More and more people are turning toward more conscious living. The world is in dire need of a paradigm shift; we need to care and do more to protect the planet. One of the most destructive products on the market has been lurking in your home for years. Palm oil is one of the most mass produced and widely used vegetable oils in the world. It’s estimated that over half of the products on your supermarket shelves make use of this product, from your shampoo to your ice cream to your washing detergent.
Why is this oil so dangerous? Palm oil is harvested from the fruit of the African palm tree. These trees are found in areas of dense tropical rainforest in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. The clearing of these natural habitats for the construction of palm oil plantations has led to the destruction of thousands of acres of these irreplaceable rainforests. Palm oil production has been linked to this devastating and widespread deforestation that is endangering a host of animals, like orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers. Palm oil has had a particularly grave effect on the orangutan population of Indonesia. The species is being robbed of its habitat, mothers often starve to death while their young are taken to be sold as illegal pets. The destruction of these natural spaces has also caused many indigenous people to be displaced, losing their livelihoods and their homes.
Though sustainable palm oil production is possible, few companies are committed to modifying their production methods in order to reduce the impact on indigenous environments, animals and people. In an attempt to curb your own impact on the planet, be sure to check the packaging on your next supermarket purchase and say no to palm oil.