Ban Palm Oil to Prevent Deforestation

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Palm oil. You see it every day, you use it every day. Whether you know it or not, palm oil is used is many of our essentials, from toothpaste to cosmetics. It is found in products that we use everyday. Under "vegetable oil" "shortening" or "margarine", these are just a few names palm oil can be disguised as on the bottom of nutrition labels. Palm oil is also used in toiletries and as fuel. It is literally used everywhere. But you're not only group it affects. Did you know that using and generating the oil impacts colossal deforestation?

In case you don't know, oil palm trees grew in West Africa, its oil being used for thousands of years before it spread to the rest of the world. Palm oil is the oil extracted from the pulp of palms or kernels and deadly in cooking. Robin Shreeves from MNN tells us that palm kernel oil is heavy in saturated fats, perfect for baked goods and beauty products. But the price means immense palms chopped down and unimaginable deforestation. Palm oil provides 35% of the world's vegetable oil, and it'll only increase. Around the world, you can see between 460,000-500,000 sq. miles of earth dedicated to plantations. The unjust act negatively impacts our precious environment and takes away many animals' homes. This needs to stop.

According to the Rain Forest Rescue Organization, "[...] huge tracts of rainforest in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa are being bulldozed or torched to make room for more plantations, releasing vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere."  Palm oil plantations are the leading cause of deforestation in Indonesia (53%) and Malaysia (32%). Palm oil-based biofuels (fuels created from biomass) have thrice the climate impact that general fossil fuels generate.

But it doesn't end there. Once forests are torn down for these plantations, many of our endangered species are not only being killed during the forest burning, but also  of losing their homes. The top three animal species at risk here, are orangutans, Borneo elephant, and Sumatran Tiger. Orangutan Foundation International informs us that in 1990, there were 350,000 orangutans among the wild. Coming back to modern day, his number has drastically decreased to fewer than 50,000. These furry, orange animals are on the verge of extinction.
During the forest clearing, an estimated 15% of species even survive. This brings in additional animals such as rhinoceros, elephants, birds, bugs, and snakes without including the thousands of affected plant species.

Between 2000 and 2010, palm oil plantations were responsible for 2-9% carbon emissions globally. Peatlands (wetlands of partial decomposed material) are also being burned away with these forests, and in fact, they carry much more (18-28 times) the carbon forests carry. 

As a source of enormous profit for multinational corporations, this cheap alternative to toxic trans fats not only causes deforestation, but also displaces indigenous peoples, diminishes biodiversity, risks child labor, and pollutes freshwater sources. "Smallholders and indigenous people who have inhabited and protected the forest for generations are often brutally driven from their land. In Indonesia, more than 700 land conflicts are related to the palm oil industry." writes Rain Forest Rescue Organization. With every passing day, acres of land are being converted into massive palm plantations. Companies are eyeing further production of palm oil within Africa, home to around 200 primate species. We cannot allow this to take place on our watch. So how can we possibly help?

We're the future of whatever happens to our Earth, including robbing it of its forests and animals. Every animal deserves to live in peace, away from the erratic machines we use to deprive them of it. Some simple ways you can combat and avoid palm oil is by...

  1. Eating a meal at home. This totally beats eating foods processed with palm oil. You can try using sunflower or olive oil as an alternative.
  2. Read nutrition labels carefully. If palm oil, or any other variation of it is listed, simply put it back.
  3. Speak out. Even if you don't organize a protest march, media awareness is powerful.
  4. Spread the word to others. Anyone has the power to do inform friends and family

Sign this petition. Stand up for freedom, because your voice matters. Thanks for your time.