Our Story

When my husband, Tony, asked me what I wanted to do for my 50th birthday I knew that I wanted to 'do' something, something that mattered, I'd always loved Orangutans and had been following their struggle to survive for a long time. After a bit of research we booked our trip to Borneo with 'The great Projects' to work at Samboja Lestari orangutan sanctuary in June 2019. The sanctuary is in an area of restored rain forest in East Kalimantan and is run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival foundation.

Although we had done our research nothing could have prepared us for the reality of our experience, both physically and mentally. I faced so many of my fears; insects, heights and water, and pushed myself beyond boundaries that I now realise I'd set myself. We dug out rivers, up to our necks in water, filling sandbags with the sand we'd dug out to reinforce banks and divert currents. We pulled out weeds from another river, fully dressed and sometimes unable to touch the bottom, literally just a couple of yards away from a very curious male orangutan. I've never worked so hard, been so tired or smelt so bad in all my life, and I absolutely LOVED it!!

We weren't allowed to touch the orangutans, both for their safety and ours, but we made connections with them in other ways; playing tug of war with them using a branch, spraying them with hosepipes while they washed their faces and tried to drink it. One afternoon I was sat on the riverbank opposite my favourite orangutan, Romeo. 

For a while he pretended that I wasn't there, then he started sneaking a look at me. Eventually he started putting on a display for me, ripping up a tree and calling out. Then he plonked himself down and we just watched each other. Sat looking into his eyes was one of my most special moments.

On trips out into the countryside we could see the devastation that palm oil plantations were causing the rainforest and so the orangutans habitat. The sheer level of destruction has to be seen to be believed, it's heart-breaking. After 2 very short weeks it was time to return home, a lot of tears were shed on our last evening as we watched a video of our time there. We were both very sad to be leaving and felt that we had found somewhere we had connected with.

Getting back to 'normal' life felt strange. I was restless and unsettled; I just couldn't move on from our time in Borneo. I decided to take a look at our lifestyle to see what changes we could make to remove palm oil and single use plastic from our lives. I was shocked at how many products contain palm oil; make-up, soft drinks, sweets, ice-cream, bread, condiments, pizza, cleaning products, the list is endless. Not only was the amount of products shocking but also the way manufacturers could 'hide' the fact that they used palm oil by listing it by other names in the ingredients list. Consumers should be able to choose not to use it but if it isn't even listed as PALM OIL on the label how can you be sure! I decide to start making my own products, originally just for ourselves, but then more and more people were asking to buy them and For the Love of Earth was born. I'm hugely proud to be able to say that we are now official partners of Borneo Orangutan Survival UK and 3% of the proceeds of all sales goes to them to help them continue doing their amazing work through rescue, rehabilitation and re-introduction of the orangutans to protected rainforests.