Today we kill 25 orangutans. No, I don’t care if it’s Christmas Day. Think of it as poetic if you like: it’s the 25th day of the month, and we’ve got 25 orangutans to dispatch. For years and years our methodical annihilation of Borneo’s rainforests has seen us terminate this many daily, and – Christmas or not – there’s no excuse to let up now. That is your brief. Palm oil is your weapon.
Hang on, that won’t do. We must be precise about these things: there’s life and death in the detail. It’s an inconvenience I know, but you have to be well informed if you’re going to make a difference. Unsustainable palm oil is your weapon. This is crucial: arming yourself with that feeble sustainable palm oil stuff would be rather like pulling the trigger in the heat of battle only to find you’ve been mugged off with a water gun. And we don’t want to be putting out the fires now, do we?
No, to succeed we need to make sure our arsenals (these days they’re rather dully referred to as cupboards, fridges and freezers, but it’s one and the same) are stockpiled with all the ruthless stuffs that will bring death and destruction to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, where our enemy hides. Otherwise, God forbid, those orange menaces might start to make a comeback. Don’t worry if you feel unprepared: the chances are your house is already full of everything you need.
So, let us begin. After that familiar disappointment of finding it’s another not-at-all-white Christmas, cheer yourself up with the knowledge that it’s not an orange one either, and observe that all the chocolate you crammed into the children’s stockings has got your orangutan kill count off to a flyer. The more Nestle and Hershey’s the better – they’re particularly merciless bastards – and apparently the kids go mad for it anyway, so it’s two little monkeys with one stone, so to speak.
Soon, I imagine, the family will descend downstairs to gather around the tree. (Be sure to check the tree for the enemy, they are conniving and sneaky, and running out of their own to live in.) Meanwhile you will take to the main battleground (otherwise drearily known as the kitchen) to tend to breakfast. Here, be sure to fill cereal bowls to the brim with anything Kellog’s, and to really lather almost any brand of margarine and almost any brand of peanut butter onto almost any brand of toasted bread. All of these items are excellent destroyers of orangutan-bearing trees. And treat yourself to a Buck’s Fizz – it’s a holiday after all – but use Tropicana for the juice. A poisonous orange for the poisonous orange men.
Schedules for the day may vary, but dedicate time to the bathroom this morning. It’s an absolute minefield. Brush teeth with Colgate, wash hands with Dove soap, shower with L’Oreal (because killing orangutans is worth it); spray armpits with Lynx; spray hair with Tresemme; and treat those chapped winter lips with Vaseline. And ladies, don’t forgo the lipstick today: one, it’s Christmas; two, it obliterates the rainforests.
You’re doing well soldier. It’s time for presents. Candles for Grandma? Excellent idea, there’s a high chance they’re riddled with palm oil. Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Toblerone for the kids? Another killer choice there, really. But makeup for the missus? Hmmm. Well, it’s very courageous of you to put your life on the line like that for the good of the cause: I would have thought the wrath of the orangutans would have been enough though! Then again, I suppose that’s the beauty of makeup: it can kill from thousands of miles away.
Now, Christmas lunch poses a problem. Somebody has probably gone to a lot of effort to cook up some fresh food: the idiots… don’t they know that pre-prepared, processed meals would be far easier to make, and infinitely more destructive of enemy territory? Or a McDonalds, that would’ve done the trick! Are they open today? Probably. Sabotage the homemade food and send someone to the Golden Arches!
Alas, this is asking a lot of you comrade. Tradition will probably win over here, so you’ll just have to settle for a delicious and nutritious dinner. The only weapon this leaves at your disposal is to douse the traditional Christmas meal in Heinz Ketchup or Hellman’s Mayonaise. It might raise some eyebrows, but it will also raise hell in the rainforests, so pile the stuff on. It’s just such a shame that the notion of roasted orangutan on our plates is something of a taboo, whilst we can all get behind roasting them in far away forests…
Anyway, a controversial area that one so let’s move on. In the past you might have been less than enthusiastic about the washing up of seemingly every single item of the kitchen’s inventory that has been dirtied by the Christmas dinner. But this year you can relish it, because you’ll almost certainly be taking out one or two orangutans in the process: Finish dishwasher tablets and Fairy Liquid should each be employed, unsparingly. And go the extra mile by using Cillit Bang, Dettol and Cif, to give both the kitchen and the lands of Borneo a good old clean up. That’s it, wipe it all. Good work.
Alright, about time to relax. It’s hard work all this deforestation-from-afar-stuff. But fear not, faithful fighter, for even from your armchair you can cause unprecedented damage. Get the mince pies and ice cream on the go, both will almost certainly have that all-important palm oil in to eliminate a couple more of the buggers. Oh and some cheese and crackers! You’re too full? Don’t be silly, this is what Christmas is all about! Excessive consumption with effects that reach far, wide and with glorious devastation! Go on force them down too, that’s the ticket.
Ah, I see you’re exhausted. That’s probably that for the day then. You probably should have put down the Cadbury Heroes much earlier in the evening, but you were a hero yourself for battling to the end. Take to bed. You have fought valiantly against the orangutan today. Tomorrow we start again.
Oh Jesus Christ (ah, Many Happy Returns, sir)… did you feed the dog today? No, I completely forgot too. I’m afraid you best get back out of bed soldier, but take solace from the fact that it’ll only help the cause… Pedigree, Bonio, one of the supermarket brands… any of these will pick off a couple more of the orange fellows.
Hmm, what’s that you say? Well, of course there’s a distinction between your dog and the orangutan! Where’s all this coming from? Yes man, it would be absolutely immoral to let your dog starve, we’re not barbarians you know. Alright, yes, yes, it might seem hypocritical, I see your point; but look, this is just the way things are. Those orange things, they don’t deserve your pity. Haven’t you ever read Orwell? Well, let me tell you, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Now go feed your dog so an orangutan will die.
Initially this was going to be ‘A Christmas Guide To Not Killing Orangutans’. Then from some dark corner emerged the idea of exploring how one might murder as many of them as possible. Not a hard task when focusing on the Western world’s most consumerist day of the year, I thought.
Unfortunately, trying to pin down which products are actually responsible for the rainforests destruction is incredibly hard: transparency on these issues is obviously not in the interests of the world’s biggest companies, who benefit hugely from a cheap and available resource such as palm oil. I have named the brands above in confidence that Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are well informed on these matters (the latter produce a Scorecard every few years, which has been instructive), but even so it is still not easy. It also needs to be noted there are reports emerging that even sustainable palm oil isn’t particularly angelic, but also that a boycott of palm oil altogether could be potentially even worse. Tricky.
What is absolutely clear, though, is that by signing petition’s like this, by donating money to the organisations who are fighting unsustainable palm oil, and by avoiding the products, brands and companies named above (and the many, many more that are out there), we can help stop the worst of it. As my orangutan-obsessed psychopath says: It’s an inconvenience I know, but you have to be well informed if you’re going to make a difference. Well, the rainforests, the vast array of wildlife that roams within them (for orangutans are only the poster boys), and the future climate, are all relying on us to educate ourselves on these issues rather quickly.