Palm oil is grown in tropical regions and can be found throughout our grocery stores, both in beauty products and processed food. Palm oil is a vegan alternative to dairy products, and because it does not come from animals, it is often thought of as a sustainable alternative; however, palm oil plantations are causing huge amounts of environmental devastation throughout the tropics. Palm oil plantations usually begin as a patch of tropical rainforest that is logged and burned. Then, where thousands of species once stood, palm tree after palm tree are planted in their place. These monoculture plantations support literally zero diversity and the numerous animals and insects that need a variety of plants on which to thrive no longer have a place to live.
Some tropical areas are seeing huge swaths of forest cut down every year to make way for more and more profitable oil palm plantations. National Geographic had a great article about this awhile back entitled Borneo's Moment of Truth. It is an article I often have my students read and it is well worth it.
So, start to make note of what is in the food you buy and WHERE it comes from. Some oil palm is grown sustainably, but more of it is destroying rainforests and the creatures that inhabit them. Just because your treat is vegan does not necessarily mean it is good for the planet!
For more information check out the website Roundtable on Sustainable Palm. Also, Greenpeace has created a video about palm oil plantations and Dove products. You can watch the Greenpeace video here
Pin It Now!