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Use a conflict-free alternative or sustainably produced palm oil in your products

This petition had 812 supporters

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area equivalent to 300 football fields of rainforest is clear-cut each hour for palm oil agriculture. Rainforests are huge reservoirs of biodiversity for both plants and animals. Rainforest in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia are major targets of corporations for palm oil agriculture. Many endangered species depend on these rainforests for habitat, such as the Asian elephants, tigers, and various species of primates such as Orangutans and Macaques.

According to palm oil plantations are established as a way to bring in income to developing countries. The impacts of the short-term economic gain do not outweigh the long-term negative impacts of agriculture and people in these areas. Governments of these countries allow corporations to take land away from indigenous people for palm oil plantations, thus sacrificing local economy for national economy. Families that previously owned these lands were dependent upon them to survive. When palm oil agriculture takes over the land from these families, it forces them into poor working conditions and also creates a dependency on the success of the palm oil industry for survival. Often times children are used as a source for cheap or unpaid labor.

Rainforests are also a source of many ecosystem services. For example, cities and farms surrounding rainforests are dependent upon them to retain water during rainy seasons and prevent flooding. In addition, soil in rainforests is extremely nutrient rich, and is good for small-scale agriculture. Due to the nature of the oil palm tree and its harvesting, the soil is stripped of it’s nutrients very rapidly. This in turn leaves plots of land unable regrow rainforest or be used for agriculture after palm oil plantations. Lastly, the method of deforestation for palm oil plantations is uncontrolled slash-and-burn, releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as destroying larger plots of forest than is bought by the plantation. Furthermore, it takes away trees and undergrowth that are valuable for carbon sequestration and soil fertility.

There are many alternatives to palm oil such as canola oil, olive oil, corn oil, and safflower oil. These alternatives do not depend on rainforest land for agriculture. Since these alternatives are available, it is the moral responsibility of the corporations who use vegetables oils to choose more sustainable sources. The public also has a moral and ethical responsibility to choose products that do not continue the degradation of delicate ecosystems.

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