COULD WE FIND A PEACE BETWEEN ENVIRONMENT AND INDUSTRY?
“To sum it up: when there are palm oil trees, there is almost no life.”
Isn’t that ironic? We are so proud of our civilisation and its progress that we don’t see that we have lost humanity and compassion on that long road of evolution. The people have changed themselves and they live for material values instead of recognising spiritual meaning of life, that is only one. We live in the world of pure consumption, everything is labeled, has its price that we can or can’t pay but the show must go on. There is no time for wasting since the time is money and the money is ruling the modern universe we are stuck in. You have two options, to jump in and play or to get out and scream out, trying to wake those thinking animals that maybe still are alive within Homo sapiens.
I am devastated with the environmental news recently. From every single corner it is an echo of our ignorant deeds and monstrosity that we commit against the innocent nature and even more innocent wildlife. Those who are the kings of having are those who dictate the rules of living. They are gambling and decide who or what will live and how. They pay for their sins, buying the new one. Because of them, our Planet is dying, animals are facing with 6th mass extinction and we, the people still on common sense mode and empathy drivers, don’t know from what to start and whom to help first.
Do yo know something about palm oil? I guess that everybody is informed a bit about this nutrition since it is deeply controversial due to the effects it has on environmental damage. The scientists have informed that there are some health benefits of palm oil but people should be careful with consuming of it, though. It is proved that palm oil may reduce some heart diseases but also increase some other heart problems. With its structure, the palm oil is helping brain functions and provide vitamin A to the body but the ugly ethical background is enough for us to search for alternatives.
What is the main problem about the palm oil industry? It destroys everything else around. This oil is derived from the specific oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis) that is native in Africa. However, this kind of trees need high humidity and rainfall so the Southwest Asia is also good ground for cultivation of palm oil. That is the main reason that almost more than 85% of all palm oil is coming from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the lands that do not really care about environmental goals but only about earning money. To be able to make palm oil farms, one must ruin the natural habitats and wonderful wild lands and that is the introduction into the biggest debate ever – deforestation and killing of life possibility for many species. The perfect example of human egoism is definitely the destruction and deforestation of Borneo:“As companies slash, burn and bulldoze rain forest to plant uniform rows of oil palm trees, they’re decimating the island’s legendary biodiversity, driving up greenhouse gas emissions and destroying the livelihoods of local subsistence farmers. On Sumatra, according to a new report from Greenpeace, Wilmar, a major palm oil supplier, buys from companies that are illegally clearing endangered tiger habitat — and then sells that oil to major U.S. brands. Indonesia and Malaysia together produce 85 percent of the global palm oil supply — 50 million tons per year between them — mostly on land that was thriving rain forest not long ago. In Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), 90 percent of oil palms planted since 1990 were grown on newly cleared forests, while the amount of land planted with oil palms there has risen almost 300 percent since 2000. Today, nearly 25 million acres across Indonesia are planted with oil palms. By 2020, that number is expected to rise to 50 million acres, or more than 10 percent of the country’s land.”
The global markets are hungry for palm oil and it seems that demand doesn’t stop, in spite of active and aggressive environmental campaigns all over. The palm oil seems like a magical ingredient that is used a lot in Asian cooking, in Europe is a feedstock for biofuel while in the US has multidimensional purpose, in food and cosmetic industry. The consumers are fascinated with products so they do not read carefully what they buy and what they support with their money.
Just if we think what we actually buy and that all those food we purchase is actually based on palm oil, we need to really consider what we are doing to our global environment and poor animals that didn’t deserve due to the lack of compassion or knowledge. Many people even don’t know that margarine, peanut butter, crackers, cookies, ice cream, lipsticks, toothpaste, soap, candy…..and all what we can imagine is touched by palm oil traces. You can’t escape it even if you are strongly devoted to it but you can make sure you don’t support the gangs and mafia that kill this Planet and its animals. It is very important fr you to take only those products that are under RSPO-certified brands, if you can’t live without palm oil. What does this mean ? The RSPO is actually the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil organisation that is trying to implement ethic in palm oil industry, as much as it is possible. RSPO certification is given only to those producers that are able to fulfil the requested criteria and standard that are including: no deforestation of areas with endangered species or vulnerable ecosystems, significant reducing of pesticide and fire use, fair treatment of workers from local community and harmony with local indigenous people, especially about the big projects and plans. This is some kind of ethical palm oil consumption but it is still far away from our final goal, to save the world that has been dying for years because of us, only because of us.
The scientist are searching for alternative options for palm oils and is is very hard to find something as promising for boosting dollar industry as palm oil but the ethical part of the world doesn’t lose hope. In the meantime, there are some information that microalgae´s versatility makes them a great competitor. The company from California, Solazyme, has used microalgae to produce oils for biodiesel and that big step forward is enhanced by United Airlines jets and US Navy ships. Many other companies in the Usa are thinking of switching on microalgae potential in their food and beauty industry and to prevent further natural destruction. This is maybe not such a big success on the global level but it is a big move for one consumption country like America is. The people are awaking and slowly the labels on their products and freely decide not to participate in killing of orangutans and other animals that live in palm oil region of interest. The statistics is horrifying when we know that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of violent deforestation and harvesting, in just 2 last decades. They aren’t the only animals that died as a victim on the altar of human greed but they are the first on the list of suffering because of our appetite for things that don’t belong to us.
I don’t believe that anyone would clearly keep supporting unethical palm oil industry if would have choice of seeing behind the iron curtain of profit kingdom. Many products and brand don’t label it as they should do it so we have to search in between. According to WWF:“Many products that use palm oil aren’t clearly labeled. Palm oil and its derivatives can appear under many names, including: INGREDIENTS: Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol.CONTAINS: Palm oil”
The next time you are doing your grocery, make sure you have those few minutes to check if products has palm oil and if it is under RSPO certificate or not. Those few minutes of your time are nothing but for endangered animals are a new chance for life.
2 thoughts on “THE PALM OIL: THE STORY THAT HAS NO END”
Sarah’s extremely-relative and invaluable article reminded me of the noxious-ignorance of scientists over the millennia leading up to the present-day devastation created via palm oil plantations, etc.
Palm species first appeared on Earth c. 80 million years ago; relatively, a recent period, in the context of the 700 million years of terrestrial flora on Earth. As Sarah notes, Elaeis guineensis (oil palm) is indigenous to Africa, and it was first documented by the Dutch scientists Nikolaus von Jacquin (1727-1817) in 1763: he was ignorant about ecosystem collapse brought about by a monoculture of flora.
Oil palms were introduced to Java by the Dutch in 1848, and to Malaysia (then the British colony of Malaya) in 1910 by Scotsman William Sime and English banker Henry Darby. The species of palm tree Elaeis guineensis was taken to Malaysia from Eastern Nigeria in 1961.
In traditional African medicine, different parts of the plant are used as laxative and diuretic, as a poison antidote, as a cure for gonorrhea, menorrhagia, and bronchitis, to treat headaches and rheumatism, to promote healing of fresh wounds and treat skin infections.
Palm oil became a highly sought-after commodity by British colonial traders, for use as an industrial lubricant for machinery, during The Industrial Revolution.
Sarah ends her imperative article by emphasizing the power of consumer boycott: this is one of the most effective ways people can protect fragile biomes threatened by palm oil industries.
This topic is very critical and your article is very educational, Sarah !
The palm industry is selfish, greedy, and evil, as its only objective is to maximize profits even if it’s at the expense of forests, Animals, and the environment !
Nestlé is one of such entities that have no regards for anyone or anything but money ! This has to come to an end very soon before Animals go extinct, before it’s too late to restore Animal habitat/forests, and before it’s too late to save our planet !
Thank you so much, Sarah, for writing about such critical topics that need immediate attention ! As for your writing, it’s excellent as always !