Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ashes and Snow

Has anyone seen this exhibit by Toronto artist Gregory Colbert? Apparently some ten million people have seen it, making it the most-viewed exhibit by a living artist in history. I didn't know anything about it until I stumbled on a Youtube clip last week and the images have stayed with me, particularly of the orangutan and the woman in the boat. I wish I could see the whole film! The website for the installation has some lovely black and white images of harmonious interactions between our species and others. As described in the clip, it truly is a celebration of nature.

I found it when I was looking for information about palm oil, which is even more ubiquitous than high fructose corn syrup as it is in 50% of all consumer goods, from breakfast cereal to snack bars and chocolate bars, and from soap and cosmetics to biofuels. According to the Rainforest Action Network, demand for palm oil has tripled in the US in the last five years, making this crop one of the key causes in global rainforest destruction. Particularly hard-hit are the rainforests of Indonesia, where one of the last remaining populations of orangutans lives (the other population lives in Borneo). You can watch the last days of the orangutan, Green, in the 48-minute film by
Patrick Rouxel now being screened in documentary festivals. Patrick has also put the entire film
online. I see that Patrick also has a Facebook group with more than 2000 fans.

Here's the bad news on orangutan numbers in the 20th century from Patrick's website for the film: a decline from more than 300,000 to less than 10,000. nature, biodiversity, endangered species, orangutanThe Honolulu Zoo has more information about orangutans.

This is why one of our events at the Ecolympics
is "Tell-A-Friend", which so far as many as one third of our participants have signed up for. We hope you'll consider signing up for it and sharing the information you find with us on our Facebook group.

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