Palm oil is an immensely popular ingredient, using in many of the products that end up in our homes; in fact, it’s so popular that it can be found in over 50 percent of consumer products. Cheap and versatile, it ends up in a number of different items ranging from cosmetics and cleaning products. But the low price of palm oil comes at a devastating cost to the lands where it’s grown.
In order to support the growing demand for palm oil, massive amounts of rainforest are cleared via a “slash-and-burn” method that leaves whatever creature who survives this traumatic experience without a home. In Sumatra, orangutans fall victim to the illegal pet trade if they survive being shot on sight, while tigers, rhinos, and the Sumatran elephant are being pushed to the brink of extinction.
At this point in time, there are as few as 1,000 Sumatran elephants left in the wild and those numbers will continue to decline unless we take a stand for these creatures – and, not to mention, all the other creatures whose lives are impacted by the loss of rainforest habitat. It’s estimated that we lose up to 300 football fields worth of rainforest every hour in order to make room for palm oil plantations. We have to ask ourselves: is the low cost of our snacks worth it if we’re driving another species into extinction? That’s not the world that conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton wants to live in and it’s not the world that we want to live in.
Are our snacks really worth losing this?
An image can be a powerful weapon or a tool for good — a fact that Hilton knows all too well. Using only a camera, Hilton has been working to remind people of the too-often forgotten victims of the price of convenience. Today, he’s asking our help to help save Sumatra’s elephants, one of the many majestic creatures that we stand to lose at the hands of the palm oil industry.
Hilton is currently working with the International Elephant Project, raising funds to establish Elephant Patrol Units, which would help take care of the many elephants left helpless and injured as a result of deforestation. You can help Hilton by donating here and sharing this article!
Image source: Paul Hilton/Instagram