Despite the fact that palm oil can be found in over 50 percent of consumer goods, many people do not even know this oil exists. Thanks to its incredible versatility, low cost, and shelf-stability, palm oil is used in everything from snacks to cosmetics and laundry detergent in the U.S. Unfortunately, although palm oil makes many of the things we use every day possible, it is also responsible for mass deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The palm plant thrives in warm, rainforest climates, and due to high demands for palm oil, the native forest ecosystem is often destroyed to make way for enormous palm plantations. Not only does this mean the loss of native trees and plant species, but also animal species. Habitat loss and destruction associated with palm oil has caused the orangutan population to decline by 50,000 individuals in the past two decades.
The drone footage in this video shows a huge swath of palm oil plantations in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Seeing the scope of this destruction against the backdrop of intact forest, we can’t help but wonder if our consumer goods are worth this?
The good new is, avoiding palm oil can be relatively simple if you know what you’re looking for. You can check out these tips to ensure that the products you buy aren’t funding destruction like this.