Oregon is already feeling the effects of Climate Change and global warming! As one of the biggest emitters of green house gases, we have to stop using products that contain conventional palm oil!
The government of the United Kingdom already has a policy on its use of palm oil and states:
"Palm oil production is often linked to deforestation and peatland drainage,mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia. This has major impacts on biodiversity, climate change and also land rights for local people."
France and Germany have also pledged to adopt similar policies to protest against the global warming which palm oil production causes.
It is time that we speak up as Americans and urge our legislators to adopt a policy on their use of products that contain palm oil!
Please sign this petition and we will make sure that Governor Kitzhaber and Senators Merkley and Wyden get your letters of protest!
As an Oregonian, I am concerned that we are directly contributing to global warming and wildlife extinction when we buy products containing unsustainable palm oil. Oregon’s 2010 Global Warming Commission adopted an “Interim Roadmap to 2020,” with recommendations addressing utilities, materials and waste management, transportation and land use, agriculture, forestry, and industry. The beneficial effects of these proactive measures are now unraveling at the hands of rogue members of the palm oil industry.
Bornean and Sumatran jungles burn away every day for palm plantations, and the peat bogs can burn for months, releasing both carbon dioxide and methane. Methane can trap more than 70 times the heat of carbon dioxide in the first 10 years, and destruction of Indonesia’s peat bogs for palm plantations generates more of these gases each year than Russia, India, and three times that of Germany. According to independent research by Wetlands International and Delft Hydraulics, “the emissions in 1997 alone were estimated to have reached 40 per cent of global CO2 emissions”.
Many industries have targeted tropical forests, the nursery for biodiversity, but never with such reckless abandon. More than fifty per cent of packaged products in American supermarkets now contain palm oil and consumers of these products are unknowingly driving climate change in ways nobody had imagined. Current estimates indicate that the world's peat land sequester two thousand million ton of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to 70 years of current global emissions. Sadly, burning is not required for ecological disaster, as simply draining the peat bogs generates an average of 22,000 ton of carbon dioxide a year, per square mile.
Palm oil in itself is not necessarily a bad product, but there are serious concerns when the production of palm oil is not sustainable. When tropical forests are cleared in this manner, and replaced with oil palm monoculture, between 80 and 100 per cent of all mammals, reptiles and bird species perish. Today, there may be less than 6,000 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild. The orangutan population in Borneo may total less than 14 percent of what it was only a few decades ago. Tragically, though orangutans do not typically make use of palm fruits, any found moving through palm plantations are often beaten to death or worse. Further, human rights abuses and child labor are rampant in the palm oil industry as palm companies prepare to convert millions of hectares in Malaysia, Indonesia and increasingly across Africa where many more endangered species are now in peril.
We can influence what is happening in palm oil-producing countries by adopting a governmental policy similar to the one that the United Kingdom has on palm oil. Key details from the UK statement on palm oil:
• There is growing awareness that the greater production of palm oil can increase the risk of destruction to tropical rainforest, and drainage of peatland areas significantly impacts biodiversity, climate change and the land rights of local peoples.
• In recent years, a number of organizations have taken steps to try to produce and source their palm oil more sustainably. By taking steps to source palm oil more sustainably, UK companies at all stages of the supply chain can help to reduce the negative impacts associated with palm oil production.
• The UK is one of the most influential players in that EU market. Through co-ordinated action, the UK supply chain can influence other consumers and producers and support the global drive to make palm oil production and consumption more sustainable. By implementing a purchasing policy ensuring all government institutions use only sustainably produced palm oil, it created a sudden interest from palm oil producers and their customers to produce a better palm product.
Governor Kitzhaber, Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden; consuming products containing unsustainable palm oil contributes to tropical ecosystem devastation, loss of biodiversity and accelerates climate change. I urge you to make strong commitments to support only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil and to encourage the private sector to match these commitments. Voting citizens become unwitting partners in deforestation, climate change, biodiversity loss, extinction, and deny the rights of local and indigenous peoples through consumption and use of unsustainable palm oil.
It would be unconscionable for our elected officials to walk away from the citizens they represent. As a country, we must take real action against climate change and insist our products are sustainable. America must join our international partners and commit to palm oil initiatives already in place in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, UK, and Germany.
I trust that I can count on you to defend American interests by ensuring that the USA adopts a strong policy on the use of certified sustainable palm oil.