Why you should avoid using Palm Oil
Palm oil is used in many things from chips and baked goods to shampoo and cleaning products to an oil used for cooking. It is the most widley used vegetable oil in the world. It even sounds healthier because it’s different from GMO vegetable oil like canola. It comes from a palm fruit grown on an African oil palm tree so what could be unhealthy, harmful, or unsustainable about that? Well it’s contributing to the death of thousands of orangutans and many other animals who live in the forests. Not to mention, it’s affecting the indigenous people and the environment.
Orangutans, tigers, many other species and, not the least, indigenous peoples and their cultures are being bulldozed out of existence. Every hour 300 football fields of precious remaining forest is lost in Malaysia and Indonesia to make way for palm oil plantations.
Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, and as such, is considered “a conservation emergency” by the UN. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year for this development. The orangutan is a keystone species and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. An example of this being the spread of rainforest seeds in Indonesia, many of which can only germinate once passed through the gut of an orangutan, hence this primate is essential for the existence of the forest. But the orangutan is not the only species affected by palm oil development; their situation represents the story of thousands of other species facing the same fate in South-East Asia.