Every minute, an area the size of 300 football fields of the world’s most dense, species rich forest is destroyed to create palm oil plantations.
Palm oil is used in 1 of every 2 packaged food products found in supermarkets worldwide. It’s in cosmetics, cleaning supplies, pet foods and household products. Used as a cheaper alternative to traditional canola or olive oil, palm oil extends the shelf live of products. Global demand for palm oil is expected to double in the next 20-30 years.
Palm oil is the most recent raw material being sought out for its cheap production costs. However, in the process of meeting this global demand, tropical rainforest and peat lands have been destroyed, ruining the homes and livelihoods of indigenous people and devastating some of the most biodiverse habitat in the world.
The expanded production of this cheap raw material has left a path of unbridled environmental destruction.
Hot and humid tropical forests are the only suitable environments for palm oil plantations. Once mature, these plantations may contain trees, but they contain only a small percentage of their original biodiversity.
Land clearing and burning for palm oil production has emitted billions of tons of C02 into the air causing smog and dangerous air quality. Palm oil production also leaves land unusable after plantations have moved on.
Palm oil production has left millions of indigenous people, who rely on forests for survival, sick, displaced and impoverished.
Health: Palm oil production is endangering the health of production workers in local communities. Oil Palm plantations use more than 25 different herbicides, pesticides and insecticides. Often working without protective gear, this has lead to pesticide poisoning, nail loss, nosebleeds, abdominal ulcers and comas in workers.
Education: When palm oil plantations are established, local communities are often pushed off their land. Forced displacement for palm oil production means more often than not, children have limited access to schools, especially beyond the primary level.
Poverty: Palm oil production promises economic developments for local communities by employing large local work forces. In reality, palm oil is one of the least labor-intensive agricultural commodities.
When it comes down to consumption, palm oil is just bad for your health.
With a saturated fat content of more than 51%, you are putting your own health on the line. Saturated fatty acids are a major risk factor for heart attack and strokes.
What can you do?
Take the Palm Oil Pledge at the top right of this page. Take Use your purchasing power to decrease demand for this destructive product.
Find out more here: http://www.rainforestfoundation.org/take-palm-oil-pledge