Are you aware that palm oil can be found in half of all processed foods in the supermarket? In the last decade, the increased production of palm oil has created a tremendous detriment for our planet and the animals living in harvesting regions. Deforestation, caused by palm oil production, has surged over the last decade – causing mass destruction of rainforests around the planet. By educating ourselves on these detriments, we can implement positive changes for the environment.
What is palm oil used in?
Twenty years ago, palm oil was found mainly in cosmetics and beauty products. Once palm oil was discovered to be trans-fat free, many food companies transitioned to palm oil to promote a healthier product. In supplying the growing demand, farmers across Southeast Asia, South America and Africa are currently clearing massive amounts of tropical forests to make room for palm plantations. Deforestation from palm oil production displaces indigenous peoples, wildlife, and increases the loss in biodiversity.
Facts About Palm Oil Production:
- 66 million tons of palm oil are produced annually.
- Less than 7% of palm oil is certified as sustainable.
- About one-third of all vegetable oil used worldwide is palm oil.
- Palm oil can be found in over half of all processed foods in the supermarket.
- Palm oil plantations currently cover over 66 million acres.
- Tropical deforestation accounts for about 10% of total global warming emissions.
- Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil – temporarily surpassed the United States in greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
- Indonesia’s endangered orangutan population, which depends upon their rainforests – has dwindled by as much as 50% in recent years.
How can I make an impact?
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Switch to eating whole foods; this reduces the amount of processed foods you’ll purchase that contain palm oil.
- Read your food labels; if purchasing foods containing palm oil – mindfully support companies that sustainably harvest palm oil.
- Choose body care products that don’t contain palm oil.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1.
- Vote with your dollar – ban products containing palm oil completely. Also, research alternative names for palm oil – many businesses purposely disguise the name.
- Write product manufacturers and ask them to stop the use of palm oil. Businesses pay attention to an individual’s purchases – as well as feedback on practices and products.
- If using biofuels, research fuels and by-products used that are not derived from palm.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Actions 1 & 2.
- Sign petitions demanding that the government mandate sustainability measures in the production of palm oil.
- Use your voice to speak out against the degradation of our planet at the hands of palm oil producers.
- Empower your friends and family to reduce their palm oil consumption by sharing the truth behind palm oil production.
- Choose to be an Ambassador for Change, and always Spread Love and Spread Light.