Give Orangutan XOEarth Awards to eco friends and others to thank them for their past or pledged environmental actions.

Lovers of our Earth’s biosphere are invited to copy and share, or print and give, these commemorative XOEarth Awards to your government officials, friends, businesses, customers, volunteers and employees to thank them for their environmental actions – either past or pledged.

These Orangutan XOEarth Awards have been dedicated to:
+ The Orangutan
+ Grist – an independent, irreverent news outlet and network of innovators working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck
+ The Sierra Club – the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the USA – with three million members and supporters
+ Chris Hedges – journalist, NYT best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and minister
+ Darby Minow Smith – senior managing editor for @grist on climate, farms and food
+ Louie Psihoyos – Greek-American documentary film director of the Cove, Racing Extinction and Game Changers
+ Kate Yoder – superb news editor @grist on climate sci and pickled onions


Orangutan [wikipedia.org excerpts]

Orangutans are the most solitary of the great apes, with social bonds occurring primarily between mothers and their dependent offspring, who stay together for the first two years. Fruit is the most important component of an orangutan’s diet; however, the apes will also eat vegetation, bark, honey, insects and even bird eggs. They can live over 30 years in both the wild and captivity.

Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates; they use a variety of sophisticated tools and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage. The apes have been extensively studied for their learning abilities. There may even be distinctive cultures within populations. Field studies of the apes were pioneered by primatologist Birutė Galdikas. All three orangutan species are considered to be critically endangered. Human activities have caused severe declines in populations and ranges. Threats to wild orangutan populations include poaching, habitat destruction, and the illegal pet trade. Several conservation and rehabilitation organisations are dedicated to the survival of orangutans in the wild.

Orangutans live in primary and old secondary forests, particularly dipterocarp forests and peat swamp forests. Both species can be found in mountainous and lowland swampy areas. Sumatran orangutans live at elevations as high as 1500 m (4921 ft), while Bornean orangutans live no higher than 1000 m (3281 ft). Other habitats used by orangutans include grasslands, cultivated fields, gardens, young secondary forest, and shallow lakes. Orangutans are the most arboreal of the great apes, spending nearly all their time in the trees.

Wild orangutan in the Danum Valley (Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo island)
Most of the day is spent feeding, resting, and travelling. They start the day feeding for 2–3 hours in the morning. They rest during midday then travel in the late afternoon. When evening arrives, they begin to prepare their nests for the night. The main predators of orangutans are tigers. Other predators include clouded leopards, wild dogs and crocodiles.

Although orangutans may consume leaves, shoots, and even bird eggs, fruit is the most important part of their diet. Bornean orangutans consume at least 317 different food items that include young leaves, shoots, bark, insects, honey and bird eggs.

Orangutans are thought to be the sole fruit disperser for some plant species including the climber species Strychnos ignatii which contains the toxic alkaloid strychnine. It does not appear to have any effect on orangutans except for excessive saliva production.

Geophagy, the practice of eating soil or rock, has been observed in orangutans. There are three main reasons for this dietary behaviour: for the addition of mineral nutrients to their diet; for the ingestion of clay minerals that can absorb toxic substances; or to treat a disorder such as diarrhoea. Orangutans also use plants of the genus Commelina as an anti-inflammatory balm.

Orangutans communicate with various sounds. Males will make long calls, both to attract females and advertise themselves to other males. Both sexes will try to intimidate conspecifics with a series of low guttural noises known collectively as the “rolling call”. When annoyed, an orangutan will suck in air through pursed lips, making a kissing sound that is hence known as the “kiss squeak”. Infants make soft hoots when distressed. Orangutans are also known to blow raspberries.

Orangutans build elaborate nests which have “pillows”, “blankets”, “bunk-beds” and “roofs”.

Orangutans build nests specialized for both day or night use. These are carefully constructed; young orangutans learn from observing their mother’s nest-building behaviour. In fact, nest-building is a leading cause in young orangutans leaving their mother for the first time. From six months of age onwards, orangutans practice nest-building and gain proficiency by the time they are three years old.

Construction of a night nest is done by following a sequence of steps. Initially, a suitable tree is located, orangutans being selective about sites though many tree species are used. The nest is then built by pulling together branches under them and joining them at a point. After the foundation has been built, the orangutan bends smaller, leafy branches onto the foundation; this serves the purpose of and is termed the “mattress”. After this, orangutans stand and braid the tips of branches into the mattress. Doing this increases the stability of the nest and forms the final act of nest-building. In addition, orangutans may add additional features, such as “pillows”, “blankets”, “roofs” and “bunk-beds” to their nests.

Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates. Experiments suggest they can figure out some invisible displacement problems with a representational strategy. In addition, Zoo Atlanta has a touch-screen computer where their two Sumatran orangutans play games.

A 2008 study of two orangutans at the Leipzig Zoo showed orangutans can use “calculated reciprocity”, which involves weighing the costs and benefits of gift exchanges and keeping track of these over time.

Tool use in orangutans was observed by primatologist Birutė Galdikas in ex-captive populations. Orangutans may develop a tool kit for use in foraging that consisted of both insect-extraction tools for use in the hollows of trees and seed-extraction tools for harvesting seeds from hard-husked fruit.

Wild orangutans (P. pygmaeus wurmbii) in Tuanan, Borneo, were reported to use tools in acoustic communication. They use leaves to amplify the kiss squeak sounds they produce. The apes may employ this method of amplification to deceive the listener into believing they are larger animals.





In recognition of Grist‘s vital climate protection work that is helping save our biosphere’s climate – and therefore you, me, orangutans and other life forms – we are honored to dedicate these Orangutan Awards to Grist.

Grist reporters and writers are true to their word as they “cover climate, energy, food, cities, politics, business, green living, and the occasional adorable baby animal”. And yes they do “get people talking, thinking, and taking action” that benefits our air, water, soil and planet’s climate.

As stated by the Grist, “At Grist, we think the fate of the world and the people who live here is a pretty important topic. So we take our work seriously — but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Because of the many things this planet is running out of, sanctimonious tree-huggers ain’t one of them.”

We love the Grist team for that work and their whipper snappy attitudes!

They even say, “You know how some people make lemonade out of lemons? At Grist, we’re making lemonade out of looming climate apocalypse. It’s more fun than it sounds, trust us!”

Please read more and take action with Grist at Grist.org.

A world of thanks to Grist for working so tirelessly for our priceless biosphere.


The Sierra Club


In recognition of their crucial work in the protection of our biosphere, we are honored to dedicate the Buffalo XOEarth Awards to The Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club was founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892. Since then the Sierra Club has become the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with more than two million members and supporters.

As stated by the Sierra Club, “Our successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. More recently, we’ve made history by leading the charge to move away from the dirty fossil fuels that cause climate disruption and toward a clean energy economy.”

As our XOEarth fans know, we have numerous songs calling for the end of fossil fuel use. We are indebted to the Sierra Club’s major legal and activist work that has slowed down oil and gas extraction across the country.

That’s why we also love that the Sierra Club calls out, “Imagine a world with clean, abundant, affordable energy. One where climate disruption is a fading threat and American soldiers are never again deployed to defend oil fields. One where innovative green industries provide good jobs and supply 100 percent of our energy needs. Imagine a healthier America, with clean air and water, with pristine coasts and protected natural areas. A wealthier, more productive nation, whose leaders answer only to the citizens who elect them. This is America beyond oil.”

Our XOEarth songwriters have written two songs against coal mining. So we also applaud Sierra Club in their legal and grassroots work to stop coal mining. They say, “Coal is our country’s dirtiest energy source, from mining to burning to disposing of coal waste. Our campaign is uniting grassroots activists across the country to move America Beyond Coal.”

Support The Sierra Club at sierraclub.org.


XOEarth Award Printing Tips


To print these awards, first go to your browser’s file menu and then to print preview. Decide which page you want to print. Set the margins to zero. Increase the custom size to between 100% to 107% depending on your browser. Then print.

There are two kinds of XOEarth Awards – Fast and Slow. Slow XOEarth Awards have a place to write the name of the person being honored, the eco action they have taken, and the name of the presenter. Fast XOEarth Awards don’t need to be filled out.

Copy and share, or print and give, these and our other XOEarth environmental awards to honor and encourage eco actions.



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