it’s hidden in your cookies, ice cream, detergents, soaps, lipsticks and more, often listed as “vegetable oil, vegetable fat, palm kernel, palm kernel oil” and more. With more than 50% of American products containing this single ingredient, it’s our responsibility to know where this product is coming from and more importantly, who it is affecting.
One Green Planet reports that,
Palm oil production involves the clear-cutting of native rainforests in the tropical areas where palm fruit thrives. Deforestation related to palm production runs rampant in Indonesia and Malaysia. According to Rainforest Rescue, 90 percent of the world’s palm oil is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia. Between 2011 and 2012, 8,000 square miles of forest was cleared in Indonesia, primarily for palm oil production. Recognizing the high demand and high profits that are associated with palm oil, the industry has stopped at little to produce as much of this commodity as possible. Sadly, this high pay-off for palm producers comes at a high cost to the environment and animal species where palm oil is grown.
Who are the victims of this deforestation? Animals like Sumatran Tigers, Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans, Sumatran Rhinos, Malayan Sun Bears, and Pygmy & Sumatran Elephants. These animals play a vital role in the ecosystem of Indonesia and Malaysia. Unfortunately, there are only 1500 pygmy elephants and 2400 Sumatran elephants left. According to WWF factsheets, these “elephants feed on a variety of plants and deposit seeds wherever they go, contributing to a healthy forest ecosystem.”
While you may not be buying ivory, contributing to the demise of the African Elephant,
chances are you are buying palm oil, otherwise known as liquid ivory,
that is directly contributing to the demise of the pygmy and Sumatran elephants.
Elephantopia board member Drusti Klein recently wrote for The Blue Dot Post about elephants and palm oil. Below is a short documentary she shared with us by Journeyman.tv that details how the demand for Palm Oil is destroying a keystone species, the elephants.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Say NO to PALM OIL: look carefully at the labels on your products. When possible, purchase items with the RSPO label to ensure ensure you purchase products made with certified sustainable palm oil. Can’t find the RSPO label? Then look for the Green Palm label to purchase products that support the transition to certified palm oil.
2. Check out these links for other ways to be PALM OIL FREE:
- Put Down the Palm Oil: Planet-Friendly Alternatives For Your Home
- An Inconvenient Truth: Vegan Products and Palm Oil
- How to Wean Yourself Off Palm Oil
3. SPREAD THE WORD - educated consumers can make a difference for what’s on the shelves in stores! Be sure to share this post with your friends and family.