Entertainment

Dame Emma Thompson lends her voice to Greenpeace campaign

The Howards End star narrates a new video calling for companies to stop using palm oil in their products.

Academy Award-winning actress Dame Emma Thompson has lent her voice to a new campaign video for Greenpeace that is calling on big companies to help save orangutans from extinction by dropping the use of palm oil in their products.

Dame Emma, 59, recites a poem for the narration of the 90-second animated clip, which tells the story of a baby orangutan called Rang-tan who is told off by a little girl for causing trouble in her bedroom.

When the girl asks the ape how it came to be there, Rang-tan recounts a story of how her home was destroyed by deforestation, done in order to clear the way for palm tree crops to be planted.

Dame Emma said: “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.

“By making a noise, demanding answers and forcing change, we can stop feeling sorry. Instead, we can feel exhilarated as we witness these iconic beasts living truly wild once more. If we accomplish that, believe me, we will all be much better off.”

The video was produced by Passion Animation Studios, who were behind the 2011 Oscar-winning animated short film The Lost Thing.

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that is used in products such as toothpaste and shampoo. 

It grows naturally in the fruits of trees in tropical rainforests in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

The trees have also been specially planted for farmers in developing countries, often at the expense of the orangutan’s natural habitat.

According to Greenpeace, orangutan numbers on the South East Asian island of Borneo have more than halved between 1999 and 2015, a rate of 25 deaths per day.

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