The Dangers of Palm Oil – Student Blog

Image Source: Rainforest Action Network

I’m sure you have eaten a store-bought snack at least once in your life. When you wonder how it could stay good for longtime, the secret is palm oil (I think you knew that already). Palm oil is harmless alone, but 65% of the whole world needs palm oil, and very few countries can grow palm oil, since palm trees only grow in tropical countries.

Companies need palm oil since it gives their products a longer shelf life. So, companies are demanding more palm oil supplies from farmers. However, due to the limited area available for farmers, they have resorted to cutting down the oldest rainforests to make space for palm tree plantations. These rainforests have been there for millions of years and cutting down these trees have caused destruction of several habitats and extinction of many animal species as well.

Apart from destruction of rainforest, the farmers are also burning the leftovers after extracting the palm oil, which is contributing to the greenhouse gases.

Palm oil is found in many products such as our favorite snack foods like ice cream, cookies, crackers, chips, chocolate products, instant noodles, cereals, doughnuts and even in our shampoo and soaps. It is also used as a bio fuel for cars as an alternative to fossil fuels.

The needs of the western world are causing devastating destruction on the eastern side of the world. There are 20 companies in this world that makes most of our snacks. Many of these companies are still obtaining palm oil in a very unsustainable manner and hence it is called as Conflict Palm Oil. From 2005 to 2012, we have imported 2.7 billion pounds and it has as much saturated fat as butter. We need to put more pressure on these companies, so they ensure their palm oil is obtained in only sustainable manner and also, they need to figure out other ways to make their products.

It is better to make homemade foods so that way you can avoid using palm oil in many foods. We need to stop cutting down the trees in the rainforests as it would take at least 3 million years to return the rainforest back to its original state.

Let’s support organizations such as Rainforest Action Network, who are working hard and putting pressure on the companies to make changes and adopt sustainable practices. We as consumers can also make changes to our lifestyle and eat fresh home-cooked snacks and food. Let’s all do our part to reduce the need for palm oil and protect the rainforests of this world.

About The Author:

Gilben Luis is a 12-year-old going to Walters Junior High School in Fremont. He is very bright and energetic. He is interested in video games, science, and wants to choose a career in anything related to science.