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

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! The last time I wrote to the Seattle government was to commend them on their handling of the anarchists during the WTO meeting in 1999. It looks like its time to renew the acquaintance.:-)