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Dame Emma Thompson leads charge against rainforest destruction

Dame Emma Thompson, backed by a host of other famous names, has taken aim at big brands including Unilever, Nestle and Mondelez today, as Greenpeace releases a powerful new 90-second animation that highlights how orangutans are being pushed to the brink of extinction because of deforestation for palm oil.

Rang-tan


Launched globally today, just ahead of International Orangutan Day (on August 19), the film, voiced by Emma Thompson, will also be shown across UK cinemas with thousands of screenings throughout August and September. It has been made by creative agency Mother (directed by award-winning Salon Alpin) and produced by Oscar-winning Passion Animation Studios.

Celebrities taking to social media to share it include Stephen Fry, Bryan Adams, Jodie Kidd, Alesha Dixon, Andy Serkis, Geri Horner (née Halliwell), Gregg Wallace and Sharon Osbourne.

The film tells the story of baby Rang-tan as she causes mischief in a little girl’s bedroom. Just as the girl is about to banish her, she asks Rang-tan what brought her there. Rang-tan’s memories are harrowing. They show her forest home destroyed, trees burning, huge machines hacking others to the ground and her mother lying injured.

Palm oil is used in almost half the products we buy in UK supermarkets and demand is increasing at an alarming rate. Ending their part in deforestation for palm oil was a promise that Unilever, Nestle and Mondelez, along with many other brands made a decade ago, with 2020 their deadline. On International Orangutan Day they will have just 500 days to go and they are way off target. The film marks the start of Greenpeace’s campaign to ramp up pressure on brands to keep their promise and end destruction of the rainforests.

When Greenpeace asked me to narrate Rang-tan, I didn’t hesitate. For too long big brands have been getting away with murder. And for too long our response to orangutans has been ‘ohhh, poor thing’ as we’re shown photographs of them orphaned and at death’s door. But change is possible – we can make it so.

Orangutans spend 95% of their lives in the trees, but right now, Indonesia’s forests – the lungs of the planet – are disappearing at the rate of one football pitch every 25 seconds. Bornean orangutan numbers more than halved between 1999 and 2015 with the loss of approximately 150,000 individuals – that’s more than 25 a day. If we don’t act now to stop brands buying dirty palm oil, more habitats will be ruined, indigenous people will lose their homes and orangutans could be lost forever.



Article and image courtesy of Greenpeace.




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