Did you know that the production of palm oil affects climate 3X more than fossil fuels?
How you may ask?
Palm oil is a vegetable oil that is cheap to produce but causes major deforestation. By losing millions of trees from burning and bulldozing, it allows carbon to be released in the atmosphere.
The production not only affects forests, but also peatlands. Peatlands hold up to 18-28% of carbon and by burning them, it releases methane and carbon. Not good.
On top of that, it contributes to erosion, pollution, and loss of critical habitat for species.
So What is Palm Oil?
It is a vegetable oil that is native to West Africa. However because of the revenue and cheap production costs it now exists in most tropical areas. Southeast Asia like Malaysia and Indonesia are leaders in the production.
Overall, the amount of land that these plantations covers equals the size of New Zealand. Although it is not unhealthy, palm oil is the most destructive to the environment.
In the past 30 years, human consumption of palm oil has increased the most than any other food product.
What Palm Oil is Used For
- cooking oil
- the main ingredient for margarine
- Ice creams
- ready to eat meals
A lot. (I promise it does get better-keep reading)
You may recognize these main products:
Yes I love some of these too. (I currently have Ben and Jerry’s in my freezer = guilty as charged).
Also it is in many organic and all natural products as well.
What Can YOU Do?
Because boycotting every product is near impossible, all I ask is to limit your use of it. It is not as hard as you think. When shopping, I look at the ingredients list and see what is in it. Palm oil is one of the things I look for. But be careful for palm oil is listed as other names too.
Encourage others to participate and convince your friends to take part. One step further is to ask companies to find alternatives. Furthermore, support organizations that work to better the industry.
Some major companies to still convince are Starbucks, PepsiCo, Krispy Kreme, Hershey’s, Nestle, Kraft, Dunkin Donuts, and Heinz.
Several palm oil companies have pledged to switch to a more sustainable approach and drop their forced labor and deforestation practices. YAY!
Also if you love to travel, look into volunteering with species that are affected i.e. orangutans, Asian elephant, or tigers. There are many organizations looking for people like you.
Finally for those who want to really boycott it, here is a 28 day challenge of zero palm oil. Includes recipes, deforestation free brands, and more resources.
Join me in trying to limit the use of palm oil.
I am building a revolution for going more eco-friendly in our homes. To make an impact, tell others about this and let me hear about you and your journey. We need people like you to ensure our planet will last. By joining me your thoughts and actions are heard and we can together change the world! Sign up for email and/or comment below.
Organizations to Donate or Help:
Orangutan Foundation– palm oil scavenger hunt
For other ideas on how to be eco-friendly, check out my earlier posts!
- “By the way, doctor: Is palm oil good for you?” Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
- Mitra, Analava. Health Effects of Palm Oil. N.p.: Research Gate, Jan. 2009. PDF.
- “Palm Oil.” WWF. World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
- “What’s Driving Deforestation: Palm Oil.” Palm Oil. Union of Concerned Scientists, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
- “Do you know the ‘Snack Food 20′ companies behind the destruction of palm forests and orangutans?” Kern Golden Empire. Greenrightnow, 21 Mar. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
- “The Oil Palm Tree – Sustainable Malaysian Palm Oil.” Sustainable Malaysian Palm Oil. Palm Oil Health, n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.