Romeo Dean 0

Stop the lungs of the earth from crumbling in our hands.

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Did you know palm oil is not just killing orang-utans and our precious biodiversity, but it’s affecting your life and the lives of your children? I am Mr Demba Ba, a scientist from Animal Lovers Corporation and I have been overwhelmed, distressed and flabbergasted having discovered palm oils dirty secret. Recently I travelled to Malaysia with a fellow scientist in search for a particular rare gum tree. With so much deforestation occurring in the area our spirits and hopes were low, but finally an area of virgin rainforest provided us with enough biodiversity to create a possibility of finding one. We were lucky and took samples from the whole tree back to our lab in the UK. Extensive examinations provided us with a life changing discovery, a cure for AIDS. We impatiently returned to the site, only to find a disastrous outcome. The whole area had been logged, burned, cleared and was destined to hold thousands of palm oil trees. I found myself intrigued regarding the effects of the palm oil industry and I have researched exactly what impact it has on the biodiversity of the rainforest, the causes leading to such a high demand for palm oil and most of all how much of an impact is it having on deforestation. My research has clearly indicated that your current actions are significantly impacting the future lives of your children; infact the whole of the next generation. Is that what you want? If not, you desperately and urgently need to change your habits now. So I urge you to read on…act now to stop the lungs of our earth from crumbling in your very hands…

The palm oil industry is causing mass deforestation and killing thousands of plants, animals and insect species, causing many to become extinct. In fact, 28,000 known species are expected to become extinct in the next 25 years. This doesn’t include the numerous other unknown species becoming extinct every day, in fact, experts estimate 137 different forms of biodiversity becomes extinct every day. That’s 50,039 species going extinct every year. Now, what does Palm oil have to do with this? Well palm oil is a big part of the world’s agriculture and agriculture is the biggest cause of deforestation in the world. The rate of deforestation equals to loss of 20 football fields every minute and a shocking half of the world’s tropical forests has already been cleared. It is estimated that within 100 years there will be norainforests. Also, currently 121 prescription drugs come from plant-derived sources, that’s more than 25% of our modern medicines. The National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants that are active against cancer cells and 70% of those plants are from the rainforests. Experts now say that if there is a cure for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, it will come from the rainforests. So we have only discovered 14% of the world’s flora and fauna species and 48,919 unknown species are becoming extinct every year imagine how many of those could be useful to mankind, think of the medical and technological benefits it could have, yet we are continuing to expand our palm oil plantations and breaking the intricate ecosystem which keeps them alive. Think of the thousands of species becoming extinct every year, it is extremely disastrous, worrying and wasteful. Perhaps there is an undiscovered plant that is 50 times more effective than palm oil and could eliminate all these issues, but is endangered, destined to become extinct because of palm oil expansion driven by your greedy demand.

Palm oil is used extensively in foods and with rapidly growing populations across the globe, the demand for palm oil is rapidly rising. Among the 17 vegetable oils and fats, palm oil was the highest consumed oil in 2012, infact three billion people in 150 different countries used it in some form or another. Nestle, Kellogs, Pepsi, L’Oreal, Subway, McDonalds, Carls Jr, Burger King, Dominoes, Starbucks and Wendy’s all use Palm Oil in their products. That’s 11 major brands consuming massive amounts of Palm oil. In fact, in 2012, 52,000,000 tonnes were consumed. 50 years ago the world’s population was 2 billion, now we have reached 7 billion. This is causing the global demand for food to rapidly rise, taking the demand for vegetable oil with it. Palm oil is used because one hectare of palm oil plantation is able to produce up to ten times more oil than other leading oil seed crops. Since oil palms are so efficient 77% of Malaysia’s agricultural area is covered in palm oil plantations. Did you know that 62% of Malaysia used to be rainforest and now half of that has been logged? This is your fault, approximately 50% of the products you consume contain palm oil and because of your consumption global human demand is rising. So you’re causing the huge palm oil demand which is resulting in mass deforestation. Plantation space has to be found to meet your demand and yet thousands of undiscovered species are becoming extinct. Incredibly wasteful don’t you think?

The palm oil industry is causing mass deforestation of tropical rainforest in specific countries which have been classified as developing countries. Exploitation of these countries by affluent nations is inhumane. A developing country is a poor agricultural country that is seeking to become more advanced economically and socially. Malaysia is a developing country and with 58% of Malaysia’s forest now destroyed, palm oil plantations already cover 50,000km2. Indonesia, another developing country, is the biggest producer of palm oil and its plantations alone already cover 90,000km2 which previously held rainforest. Frighteningly 260,000km2 are projected for 2025. Did you know that an area of rainforest the equivalent of 300 soccer fields is being destroyed every hour! According to areport published in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) palm oil plantations are currently the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. An estimated 98% of Indonesian forest will be destroyed by 2022 mostly due to palm oil plantations. Palm oil is the cheapest vegetable oil by far. Its chemical properties make it very versatile in the food and chemical industries. It has a high melting point, making it smooth and easy to spread and around 50% of products in supermarkets contain palm oil, however, most of the time it is not listed on the ingredients as ‘palm oil’ and is hidden under a different name. Rainforests provide the perfect conditions for plantations because to thrive, oil palms need consistently high humidity and temperatures – and a lot of land - so even though it has the worst impact on the environment, rainforest is cleared for plantations. Industrial palm oil plantations have already cover 15 million hectares world-wide that were previously rainforest. Now that you have the knowledge that so much diverse rainforest is being destroyed it would be shocking and harmful if you did not act. There are indigenous people in the forests that hold generations of very valuable knowledge which could become useless if the forests are eliminated. We need to empower these people to share their knowledge, not condemn them for seeking to provide for their families and meet your ever increasing demands. We are completely vaporising unimaginable amounts of undiscovered, diverse and vital forests replacing them with rigid uninhabitable palm trees, this is incredibly wasteful and also completely unnecessary.

You shouldn’t be able to bear all these horrible statistics; deforestation is leading to the biodiversity of the rainforest becoming exterminated, the high demand for palm oil is driven by human greed and the resulting ever increasing impact of deforestation on the planet is unsustainable. Hundreds of potentially valuable plants, animals and insects are being completely exterminated every week. Every minute 20 football fields of rainforest with intricate fragile ecosystems and rich biodiversity destroyed forever. Global demand is escalating because of your actions and under developed countries are being exploited. Surely, armed with this knowledge, you feel the need to act instantly; to put a stop to this horrendous and disgraceful action. Go on the internet and sign all relevant petitions, research products that contain palm oil and avoid them at all costs. Most importantly spread the word as much as possible to everyone you know. It’s time for change and it can start with you. The baton is in your hands now, you need to start the race to saving the rainforest.

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