Palm oil is an ingredient found in about half of all packaged products sold in a supermarket - everything from crackers and ice cream, to cosmetics and detergent.
Here's a New Year's Resolution that not only helps the environment and protects animals, but is HEALTHY for you too! Avoid purchasing products that contain palm oil. Here's why:
- Palm oil has become one of the world's leading causes of rainforest destruction, hurting some of the most diverse ecosystems (and driving iconic wildlife species like the Sumatran orangutan to the brink of extinction in Indonesia). 90% of the global palm oil supply is from Indonesia and Malaysia.
- Large scale destruction of rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands is releasing globally significant quantities of carbon pollution, contributing to human-induced climate change.
- Palm oil is very high in saturated fat, which has been linked to increased cholesterol levels, heart disease and stroke.
- Palm oil companies often have widespread human rights violations - they remove Indigenous Peoples and rural communities from their lands, and some employ child and slave labor.
Palm oil is most commonly found in processed foods, which are not the healthiest for you anyway - avoiding products with palm oil will not only be better for you, but better for our planet. Other common names for palm oil on ingredient lists include palmate and palmitate.
In addition to boycotting products with palm oil, check and see if your bank invests in/supports these activities. Bank of America, for instance, is a huge investor in palm oil plantations. Luckily, local credit unions and banks like New Resource Bank don't invest in these sorts of destructive activities. There are things we can all do to make this planet a better and more vibrant place to live, for all creatures.
(Photo from Union of Concerned Scientists)