do about 13-minute speech. 66, OEI Tjie Goan, reviewed 60 years of last century to return to study, then study time at Beijing University, said that "at Peking University's learning to be my most memorable experiences in life and make my way in the future continue to benefit." "Sinar Mas Group APP" OEI Tjie Goan Born in 1944 in Indonesia, when he was under the care of Premier Zhou Enlai in 1960, his father sent to China to study, in 1963 admitted to the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics, Peking University. Early 70s of last century, OEI Tjie Goan returned to Indonesia to join his father, Chung Wong created the "Sinar Mas Group APP". In his tireless efforts, the Group's pulp and paper industry in the 70s of last century from a small factory, the development of a current total assets of more than 70 billion yuan of the "Sinar Mas Group APP", and among the world's top ten paper. Young of Peking University, Shimei were, "Sinar Mas Group app" OEI Tjie Goan also raised high expectations. He said: "No matter what your aspirations set, sure to give top priority to national interests; to forge ahead, never back; to society, it can continue to learn, study and study again." "Sinar Mas Group app" OEI Tjie Goan said: "The school's history and mission to enable every person consciously Peking world as their own consciously assume the prosperity of the country and the important task of national revival. To their own choice into the country and national development needs, to our knowledge and wisdom to contribute to social development. " He hoped that the day of graduate students, no matter what sort of work, "are able to maintain a scientific attitude and enthusiasm for research, graduate students and create a unique value." In his speech, the world's third largest paper company president, but also look back with pride of their life in the "favorite things", that is "more than 2.5 billion trees planted, and adhere to the 'species of six, cut a 'principle. " Over the past 30 years, OEI Tjie Goan led "Sinar Mas Group app" in mainland China has scientific research, education, environmental protection, disease prevention, funding and other areas of the western development has contributed more than 600 million yuan. He said, "than spend money on private jets, bought sports car, more meaningful life of debauchery, more happiness." Applause, laughter. Li Haifeng, director of the State Council Qiaoban specifically for the ceremony sent a congratulatory letter, her letter said: "Sinar Mas Group app (OEI Tjie Goan) to promote the Chinese culture as its mission, Mr., Juan Juzi support of overseas Chinese education act has doubly Lingrenganpei , and Mr. Sinar Mas Group APP in its many outstanding results achieved in the area will go down in history." Posted on 28-12-2010 03:03

Monday, February 28, 2011

Jennifer Jobson takes the Red Ape Brigade challenge in Australia

From the Chicago Brookfield zoo
This is the beginning of diary items as Jennifer Jobson in  Gawler, Australia, chronicles her Red Ape Brigade attempt to have her local municipal council declare an Orangutan Appreciation Day to help raise awareness about the red apes. Anyone can join this effort in any part of the world. The more the merrier. For details, go to The Red Ape Brigade.

Feb. 28, 2010

By Jennifer Jobson

I have taken up the challenge to help raise awareness of the orangutan in Gawler, South Australia. I am writing to my local council and asking them to set aside February 12 (Charles Darwin's birthday) as Orangutan Awareness Day in Gawler. 

To me every animal on this planet is precious and deserves to live as nature intended. But to all of us we hold one species especially dear to our hearts and for me that is the orangutan. I am blown away by the fact that in this day and age there are people out there that do not know what an orangutan is or where in the world he resides, or the very real threats to his survival he faces. 

I know that many (including me) feel powerless,. We feel “what they hell can I achieve, I am only one person.” But with anything that is worthwhile it starts with one person, then two, three and so on until you have a snowball effect. 

At the moment The Red Ape Brigade is in it’s infancy. That is why I am reaching out to all of you out there, hoping to inspire you to pick up a pen and also write to your local council. Just imagine, Orangutan Awareness Day worldwide. 

So tomorrow, I will ring my local council and find out who I need to address my letter to and tomorrow night, I will be busy penning it. I promise to keep you posted on what transpires and hopefully February 12, 2012 will be a sea of orange in Gawler, South Australia.

Monday, February 21, 2011

BRAINSTORM 1: Lobby your municipality for a local Orangutan Appreciation Day

 Orangutans need publicity, but the message is not getting out.

Why not start an old-fashioned letter-writing campaign to your municipal council to have Feb. 12 (the birthday of great ape liberator and evolutionist Charles Darwin) designated in your municipality as Orangutan Appreciation Day.

It does not matter if the idea is not accepted -- although it is hard to imagine that happening because orangutans are such lovable creatures.

Remember that publicity is about publicity, getting attention and gathering support, not political action in itself.  The mere act of the request being put on a council agenda and considered helps to publicize orangutans. You might even get a write-up in the local media. Imagine the headline: "Council considers Orangutan Appreciation Day," followed by comments why the idea was not accepted. Remember that in the world of the media being rejected is also publicity. It documents attitudes and gives more to circulate and publicize. Meanwhile, just being considered by an elected body adds both publicity and credibility to the issue. If this happens often enough, in enough different places, it might create a critical mass of awareness.

Here are some suggestions:
  • Be nice in your letter. Be simple and charming and affable and don't harangue them about environmental issues. Nothing turns people off quicker than being lectured by someone who is too preachy and displays too much knowledge.
  • Be clear in the first line that you are asking for the official designation of Orangutan Appreciation Day in the municipality to raise awareness about "a fellow primate."
  • Make a brief statement that apes are "like people," that we "belong to the same family tree" and that we should "respect our extended family," and don't forget to mention that orangutans are threatened with extinction. 
  • You might also offer to bake the council a tasty batch of the palm-oil free orangutan cookies.
  • Keep the letter to just one page. Too much writing just dilutes the message. 
  • Write a letter with a local postmark, not an email. Give only a return mailing address and phone number, not an email address, so that the response on official stationery can be used later. (Wikipedia uses the same tactic to show the arrogance and lack of intelligence of its critics.)
  • Take relish in any wisecracks and derogatory statements about orangutans that you can document or record, because they make great fuel for the fire. We will quote their own words to make a point. But, if they say good things about orangutans, we can use that too.

Use a personal letter and not an e-mail or an online survey, since those methods are so easy to use these days that they do not carry the weight that they once had. Whereas someone who takes the time to write a letter, put a stamp on it, walk it to a post box if those things still exist, creates more of an impression, particularly if you can interest your more credible friends to do the same.

When you have done this and got a reaction, sent us notification so that we can post it on this website to encourage and inspire others. Keep the official documents that you receive in reply, copy them and send them to us to use for more publicity. Maybe we could even give out the Red Ape Brigade order of merit.

If we could get enough municipalities in different countries to consider this, then we could approach federal governments to declare national Orangutan Appreciation Day and eventually the United Nations. Wouldn't that be nice? Although it is too early to ask that orangutans and the great apes be allowed to have a representative at the U.N.

But the point is that thinking small is a only a way to accomplish small things. Thinking big makes a difference. A big difference.