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Why companies need to stop using palm oil

Although not discussed often, the palm oil industry is destroying our rainforests. Palm oil can be found everywhere, from our foods to cosmetics; from our cleaning products to our fuels. Twenty-seven million hectares (one hectare = 107,639 square feet) of our Earth’s surface is consumed by palm oil plantations. The rainforest is being clear cut, day after day, to make more room for these plantations. This makes the plantations part of the staggering statistic that 150 acres of the rainforest are lost every minute.

So why is palm oil the vegetable oil of choice if it is causing such major repercussions to our precious ecosystems? The answer is, you guessed it, money. Palm oil is the cheapest form of vegetable oil. Because of this, it is in about half of all supermarket products, with 66 million tons

produced annually. 

According to Rainforest Rescue, “…almost half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used as biofuel. Since 2009, the mandatory blending of biofuels into motor vehicle fuels has been a major cause of deforestation.” 

The problem with palm oil being used as a biofuel is the high amount of carbon dioxide and methane emissions. In fact, these high emissions cause biofuels that use palm oil to have three times the impact on our climate than traditional

fossil fuels.

As for the crisis of deforestation, the clear cutting associated with palm oil farming not only takes away the trees that keep our air clean, but also causes the habitats of endangered species to disappear. The following species are just some that are threatened, but many more are in danger (all statistics from the World Wildlife Fund):

  • Sumatran Tiger – critically endangered
    • about 400 – 500 left in the wild
  • Orangutan – critically endangered
    • 104,700 (Bornean), 14,613 (Sumatran), 800 (Tapanuli) left in the wild
  • Borneo Pygmy Elephant – endangered
    • about 1,500 left in the wild
  • Sumatran Elephant – critically endangered
    • 2,400 – 2,800 left in the wild
  • Sumatran Rhino – critically endangered
    • Fewer than 100 left in the wild

However, we can change this as consumers. Check your labels. If they say palm oil, don’t buy it. Find an alternative, whether it be a different brand or a different product all together. If people stop buying, the companies WILL change, as they are all money driven. Do it for the sake of our planet and for the sake of the innocent, helpless animals. You CAN make a difference. So please, boycott products that use

palm oil.

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