Killing Our Cousins | Teen Ink

Killing Our Cousins

June 19, 2011
By WishfulDoer GOLD, Portland, Oregon
WishfulDoer GOLD, Portland, Oregon
14 articles 0 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
If ignorance is bliss, why is our country so complicated?

Between 2003 and 2006, deforestation in Indonesia reached 1.7 million hectares a year. To put that into perspective, one hectare is the size of 10,000 square meters. With that in mind, imagine 10,000 square meters multiplied by one million, and you’ve got a lot of dead trees. The destruction of rainforests was due to the increasing demand for palm oil, which, coincidentally, grew exceedingly well in places with climates similar to those of Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaysia. One of the more popular methods of clearing the forest is fire. Forest fires, as uncontrollable as they may seem, are capable of clearing large spaces of land idea for planting oil palms. Deforestation and destruction of habitat is partly due to a corrupt economic and political system that considers natural resources as a resource to be exploited for personal and political gain. In short, it owes its thanks to human greed.

In Borneo, the wild population of 300,000 Orangutans that inhabited its forest in 1990 now resides at only 45,000. In Sumatra, only 7,300 Orangutans live in the wild. At this rate, Orangutans can be expected to go extinct in the next 10 to 15 years. They aren’t like rabbits; if you put two together, the next morning there won’t be fifty baby Orangutans hopping around. One Orangutan gives birth once every 6 to 10 years, the longest inter-birth interval of any mammal. Because of the slow reproductive rate, when you kill 100 Orangutans, it could take decades before they would be able to repopulate. When a farmer sets a tree or two on fire with the hope of clearing land for their up-and-coming oil palm plantation, it’s bound to spread fast. The minute it reaches those Orangutans it’s already too late. Because they’re tree-bound creatures, running isn’t really an option. Hundreds of thousands of lives have fallen to the flames of careless forest fires. When a lone Orangutan stumbles upon a plantation, it’s shot on the spot because it’s seen as a pest. It’s cruel and unjust, and needs to be stopped.

I can’t tell you what to and what not to buy. I can’t force you to quit eating delicious girl-scout cookies or make you join Greenpeace. My job is to make you aware of what happens every time you go to the checkout counter with your cosmetics and peanut butter in the basket. It’s not a pretty situation, and it isn’t an easy thing to fight. But if we don’t fight it, we could not only destroy the remnants of one of our closest relatives, but we could lose the very lungs of our planet. Over the course of humanity, we’ve lost a number of species because of our need for sheltered lifestyles. Orangutans don’t deserve to die because of our greed, and if we wipe out the trees we’re just killing ourselves off. So please, exercise some abstinence when you encounter a girl-scouts’ stand. Maybe you’ll drop a size or two.

The author's comments:
I'm extremely passionate about this subject. This is an excerpt of a paper I wrote for my L.A. class.

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This article has 7 comments.

on Aug. 1 2011 at 7:09 pm
BrightBurningCampeador PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
42 articles 11 photos 333 comments
A powerful peice. I agree entirely with the whole thing, though I noticed that you didn't mention the other animals who live (or lived) in those forests.

Shayna121 GOLD said...
on Jul. 20 2011 at 3:34 pm
Shayna121 GOLD, Port Charlotte, Florida
12 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

"A resource to be exploited for personal and political gain" I liked how you brought this point to attention. The word is so corrupt nowadays and I loved your paper. It makes me passionate about this topic, which is a good thing. :)

julian GOLD said...
on Jul. 18 2011 at 6:12 pm
julian GOLD, Eugene, Oregon
17 articles 17 photos 223 comments

Favorite Quote:
The goal is not about living forever, the goal is about creating something that can.

I love the way that you interlace statistics with your personal opinion. And your piece is on a topic that definitely needs some attention in world matters. Great job! It flowed wonderfully!

on Jul. 17 2011 at 12:13 pm
WritingSpasms, Los Angeles, California
0 articles 0 photos 121 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Devils run when a good man goes to war."
- River Song from Doctor Who (Ep. A Good Man Goes to War)

I can see how passionate you are about this! Everything flowed together perfectly. I honestly don't see anything I could point out, and I hope you get an A on your paper. :)

on Jul. 17 2011 at 10:10 am
littlelilith SILVER, Dallas, Texas
5 articles 1 photo 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your perspective may very well be the determining factor in whether you pass the test."

This was a really good article. I didn't know the reason for the decrease in the orangutan population, but now I do, and I will try to help in as many ways as I can. Thank you. 

on Jul. 16 2011 at 9:54 pm
IAmWhoIWantToBe PLATINUM, Manila, Other
41 articles 0 photos 650 comments

Favorite Quote:
‎"I’m learning how to drown out the constant noise that is such an inseparable part of my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world: I run my world." - Beyoncé

I like how you refer to the Orangutans as our cousins. I as well like how you cite instances to prove your point. I agree with what you said and sometimes, I wonder what kind of animals human beings are when they kill the nature.

on Jul. 15 2011 at 10:03 pm
Garnet77 PLATINUM, Sinagpore, Other
31 articles 6 photos 577 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything's a triangle." ~ My mother

"Write what you love, write what you care about, because sometimes, it's the easiest way to be heard."

I can see how passinate you are about this!!! So what did you get on the paper, an A??? :) Anyway, you did a great job making the piece flow; you had the right amount of examples, and you weaved everything together nicely, I thought. Great work! :)