Sometimes, banning a video makes it even more popular. This phenomenon is verified in the Uk these last few days for a short film advertising denouncing the culture of the palm oil and the deforestation it causes.

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More than 3 million people have already viewed it on the social networks this video (here with the French sub-titles) performed for the celebration of the end of the year by the of the british supermarket chain Iceland, in partnership with Greenspeace. Only here, this ad, which is in the form of a cartoon featuring a young orangutan and a little girl was banned on british television. The state entity responsible for approving – or not – the advertisements, Clearcast, has in effect rejected this short-film, considering that it is “too political”, it was “not in accordance with the rules of the code of the BCAP” (Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice). Iceland, the origin of the video, has decided to highlight on its YouTube channel with a million views the first day. On his Twitter account, the short message posted along with the video has been retweeted more from 89,000 times.

Policy or not, the story told in this short film is touching. There was a little girl who sees a young orang-utan to invest his room, as he rampage with gusto. “He steals my toys, and grabs my shoes. It destroyed my plants and cries. It balance my chocolate and takes it to my shampoo,” describes the little girl who emerges from his bed in the mezzanine. And she adds: “there’s an orangutan in my room and I don’t know what to do (…) I don’t want to stay there. So, I asked this orang-utan rude to leave, but one question torments me. Before you go, what are you doing in my room?”

critically endangered Species from extinction

A female orangutan, zoo of Beauval GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP

In a form of parallel construction, the young orang-utan explains: “there’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do. It destroyed all of our trees to your chocolate and your shampoo. He took my mother, and I’m afraid that I also take. It burns all the oil palm. So I thought that I could stay with you”. “Oh, orang-utan in my room, now I know what to do. I’m going to save your house and stop you harm. I will share your story in the world”, concludes the little girl in this film made “in tribute to the 25 Orang-utan who disappear every day.”

Present in South-East Asia (Sumatra, Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, the orangutan is part of the “species in critical danger of extinction”, according to the red list of the international Union for the conservation of nature. The main reason for the disappearance of the orang-utan is the destruction of their forest habitat. The word “orangutan” means “man of the forest” in malay and bahasa indonesian.

deforestation, which affects these asian territories is not only motivated by the sale of timber, but also by the implementation of some crops, starting with palm oil. “About half of the products found in supermarkets contains palm oil. Nearly 90 % of palm oil comes from plantations that have replaced the forests in Indonesia and Malaysia”, we can read on the National Geographic website. The IUCN projects that by 2025, the populations of orangutans have declined by 82% in 75 years. “For an orang-utan, it is only three generations,” says National Geographic. But the tragedy is that it would not be enough to stop the cultivation of palm oil to curb the problem, which could only move. In fact, at equivalent production, it uses much less land than other crops (rapeseed, sunflower or soya), vegetable oil, reminiscent of the IUCN in its latest report. It covers 6% of these lands, but represents more than a third of the world production. Lack of a better term, the challenge is therefore to make its production more sustainable.

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A petition has even been created so that this advertising is finally broadcast on the television screens. More than 630.000 users have so far signed. This number of signatures may seem small on the scale of the world. This figure represents more than ten times that of the total population of orang-utans (45.000 to 65.000 according to the IUCN).