What Is Palm Oil And What Are Its Consequences?
How many of us actually know what Palm Oil is? How many of us care? How many of us are aware of it's consequences?
(Excerpt from 11)
"In reality it's over for the tiger, the
elephant and the orang-utan," said Mr Smits, who founded the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation. "Their entire lowland forest habitat is essentially gone already. We find orang-utan burned, or their heads cut off. Hunters are
paid 150,000 rupiah [$19.40] for the right hand of an orang-utan to prove they've killed them."
(1,3,4,5,6 & POW) Palm Oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fruit of the Oil Palm that is high in saturated fat. Over 50% of the products in a typical NZ supermarket contain it, from crackers, to chocolate, even cosmetics!! Because of Palm Oil's durability, and it's high yield (a single hectare of palm plantatation can produce up to SEVEN TONNES of oil) Palm Oil seems like the answer to the problem of rapidly decreasing fossil fuels- or does it??
(1,2,3 10,16 & PK) Every year, millions of acres of rainforest & Indonesian peatlands are being cut down or burned to be replaced by Oil Palm plantations, especially in South America. Because trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, this declination of rainforest increases the carbon emissions released into the air we breathe. Peat stores huge amounts of carbon, which is released when the land is set on fire.Estimates say Indonesia's fires generate 1,400m tonnes of carbon dioxide each year,
making it the 3rd largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world!. Over time, this could contribute to an unhealthy balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our atmosphere.
(1,3 5,6, 16 & POW) But Palm Oil production does not just affect the atmospherical make-up of earth, it also endangers many exotic animals due to habitat loss, such as the Orang-utan and Sumatran Tiger , animals that are already under threat. These species are forced to either move out of their habitat or perish, and gradually they are being driven into settlements where they are killed, or fighting to the death over the remains of their natural habitat.
(POW, 4, 5, 12 & 16)
The issue of Human Rights abuse relating to Palm Oil is very controversial. Some companies, organisations, and individuals claim that Palm Oil plantations immensly benefit local people, as it provides vast employment which gives them the money to provide for their families. Others argue that workers are often exploited , paid low wages, and, in some cases, physically abused. Native people relay on the rainforest for their water source, food supply, and shelter. If it was to be cleared, their homes, along with most of their culture, would be destroyed, and their way of life would be drastically altered. Often, the plantatations that caused this alteration in lifestyle will be the inevitable employment source for indigenous people. If land is cleared, they lose food and medical supplies. Unable to provide for themselves, employment is required in order to earn money for supplies, and often the only employment source is plantations, where workers are often mistreated and exploited.
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