Sunday, August 16, 2015

Let's talk about it: palm oil

Photo: orangutan.com

What is it? Why am I writing a post about it? Many of you might already know that in the environmental sphere it is considered “bad” and products containing it should be avoided. But why?
Apart from having a high amount of saturated fat, thus not good for the health, it is also causing massive deforestation and loss of animal habitat.

Palm oil is produced from the fruit of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and the demand for it has risen greatly, leading to massive deforestation. The oil that can be derived per hectare is a lot higher than other vegetable oils and cheaper to produce, that is why it is used in so many products. From foods to makeup and shampoos!

Malaysia and Indonesia produce half of the world’s palm oil, and that is where the most damage is being caused, with demands rising and rising. By creating vast areas of plantation, they have pushed out local indigenous people, quickly destroyed rich biodiversity and a home to many various species. 
In Indonesia, a third of the mammals are critically endangered because of this unsustainable way of growing oil palms.

Photo: forests4orangutans.com

Animals such as orang-utans and tigers are injured or killed during the deforestation or by poachers. The roads created for the plantations make access to animals a lot easier where they can be killed or taken for entertainment.

This orangutan was shot with a sleeping dart so it can be relocated to a different part of the rainforest, as his home was destroyed  and is now a danger to him.
Photo: commercialpressureonland.org

All this is why I have decided to stop buying products that contain palm oil. Orang-utans die for a cookie. Literally. I do not want to contribute to the destruction of nature, homes, and beautiful species. It isn’t easy going to the supermarket I must admit. Almost everything contains it, and it gets me super frustrated! But I’m also super determined, even if grocery shopping takes me a little longer, I leave feeling happy with my choices.

I definitely recommend trying to reduce the amount of products owned containing palm oil, from kitchen to bathroom! In the end, the consumers always have a say on what is produced and sold. I think if more people stop buying palm oil, the demand will decrease, and the amount of new plantations needed will also have to decrease. 

I don't want workers at the plantation to loose their jobs, but it is also not right for more unnecessary plantations to be made by destroying forests and their rightful inhabitants. 

There is such a thing as sustainable palm oil, but how sustainable is it really? If we keep buying products containing it, are we not still contributing to its decrease in demand? I am conflicted on this matter, if anyone knows more about it please do leave a comment!

Would you like more info? Check out these websites!

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