The African oil palm is the principal source of palm oil. This species of palm tree can grow only in the tropical regions of the planet, as a result, the growing demand for palm oil has had a negative impact on the environment, particularly to the world’s tropical regions. Palm oil can be found everywhere, from the food we eat, to the gasoline we use to fuel our vehicles.
It can be argued that boycotting palm oil is the solution to the negative environmental effects it has on the planet. However, the reality is that boycotting palm oil is almost impossible because this valuable oil is found in innumerable products. Palm oil is in everything. It’s the mostly widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, and is in roughly half of all packaged products sold in Western supermarkets” (The World Runs on Palm Oil, and That’s Fueling Climate Change). There is no end in sight for use of palm oil; on the contrary, demand for this profitable oil is increasing rapidly. The increase demand has led to the deforestation of tropical rainforests around the world.
Rainforests are burn down in a process called slash and burn in order to clear the land to plant more African oil palm trees. The deforestation of tropical regions has had catastrophic consequences. The growth in demand for palm oil has led to a large expansion of the land used to produce it. Because the oil palm’s range is limited to the humid tropics, much of this expansion has come at the expense of species-rich and carbon-rich tropical forests” (Vijay). The effects of deforestation of tropical regions has had negative consequences on the planet, the people, and animals living in these regions. Deforestation is a major contributor to global warming and if the trend of deforestation continues, it will only make the issue of global warming worse. It is important to put a solution to the problem of deforestation.
It is a responsibility of the habitants of this planet to preserve tropical rainforests and its endanger species. We owe it to the future generations. The solution to the deforestation due to palm oil demand is in the hands of consumers. There are currently various organizations that have made progress in the fight against irresponsible palm oil production. One major organization in this fight is The RSPO. “The roundtable on sustainable palm oil (RSPO) is an international non-profit association that aims to bring together multiple stakeholders to develop and implement strategies regarding sustainable palm oil” (Ivancic).
Public awareness at a global level needs to take place in order to educate consumers on the negative effect lucate consumers on the negative effects of the use of unsustainable palm oil, educated consumers have the power to force corporations to ensure their products are made with sustainable palm oil only. Palm oil demand is causing deforestation and loss of habitat for many species in tropical regions of the world, boycotting palm oil in order to save the remaining rainforests is not a feasible solution because palm oil is found in countless food and consumer products.
It can be tempting to want to boycott food and products that contain palm oil, unfortunately, boycotting palm oil is not a feasible option because it is an ingredient in innumerable things we use every day. “Palm oil and its derivatives are also common ingredients in many packaged and fast foods, personal care and cosmetic products, and household cleaners” (Viajey). Companies will always find a way to alter their packaging to hide palm oil from their list of ingredients. There are other solutions that are more attainable, and there are organizations and scientists looking for solutions to this problem.
Meanwhile, the world keeps loosing tropical rainforests by the minute. Every day, rainforests are being burned down in order to make room for the plantation of more palm oil trees. “The clearing of millions of hectares of previously untouched rain forest to make way for palm oil plantations destroys biological diversity and deprives endangered species — among them the rare Sumatran rhino — of their native habitat” (Palm Oil’s Deceptive Lure). It is catastrophic to think that the rainforests of the world are being destroyed, and thousands of species are being displaced from their natural habitats.
Native people of the area are also directly affected by the deforestation of tropical forests, they depend of the forests for oxygen, water and food. Although we might not be directly affected by the destruction of tropical rainforests, we are being affected indirectly by the effects that destroying tropical rainforests have on the global climate. Deforestation due to palm oil high demand is increasing global warming. Most people do not make a connection between wh they consume and their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, as previously stated, palm oil can be found in the majority of food we consume, and products we buy.
The deforestation due to palm oil demand has had helped the increased rate of global warming. “Tropical deforestation contributes approximately 15% to total global anthropogenic carbon emissions” (Ivancic). We need rainforests because they are the lungs of our planet, helping it absorb the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Tropical rainforests also produce the oxygen we breath. “Forests act as sponges to absorb greenhouse gases; destroying forests releases those gases into the atmosphere” (Palm Oil’s Deceptive Lure). It is hard for people to change their lifestyle in order to decrease the rate of global warming.
However, if rainforests continue to be destroyed, our quality of life will substantially decrease because of the effects global warming is going to have on the habitants of this planet. It is sad to know that given all the scientific evidence about global warming there are politicians that still deny the existence of this common threat. Fortunately, there are organization that are fighting to protect the rainforests from irresponsible palm oil growers, these organizations are coming up with solutions to the use of unsustainable palm oil.
There are international non-profit organizations that are trying to pressure companies to guarantee their products are made with sustainable palm oil only. One of this non-profit organizations is The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). They have developed a plan in which they will identify products that have being made with sustainable palm oil with a green palm sticker. “Only 9% of the palm oil produced worldwide is RSPO-certified. The logo would make it clear to consumers whether products contained sustainably sourced oil” (Phyllips).
This is a great way for consumers to start making well informed decisions about what they consume. If more people start buying only products that come from sustainable palm plantations, more companies are going to start using sustainable palm oil to made their products. It is in the hands on the consumers to stop once and for all the deforestation of tropical rainforests. “Consumers have the power to purchase goods with the RSPO logo and to also contact manufacturers and demand sustainably sourced ingredients” (Ivancic).
There needs to be more public pressure to force all companies to change to sustainable palm oil. Roughly 20 percent of the world’s palm oil is now RSPO certified” (The World Runs on Palm Oil, and That’s Fueling Climate Change). This means that eighty percent of the products we consume today are indirectly causing the deforestation of tropical rainforests. There needs to be a public awareness campaigns on a global level that addresses the negative effects of products made with unsustainable palm oil, if consumers continue to pressure companies to use sustainable palm oil only, perhaps the world’s remaining tropical rainforests can be saved.
The deforestation due to palm oil is having negative effects on the species and native people living close to the rainforests, boycotting palm oil is not a feasible option due to the innumerable uses of this valuable oil. The burning down of trees in tropical rainforests emit carbon dioxide which increases the rate of global warming. The best solution to this problem is to educate the people on the issue, and to promote the use of products made with sustainable palm oil products. When people come together they can achieve great things, it is our obligation to protect the world’s remaining rainforests for the future generations.