Today’s Green Tip: Another Reason to Read Labels

Posted by & filed under Eco-Wise.

The problem with palm oil

If you’ve seen my post about How to Read a Nutrition Label, then you know the importance of reading them.  I’m pretty sure that most of us by now know that we should read the ingredient list to make sure there isn’t an ingredient we’re allergic to, high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils.

But have you ever thought about checking the ingredient list for items that could cause habitat destruction?  Orangutan deaths?  Species loss?

When you have a keen interest in rain forests, like I do, then this is exactly what I do.  The cool thing for you, is I can make this super easy for you.  There is ONE ingredient (under many names, sadly) and ONE ingredient only that if you can avoid it most of the time, you will have done a GREAT GREEN DEED and with no sweat off your back.

Palm Oil.

If you’ve seen my posts for a while, you’ve read this before, but it really is worth the reminder. Here’s the skinny:

  • Palm oil is the cheapest [food] oil grown (per hectare – 2.5 acres)
  • No one seems to technically “own” rain forests, other than governments, so the land is cheap
  • The land is bulldozed or burnt down to clear the existing plants and trees.
  • No one bothers to “clear the area”.  If you are an orangutan living in a tree and don’t get out before the dozer or fire hits, then you don’t get out at all.
  • The land is then planted with palm trees and palm trees only.

The problems are:

  1. Severe Orangutan disturbance – babies orphaned, mothers killed, parents and babies starving to death (no lie) because of loss of habitat.
  2. You never know what we’re wiping out in a rain forest when we are blanketly wiping it out.  The Rosy Periwinkle, which cures 95% (ish) of childhood leukemia, which grows and was discovered on the island of Madagascar, in the rain forest. What if that had been wiped out before it was discovered?

All you gotta do:

Read labels and unless it says “organic palm oil” (which is up for debate), avoid it if you can.  Also known as:

  • Palm Kernal Oil
  • Palm Fruit
  • Sodium Laurel Sulphate (found in body care and shampoos)

Plus a ton more.  CLICK HERE for the complete list and a more comprehensive story.  It is worth the 5-10 minutes to educate yourself.  This ONE thing can have a big impact.  Thanks for checking it out!!!

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