Friday, May 4, 2012

Palm Oil - All the truth about it

Unfortunately, palm oil is still hidden in a lot of conventional products of the daily life, mainly in food, body care products and cosmetics. What maybe is less known: Sometimes it is even used as a bio fuel! And many well-known companies are involved in this unethical and environmentally disastrous business, as it is mentioned in this Greenpeace article!

But why do I say "unfortunately"? I will explain this in few words and sum up some interesting sources for more information.

  1. Rainforests disappear through the cultivation of palm oil: Countries in which palm oil plantations take a relevant part of the economical market - mainly it is planted in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua Neuguinea and in Columbia - often do this in the middle of their rainforests after deforesting the areals. There are few biotopes in the world where the biodiversity of the fauna and flora is so enormous. Through the tropical deforestation, many animals and also plants lose their biotope. A lot of them already are really seldom; for example the Sumatra tiger and elephants become much endangered species because of this! Not to forget the orangutans of Borneo
  2. People who live or lived in the rainforests lose their livelihood: The ground now utilized for palm oil (this is of course also true for the plantation outside the rainforests once used by the inhabitants to earn their livelihoods) cannot anymore be used by the locals so they are even more pushed into their poverty or must suffer from hunger. Also, the deforestation of rainforest territories for the sake of the palm oil plantations highly influences the water resources of the region. 
  3. The destruction of the rainforests has big impacts on the environment and especially the climate! Beside the role of all forests to take the CO2 from the atmosphere, the rainforest additionally plays an important role in the regulation of the global climate. So in the long term, the disappearance of each hectar rainforest redounds to the increase of the climate warming!
Here is a fact sheet of the palm oil problem

Surely you will agree with me this is a shocking truth. But: As consuments, we can all do something about it: By renouncing products which contain palm oil (and probably not buying products from companies known as selling products with palm oil, especially if they purchase it from certain countries)!