This week I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Lone Dröscher Nielsen the famous wildlife conservationist. Lone works in Borneo to save, rehabilitate and release orangutans who have been orphaned or displaced by logging and land clearing for palm oil plantations.
According to the World Wildlife Fund approximately 300 football fields of forest are cleared every hour to make way for palm oil plantations with much of this is happening in Malaysia and Indonesia. Many already endangered animals, such as the pygmy elephant, Sumatran tiger and the orangutan, are under further pressure by this human activity.
So what does this have to do with you and me?
Well, did you know that over 50% of products in the supermarket contain palm oil? Not all palm oil is bad though. There is such a thing as Certified Sustainable Palm Oil and some companies, due to campaigning by activists and consumers are moving towards using it. There is still a long way to go and if you want to learn more and actively participate head on over to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia website
As a consumer you can opt to avoid products which contain non-certified palm oil. Palm oil is used in a wide range of products, from biscuits to beauty products, and is often listed as simply “vegetable oil” but also by other obscure names. Australian consumers may access more information from the Palm Oil Investigations website
The easiest way to avoid palm oil in food is to make as much of it yourself and avoid ready-made packet foods. Making food from scratch is more time consuming, however, it you are anything like me – living in a country like Australia where packet foods and treats are so readily available and being slightly overfed anyway – slowing down the rate of consumption is a good thing.
Dr Seuss, whose wit and wisdom far exceeds mine, sums it up nicely Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
What are you thoughts?