Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Borneo Lost More Than 100k Orangutans from 1999 to 2015 (nytimes.com)
260 points by montrose on Feb 16, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 111 comments

Its definitely sad to see in person where bordering on pristine primary rainforest are miles of palm plantations encroaching closer every day. Of course, don't forget all the problems caused by the farmers slash & burn tactics too.

Need to boycott companies and products that use palm oil! Make sure you read labels when you buy foods and choose more sustainable options.

I hate to remind everyone, but Nutella is Palm Oil with cocoa and hazlenut flavor.

Of course, Nutella works to ensure all their palm oil has some veneer of sustainability, but the fact is the more of the planet that eats it, the more palms need to be planted.

For what it's worth...

> Ferrero... reached its goal of using only palm oil that has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil... Nutella’s palm oil comes mostly from Malaysia, as well as from Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, according to reports.

> Greenpeace, the environmental advocacy group, told Quartz in a statement that it opposes a boycott of products with palm oil because “a blanket boycott of this agricultural crop will not solve problems in its production.”


Well the problem here is that the Roundtable of "Sustainable" Palm oil has HQ in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, particularly so with politicians who deal with palm oil. Sarawak (Borneo) have seen most of the huge jungle being converted to palm oil plantation because they basically had a dictator in charge for thirty years who enriched himself and his family from it. So this organisation would have very little possibility to actively make improvements due to the political conditions in Malaysia. They don't really have free and fair elections - something that people are trying to change but have been jailed for. The main opposition leader is for example in jail.

While it is better to buy from RSPO than non-RSPO sources it is far from sustainable.

Malaysian palm oil is anything but sustainable. What utter BS.

"Malaysia" includes Sarawak, which is on the same island as Borneo and home to about 8,000 orangutans who are also threatened.

> Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

ensuring there is profitability in every jar!

Just eat your nutella. Just Indonesia is 260M people, approaching the population of the US. Palm oil is the cheapest and most widely used oil in all of South East Asia. From what I'm told, Palm is very efficient and produces a lot of oil and isn't necessarily bad. The issue is corrupt governments failing to preserve their people's natural heritage as plantations encroach on nature. I doubt a few Europeans cutting down on nutella will make much of a difference when the people in SEA consume huge quantities of it themselves.

I checked out the orangutans in Sumatra and you can see the palm plantations encroaching into the jungle. Locals told me they consume a lot of the river water and makes the entire area warmer. Although the area had the fortune of being a natural reserve, I still saw trucks grabbing aggregate from parts of the river that were not included. Oh and if you were in SEA around 2 years ago, the ridiculous haze was from people burning wetlands to plant more palm. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asian_haze

so your argument is: 1) guns don't kill people, people do. 2) some other people are worse so just keep doing the bad thing

I'm also quite puzzled about your conclusion of buying palm oil while also stating many of the negative effects.

What you are saying is that there is no point of trying to improve anything because it will have little effect. With that attitude surely no changes will be made.

You are right that it's more efficient to produce palm oil compared to alternatives. But that's not really a good argument when the production is done the way it is in these corrupt countries.

> What you are saying is that there is no point of trying to improve anything because it will have little effect. With that attitude surely no changes will be made.

The implication could be that the energy spent convincing people to not eat Nutella might be better spent on other strategies for solving the problem.

I personally have no idea what the best approach is -- I just wanted to point out another plausible interpretation of the comment.

As for Catsmull, he may be coming from a problematic context but that doesn't mean he doesn't have valuable insight.

Shit... I was editing two comments at once and that last paragraph there was supposed to go in the other comment.

I was in Singapore for a week of the Haze. I was kind of amazed it was allowed to happen, but the local take (as told to me anyway) was that Indonesia was way too powerful for Singapore to force them to do anything they didn't want to do, and the corruption was such that even fighting the fires effectively wasn't something they particularly wanted to do... and forget about stopping the planters from burning recklessly in the first place.

Not sure if that's accurate but that's what local folks told me.

It's a mix of corruption, poor governance and a powerful palm oil industry in Indonesia. If the USA was next to Indonesia they would have power to influence but Singapore, despite it being a successful country, do not have much power to influence big Indonesia.

Once upon a time Nutella did not use Palm oil, HFCS, or plastic containers. It used to quickly separate in the jar, always requiring thorough stirring prior to use, much like single-ingredient peanut butter spreads.

Those days are long gone. Though I hear in europe they still get Nutella with sugar and glass jars. I'm not sure if they escape the Palm oil there as well.

I grew up eating Nutella sandwiches in the USA, at a time when you couldn't find it anywhere except specialty Italian grocers. The current product found on shelves in the USA is drastically different experientially speaking from what I was fed as a kid. It's not very good anymore IMHO.

> I'm not sure if they escape the Palm oil there as well.

No it's palm oil as well in Europe.

There is an option that is both organic and palm oil free : Nocciolata .

I have used it to replace Nutella several years ago.

It is probably a bit costlier but since I only need a pot / year, that's not really an issue.

Link? How is it better?

From what I understand gianduja nocciolato is just the generic name for a chocolate + hazelnut mixture traditionally made in Piedmont.

So this would be some kind of Nutella-like spread sold under some local/artisanal brand, made from like 80% hazelnuts + chocolate, instead of the 60% sugar + 20% palm oil + 20% hazelnuts and chocolate in Nutella. (I imagine ingredients vary somewhat from brand to brand though; check the label.)

It’s more expensive because higher hazelnut and cacao content are more expensive ingredients than sugar or palm oil. It’s also less spreadable and much less sweet.

A web search turns up e.g. http://foodloversodyssey.com/2011/07/history-chocolate-in-tu...


It is a simple google search away : http://www.nocciolatausa.com/

I bought it in Europe so it looks like it is widely available.

>How is it better?

No palm oil for one. On top of the environmental problems, it looks like it is not great for your health either, so I avoid it.

The composition in general looks more healthy than Nutella and the taste is great so I did not really overthink this.

Also account for palm oil as cattle feed. I know for a fact that my dairy farming uncle uses palm oil in feed.

Incorrect. After the oil is removed, the remaining crushed matter is sold for cattle feed, instead if being just waste.

Pretty sure my uncle mixes it in.

The USA consumes only 1.8% of the world's total palm oil production. The EU 10%. The Nutella consumption effect on orangutans is completely anecdotic. Not everything bad that happens on this planet is the responsability of the western man.

Citations needed.

Also, what %age of palm oil production is by western corporations?

It's correct that EU and US are not the biggest consumers - they do use a lot though. India and China are the main consumers. And their imports are increasing.

Not sure how accurate these stats are but here are some numbers: https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/hs92/1511/

Now so much food is a brand in a portfolio of a multi-national I don't think boycotts really work. How many tens of thousands need to join a boycott for Nestle to even notice? How many more for them to care enough to change?

Back in the days of national companies, most making just a few fairly closely related products, seems like a boycott could achieve much more.

FYI: Palm oil is, in my experience, a bigger deal for vegans - a group that has grown from 1 to 6% since 2014. https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4959853/top-trends-in-pr... So, I'd argue there are already tens of thousands of people boycotting palm products and palm using companies, and a bunch more will be arriving soon.

Even disregarding the network effect that cause beliefs held by minority larger than 10% to rapidly get adopted by the majority https://phys.org/news/2011-07-minority-scientists-ideas.html , it's only a matter of a short while before the group starts weilding actual power for social change. The rate of growth is already dominating food marketing and packaging news and research.

If you are vegan, you aim for a whole food plant based diet. Palm oil and any other refined oil or food has no important place in this diet.

Anyway, people must eat something. Replacing one crop by another does not change enough. It is time for efficient food production (indoor, GMO,...) that does not waste air, water, land, plants, insects and other animals like traditional outdoor agriculture.





> If you are vegan, you aim for a whole food plant based diet.

I know lots of vegans that eat junk. You are making things up.

I have never heard about a vegan who does not care to eat healthy. Besides I wrote "aim".

Maybe a vegan junk food based diet including large amounts of refined oils, sugar and candy is common among vegans and I do not know about it.

I know plenty. Fwiw, contrary to popular stereotypes, vegans don't tend to have that much in common other than the ethical choice they've made.

It makes for really subpar meetups and online groups, I"m sad to say. No one has all that much in common, other than food - the preferences and priorities of which, as we are discussing, vary from person to person.

Well that, and generic, somewhere-left-of-center outrage at the current administration.

Each brand within a portfolio still has a team of people for marketing, sales, etc including analysts that can surely tell if the brand is selling more or less. P&G has a huge portfolio of products but they still have people dedicated to Head & Shoulder, this isn't just bundled up all together where nobody knows what's happening with each product line.

As for how many people need to join a boycott to make it worthwhile, well this is the same argument as voting. One at at time might not seem huge but once more people know and change their habits, this does have an effect on the market. See organic food, that did start very small but there has been a slow but gradual switch in consumer behaviors.

Palm oil production is also a major detriment to elephants. It shows up subtly in a lot of processed products.

There are some responsible producers, and if you check the packaging they'll typically label it proudly.

I suppose I will now assume the tired role of the stuffy stats-waving movie villain who points out that oil palms are the most efficient oil crop by land area and if any other oil crop were used to replace the oil palm, more forests would have to be cleared. I'm sure you enjoy hearing that. E.g. a common "alternative" is coconut oil from the Phillippines, a country which has, of course, no biodiversity to preserve. Also, palm oil is interchangeable with other oils, so if consumers prefer to buy soya oil, soya will simply be swapped out of biofuels or animal feed and into consumer products while palm oil replaces it. Palm oil tastes better than soya oil, so the pigs will be happy about it, I think. Won't somebody think of the pigs?

Why not pay locals for keeping orangutans by thhe head?

Otherwise you would be telling indonesians how to use their lands, and you have zero moral standing to do so if you're from Europe or the US. Which have almost zero big fauna intact.

In Southeast Asia, palm oil is the most prevalent and economical cooking oil in use. And if you eat out, like most everyone else, you cannot avoid it unless you are very picky. Eating out in SE Asia is much more economical than cooking in both time and money largely because of the low labor costs and food culture there.

A couple of ways to solve this problem could be:

* Subsidies for alternative cooking oil and better nutrition education for SE Asia people: Palm oil is not that healthy and alternatives like soybean oil is only a bit more expensive but healthier. Keep in mind though, many streetside food stalls and small restaurants where the majority of the populations eat out will use the least expensive option available, so subsidies for alternative oils might be needed.

* International treaty and tech-based monitoring: There should be tangible short-term incentives for the populace of the countries where the rainforest resides to maintain it. Otherwise, since most of these populations are still quite poor, they will not think long-term by exploiting it gradually and sustainably or "take one for the world" to keep it pristine for global biodiversity. The grassroots incentives are needed to make sure that political parties holding power will not be punished by the voters by signing these treaties, which will affect the way some portions of the populations make their living.

With better technologies like drones and satellites, it might become possible to monitor how the governments signing these treaties keep their promises and the global community can pay out the incentives accordingly.

As for curbing corruption--it would be nice if that could be done--but it is quite unlikely to be that successful in the short- or medium-term. [1] So, incentivizing voters in these countries to reward/punish their governments, in addition to international monitoring, would be necessary.

* Anti-corruption technology for the governments: With better technology, it might be possible for top-level politicians and bureaucrats to reduce corruption at the lower level and, as a result, less invasion on some of these lands that are protected legally. International technical help for developing such technology could be impactful.


I'm all for the boycott of timber and palm oil products to end demand [1] for this destruction. But there's also the problem of the livelihoods of indigenous people [2]. But, at the same time, they are being exploited by the larger players [3].

[1] http://borneoproject.org/updates/indigenous-leader-appeals-t...

[2] https://www.borneotoday.net/discrimination-against-palm-oil-...

[3] https://theconversation.com/palm-oil-politics-impede-sustain...

That's not entirely correct IMHO. There are small farms too but in Malaysia it's pretty much just the big players. And they get their land partly from kicking out indigenous people. Sure some people of these people are employed in the industry, get some cash from the big corporations or have their own small farm - but overall this industry is toxic to these people. Resulting in enforced relocation, destroyed land used for hunting/fishing and many other issues.

Mostly it is bio-fuel in EU that uses palm-oil. But that will come to stop soon [1]

But the more general problem is total lack of respect for the environment in Malaysia and Indonesia.

[1]: https://www.reuters.com/article/malaysia-palmoil-eu/update-1...

no you just need to make fewer babies and consume less shit. boycotting companies isnt going to change anything. the planet is overpopulated and thats at the core of the problem

This stance is both correct and so incredibly unpopular it will always be downvoted.

The root of most of our large-scale problems is just that - the scale, the multiplier.

It doesn't seem like we will ever actually face this issue head-on and manage population like just another resource, scientifically, with data determining what the appropriate number of people is for a given land mass and standard of living.

Instead, our elected officials will continue doing very short-sighted (re)election-paced plans. We, as a species, will continue leveraging technology to push our numbers ever higher with little regard for the long-term consequences. Then nature, like a sudden stock market collapse, will correct this unruly mess in the form of a population collapse and suffering the world has never before seen.

This all annoys me quite a lot, because we're perfectly capable of managing the situation better and actually preventing a huge amount of long-term suffering if we just decided to face reality.

What's happening in lieu of population size management, is a steady decline of quality of life. Access to clean air and drinking water is diminishing, access to clean real food is an expensive privilege (organic produce), civil liberties are eroding (9/11!), the seas are contaminated with microplastics, housing costs are skyrocketing, infrastructure is crumbling, this list can go on. These are all symptoms of a massive multiplier being applied to much of modern-man's activities.

But let's not try to address these challenges, when we can instead argue endlessly over why there aren't more women in the engineering department.

It doesn't even stop there.

There are numerous reports of Orangutans being exploited as sex slaves in the midst of this palm plantation induced destruction of their habitats.


It's probably insignificant, but I am now very careful when purchasing any manufactured goods, stuff like peanut butter. If Palm oil is an ingredient, I'm not buying it, full stop. Not sure what else an individual can do to combat this disgusting situation.

Several years ago I started making my own peanut butter, it's suprisingly easy. Put roasted peanuts in a food processor and churn for 10 minutes. You can always add a little bit of peanut oil if it's too dry out some honey if you want it sweeter.

If you buy stuff with palm oil, make sure it's sustainable (usually on the label), otherwise send an email to the company asking where they source it. If there's enough consumer pressure applied to these companies, many will change to doing the right thing.

A store I used to go to had an area where you could get fresh ground peanut butter and almond butter straight from their grinder. Even had a bin of recycled glass containers to pour it into to.

This is one of my favorite solutions to the classic question of where food comes from and what's really in it. It came from the peanuts I just put in the grinder, and it consists of... the peanuts I just put in the grinder. Although there is some room on the end of that for salts and additives to be on the nuts.

That only begs the question, "Where did the peanuts come from?"

You see, in order to create an apple pie from scratch, we must start by creating a universe.

The only solutions is to somehow find jobs or alternatives that pay more than these destructive actions. The problem is this is simply the best option they have. We can’t save the animals without helping the humans first. Jane Goodall basically says the same thing in her lectures now.

I think it becomes a whole lot easier for the people doing this to rationalize it when surrounded by the destruction being meted out by these huge corporations buying the palm oil.

Like a case of broken windows [1]. One could argue if such wanton destruction of the Orangutan habitats wasn't occurring in the first place, then there'd be significantly less incidence of Orangutan prostitution.

The destruction is not only precipitating Orangutans destined for premature death available to the sex traffickers, it's also setting an example of total disregard for their lives on a massive scale. What harm is there in exploiting them briefly for profit before they die? (Not my position, but I can easily imagine that thought process being real for the traffickers.)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory

Broken Windows Theory is at best, hotly contested. The wikipedia article linked above covers the debate (which has been around since the theory was published in 1982, without much resolution in whether the evidence supports the theory).

There are obviously limits to the strategy for effectively preventing crime.

But I feel it's also fairly obvious that there are positive effects to demonstrating care and good hygiene in general. It promotes the same from others. To do the contrary, demonstrating carelessness and neglect, has the opposite effect.

<anecdata> This week I was hauling a trailer load of trash from a cabin I'm rehabbing out to the dump. One of my distant neighbors I hadn't met yet walked out to the street and flagged me down to introduce himself and have a chat.

In the course of the conversation, he asked where I was taking my load of trash. I replied "to the dumpsters at the community center", an appropriate place for disposal.

He indicated across the street to an abandoned, decrepit cabin, which is directly across the road from his property a sprawling ~20 acre complex. What he suggested surprised me considering the proximity to his own property. He said "You could just throw it in there, the owner doesn't care about the place."

I bit my tongue and continued on to the dumpster, with thoughts of broken windows circulating my mind. </anecdata>

I agree that it feels fairly obvious, but if it were such a strong impact on crime rates, wouldn't that be obvious in the data?

I’m not sure it’s that simple, though. There’s an inelastic demand for some of these things. For example, no matter how many other opportunities you provide lion and elephant poachers in Kenya, for every poacher you take away that will drive up the cost of a pelt or tusk, making it more lucrative once more.

It would certainly go a long way to help, though.

It helps to think of poaching vs preservation not as actions of individuals, but of communities.

In Africa, for example, tourism has become a major economic force in many rural areas, with rare animals being central to the attraction. Since those communities are as tight-knit as they are in small villages anywhere, they have both the incentives and the means to stop individuals from undermining the local economy.

>There are numerous reports of Orangutans being exploited as sex slaves


Seriously, this is crazy disgusting, how can this possibly be a thing?????? WTF???

Welcome to new kinds of HIV...

why new kind? My understanding from reading of the HIV history is that it is exactly where and how the HIV came from.

HIV came from other primates, not orangutans.

you're right, it were from chimpanzees, not orangutans.

Agree! In Canada we have organic peanut butter, this is just pure peanuts, 100%, nothing else. Also tastes delicious.

TL;DR: Poaching.

EDIT: It's not even that, people are just straight up killing these poor orangutans.

> “Worryingly, however, the largest number of orangutans were lost from areas that remained forested during the study period. This implies a large role of killing.”

> In February, Indonesian police arrested two rubber plantation workers in Borneo, accusing them of shooting an orangutan multiple times, decapitating it and then throwing its body into a river. The men claimed they were acting in self-defense, according to local media reports.

> So, in addition to protection of forests, we need to focus on addressing the underlying causes of orangutan killing. The latter requires public awareness and education, more effective law enforcement, and also more studies as to why people kill orangutans in the first place,” he said.

Source: OP

Poaching for what? It's palm oil, the delicious Lays.

It's comfortable to blame poaching because it makes westerners feel less complicit.

But that's not at all what the article states:

>“The decline in population density was most severe in areas that were deforested or transformed for industrial agriculture, as orangutans struggle to live outside forest areas,” said a lead researcher for the study, Maria Voigt of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

You conveniently cherry picked 1 quote that talks about deforestation. See 3 other quotes that blames even the mostly densely forested areas are seeing large numbers of orangutans being killed, almost all attributed to humans.

It's not quite so straightforward, the deforestation enables humans to access more of the island than they otherwise would be able to.

I was reading a great, longform article recently about deforestation in Brazil.[1] The article explained how logging is really what opens the forest up to invaders. Even when loggers selectively take a small number of trees in an attempt to keep the ecosystem intact, the logging roads they create reach deep into the jungle. These roads substantially accelerate exploitation of the jungle, including clear-cutting for farming.

This isn't obvious from satellite imagery where it would appear that the jungle is intact, but if there's a logging road nearby then you can be sure poachers, miners, and others are running around underneath the canopy.

[1] https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/amazon-rainforest...

Did you write your TL;DR before reading the article?

All three of the quotes you added aren't talking about poaching, they are talking about killing of orangutans. This could be done because they are a nuisance or locals see them rummaging through trash or what-not.

Ctrl+F in the article for "poach" - zero hits

When people say life has generally gotten better in the last several decades, this is the kind of thing I think of. Gotten better for who? Not the Orangutans.

In that vein, it's definitely gotten harder for pathogens.

When people talk about life getting better they generally mean human welfare, not wildlife welfare. Never the less, without progress in science and industry, I'm sure wildlife would be even worse off. Imagine if most people still burnt non petroleum resources for cooking and heating....

Trivia: Orang orang = people, orang utan = forest people.

There probably wouldn't be 7.4 billion people either. People burnt non petroleum resources in that part of the world for a very long time.

I'll give you that but I think it likely without advances, we'd've exhausted forests with 3bill subsistence level humans.

Subsistence level humans don't get to 3 billion. They'll get periodically wiped out by idiosyncratic events.

Depends what you mean by subsistence. I meant like the farming we had in America in the 1900s, or Rural Mexico, rural Kenya in the 70s, Russia 1920s. You can sustain a lot of people --but it requires clearcutting, and burning. Lots of inefficiency and waste.

Without progress in science and industry, there wouldn't be 7.4 billion people - those pathogens you refer to, and all that.

Given the choice between a better life for myself or Orangutans, I'm picking myself every time.

Don’t be silly, there’s no point in making absolute statements like that. Everything needs to be qualified.

If you could become an imaginary micro unit more happier but it would cost 14 orangutans their lives, does it still hold? And for people on the opposite side, if saving one orangutan was guaranteed to cost a human their life - or perhaps their eyesight or a limb - would it still be worth it?

We’re not living in a 20s silent film, there are shades of gray in this world.

>If you could become an imaginary micro unit more happier but it would cost 14 orangutans their lives, does it still hold? And for people on the opposite side, if saving one orangutan was guaranteed to cost a human their life - or perhaps their eyesight or a limb - would it still be worth it?

Neither of those situations exist.

Neither does your false premise. We do not have to choose between the well being of orangutans and the well being of people.

Actually it does. I can buy cheaper food because Palm oil and orangutans die. I'd rather pay extra and leave them alone.

I agree to an extent. I think I would happily trade my second Lambo or private jet for them, probably even a couple of cups of coffee a week.

I don't blame anyone to choosing to send their kids to school or fix their roof though.

Who exactly is making the choice about palm oil? The dude who owns the plantation? The guy who works on it? The guy running the company buying the palm oil to make Nuetella? The person buying the Nuetella?

Someone is deciding it's better to have palm oil then orangutans. It's hard to value something that you'll only ever see on a screen or in a zoo. How can you even say you'll miss it? Compare that to your second lambo. Even if you never drive it you see it in driveway every day.

No one person is making the choice, that's the problem. The decision is distributed over many people and each step is only a tiny bit "rapacious" on average (meaning some steps may even be conserving), but over all, the collective decision is to kill 100k orangutans for tastier Nütella.

Secondly, it's not about difficulty in valuing something that's hard to see; our markets do plenty of that and are very good at it. It's that there is no value placed on orangutans. Even if you get to see one every day, that may affect your personal decisions but it has no effect collectively because orangutans, like anything else that exists freely in nature such as unclaimed resources, are priced close to $0 in the markets. Only if someone "owned" all the orangutans, for example, then you can talk about value.

Indonesia had a revolution in 1998. We got a democracy as a result but also decentralization of governance. In the first and half decade of decentralization the level of corruptions simply spike (from already a high level). You see the aggressive expansion of land grabbing for palm oil.

The only way to resolve this issue is to push for better governance in Indonesia.

That's OK so long as we can plant more palm oil. </s>

I really wonder at what point we decide we've destroyed enough of the natural world. It looks like we're not going to stop at all. Which is rather depressing.

Since about 2003 or so world forest cover has been growing - not decreasing. So the answer is we've already decided.


We're still losing vast amounts of ancient tropical rainforest whilst we've started to increase temperate and mostly boreal forest (coniferous).

It's not a fair trade and of no help to the species under threat.

Nothing better than palm oil and legume-fed beef, pork, chicken and fish.

Nutella is also palm oil based.

As long as unchecked capitalism thrives, human nature will ensure the world is destroyed. This is 100% certain.

I wouldn't necessarily say this is 'human nature.'

There were plenty of civilizations whose nature was very intertwined with nature.

Perhaps more appropriate phrasing is western nature; and it was western nature that killed them all off.

Those civilizations did not grow large enough to have such impact. It was not because they were better stewards of nature out of enlightenment.

Human nature is human nature, it can happen anywhere and with anyone. If there is one thing that is uniquely associated with Western dominance though it is capitalism which unleashes the greedy part of human nature, and by competition it tends to outgrow all other ways of life (as we see now), even without the intensely aggressive way in which it proselytizes itself through violence.

The phrase human nature invokes thoughts of an unstoppable, universal force; a truism of homo sapiens. And perhaps if I was brought up within the appropriate environments, and with unparalleled amounts of power potential, I too would, in a matter most unstoppable, embody the nature we are talking about.

But a vast majority of humans are never in such a position. And a vast majority of humans suffer under the oppression of such people. Adaptability under oppression might be human nature - it is, in fact, a widely experienced piece of the larger 'human condition.'

I just do not think that the coercive nature of the few, which becomes enshrined within Western institutions, bring about absolutism to human nature.

Are these natures embodied in Western society? Yes. Are these natures the status quo of the West? Yes. Are these natures within all of us? Maybe.

Are these natures 'Human Nature?' Certainly no. How can they be when they are entirely inhumane?

Represents an urgent call to action for citizen scientists everywhere. Cataloguing of biodiversity is now possible on an historic scale.

Contribution of citizen science towards international biodiversity monitoring


The documentary footage from the original National Geographic Bornean Orangutan expedition in the early 1970s really tells the tale. Remarkable how "unstressed" they seem in their ancient lush jungle habitat. Both mothers and babies playfully cavorting with Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas!

Search for the Great Apes: Part 1 -- Orangutans


Future generations will see this as genocide.

I've never been fond of this line of argument, because (A) the concurring opinion of a future person is not a definitive source of authority, and (B) there is no way to verify or falsify such a prediction about opinions in the future.

Not saying I disagree with the overall point, and I personally would not feel comfortable murdering a fellow primate. Just saying I see this "future generations..." line of persuasive reasoning often and it usually jostles me in an unwelcome way.

Could they send some money our way so that we would do what they want? They only will if their sense of entitlement is larger than thei physical body.

I recently learned that this is yet another reason to avoid banning kratom in the US. It’s an understory crop—growers work within the existing jungle ecosystem, because clear-cutting is not just unnecessary but counterproductive. The US consumes a large fraction (~25%) of the world’s kratom, and there’s almost no local cultivation. So if we were to outlaw it, not only would we lose what I believe is a key lifeline in combating the opioid crisis, but also many growers in Southeast Asia would be forced to switch to plantation crops such as oil palm and rubber. These result in deforestation, loss of habitat for orangutans, tigers, and other species, increased risk of fire, and worsening human rights conditions.

>In February, Indonesian police arrested two rubber plantation workers in Borneo, accusing them of shooting an orangutan multiple times, decapitating it and then throwing its body into a river.

This is just fucked up. Human cruelty knows no bounds.

Disturbed individuals who eventually become serial killers, start by torturing animals before graduating to humans.

Maybe the near human appearance and mannerisms of these apes, make them an attractive target for such individuals.

I come from North Kalimantan. Palm Oil plantation is very productive. Every single part of the fruit can be used. Nothing is thrown away.

We just need to manage the expansion of the plantation properly. It's getting better now under the Jokowi administration but we shall see if he gets elected the second time.


If you are looking to do something, here is a charity that takes care of orphan apes, buys land for the species to live on and lobbies for their protection.

That amounts to ~50% of the ~2000 population :(

I hope they find them

that's a whole lot of orangutans

not sure why you're being downvoted. I agree, that is a LOT of orangutans. Too many, IMO. (disclaimer: am not an expert)

I don’t know for sure, but while the sentiment is something we probably all agree with, the comment itself seems insubstantial and obvious in a way thst isn’t compatible with HN guidelines.

Agreed. If they were humans, that would be entire towns lost.

Does anyone have recommendations for charities that protect Orangutans ?

Humans are too dumb to save themselves. I welcome robots to enforce a hard resource limit within which free enterprise can do its work. Just one overarching resource limit that still leaves a buffer for the rest of the world. And robots can shoot to kill and engage in warfare to enforce that limit.

You understand human fallibility and limitations, but somehow trust us to create perfect and impartial robots?

Where did you last see the Orangutans? Have you tried looking in the couch cushions?


Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact