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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Destructive Palm Oil Plantations are Ruining Tropical Ecosystems

Many people are getting behind the idea of biofuels: oils and alcohols coming from plants grown in tropical and continental regions around the world. It helps stave off our addiction on limited fossil fuels that pollute more when used, and are growing more and more expensive every day. However, the way we grow biofuels is very low-tech, and often removes more resources from the earth than by simply drilling for oil or natural gas. In the tropical rainforests of southeast Asia, old-growth forests that support rare and endangered tropical species are being torn down in order to grow palm trees. While they bill it as sustainable reforestation of deforested lands, and a way for the poor to make money, these plantations do not support any of the native species that the ocne thriving rainforests once held. Heres an image of a palm oil plantation in Indonesia. You tell me that this looks like a rebuilt rainforest
Now, it is true that millions of poor people in developing countries are relying on palm oil plantations for newfound income. The World bank instituted a moratorium in 2009 on loans for new plantations, in order to look at the pros and cons, but on Friday they lifted this ban, and reinstated loans for new palm oil operations. This is cause for alarm. There are better ways of supporting the World's poor. Join investment programs in small merchants, sustainability programs promoting native exports rather than imported foreign palm trees, and smart city growth in order to build businesses and grow to become more developed countries. If these developing nations rely solely on foreign investment for a single source of income, they may end up mistreated, run by cartels, and abused in the world economy for their cheap labor.

We need to become more aware of the destruction of rainforests and look more closely at the "remedial" programs that may really be hiding the ugly truth: Palm oil plantations are doing no good to our tropical ecosystems.

What you can do to help: look for products that use palm oil. The most common are health and beauty products such as shaving gel/foam and liquid soap, as well as cooking oils. Peanut and sunflower oils are the ecological choice, they can be grown in the US locally without environmentally expensive transport costs. Do your part!

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16 comments:

Patres said...

As usual, nature paying for our greediness. But we are paying an expensive price for it as well by destroying these ecosystems, we're too daft to see it.

psyke said...

I had no clue about this. Sadly, there are no palm trees where I live.

R. Cutts said...

supermarkets here in Australia run programs that stop the stocking of products with palm oil in them and I'm all for it.. There is a documentary available that showcases the destruction to flora and fauna because of these people..
good post

PsyRae said...

Or we could just go for electric cars. But killing off the need for oil would hurt the economy too much, so I guess it's a no-go for now...

ds said...

First thing that came to my mind was a clip from simpsons where Homer dreams of alcohol fueled car. He first refuels the car and then himself. "One for you and one for me" :D But seriously you have a good point here. And it's not only because of palm trees that they destroy those rainforests. Money talks. :/

mac-and-me said...

that is sad

Danny Murphy said...

Its unfortunate but until we move away from a fossil fuel economy we need to get oil from somewhere.

Randy truckguy! said...

Makes ya sad :(

Rancor said...

too sad that this shit is happening :(

JuX said...

This is a sad post. And pal oil is completely unnecessary

Jellybro said...

I'm sick and tired of countries exploiting the environment for monetary gain.

Ares said...

Man ill have to take a look I had no idea that palm oil was destructive. Its a damn shame so beautiful down there.

-DO- said...

;( that really sad. it's a mad world

Lemmiwinks said...

i like your blog. keep up the good work

Tibble said...

Thats awful.

Pappa Püllï said...

They shouldnt do that, this is lame :(

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