Why the World Needs to Use Sustainable Palm Oil | Teen Ink

Why the World Needs to Use Sustainable Palm Oil

September 27, 2019
By Scorpio BRONZE, Marietta, Georgia
Scorpio BRONZE, Marietta, Georgia
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
In the end, we will only conserve what we love, we will only love what we understand, we will only understand what we are taught.
-Baba Dioum


877,000. That’s how many acres get cleared for palm oil plantations each year on the island of Borneo. As of 2018, palm oil plantations cleared some 32,000 square acres on what was once an island paradise with ancient rainforests containing extensive biodiversity (Rosner 2018). The world needs to start using sustainable palm oil because of the damages that unsustainable palm oil causes to the environment, the species affected by palm oil, how easy it is to switch to sustainable palm oil, and what will happen if we don’t.

Critics state that a switch to sustainable palm oil isn’t necessary. One reason is it is easier for them to clear land and plat oil palms. However, this causes extensive environmental damage. The most common method plantation owners use is slash and burn. Support for this method suggests it produces more farmland. However, the plantation owners, not the local community, use the farmland. The slash and burn dilemma is huge amounts of CO2 are released into the environment. Critics also state that sustainable palm oil isn’t a possibility. To some extent, they are correct. Sustainable palm oil causes less deforestation, but doesn’t eliminate it. In that respect, you could argue sustainable palm oil doesn’t exist. However, society is too dependent on palm oil for us to eliminate it.. Products ranging from biofuels to baby formula contain palm oil. As bad as palm oil is, its alternatives are worse. Understanding the effects of palm oil as a whole assists in recognizing specific species affected by palm oil.

There are many species that affected the palm oil, both plants and animals. Two of the most famous species affected are orangutans and tigers. There are two species of orangutans, the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, affected and two species of tigers, the Sumatran and Malayan tigers, affected by palm oil (World Wildlife Fund 2019). Another species affected by palm oil that not many people know about is the cassowary. Cassowaries are a large species of flightless bird native to Papua New Guinea and Northern Queensland. A final species affected by palm oil is the Borneo pygmy elephant, a subspecies of Asian elephant found only in Borneo (Jayasinghe 2019). Now you may be wondering how hard it is to switch to sustainable palm oil.

Switching to sustainable palm oil is actually pretty easy to do. The biggest organization that certifies people for sustainable palm oil is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). One of the requirements involves the environment. Plantation owners are unable to clear areas with high amounts of biodiversity or fragile ecosystems. Another requirement involves human rights. You have to observe the minimum age requirements and minimum wage for the country you’re in. You also have to work with the local community, since many of them likely work on the plantation, so you are required to be transparent with them. One of the biggest benefits to switching for plantation owners is that many big companies such as Nestle, Kellogg, and Proctor & Gamble are switching to sustainable palm oil and boycotting unsustainable palm oil. Now that you know about how easy it is to switch, have you thought about what would happen if we don’t?

If we don’t switch to sustainable palm oil there will be very bad side effects. One of the biggest side effects of not using sustainable palm oil is the extinction of many species. Not using sustainable palm oil can also affect people too. We are all a part of this earth, and if we ruin it with palm oil, we are killing our species. Finally, not using sustainable palm oil could greatly affect the whole world. As you can see, there are many good reasons to use sustainable palm oil.

The world needs to use sustainable palm oil because of the damages that unsustainable palm oil causes to the environment, the species affected by palm oil, how easy it is to switch to sustainable palm oil, and what will happen if we don’t. Every day, the situation is getting worse for species and people in Southeast Asia and Central Africa. The world needs to use sustainable palm oil if we want to save some of the world’s most biodiverse areas.

 


 

References.

Jayasinghe, N. (2019). Borneo pygmy elephant. Retrieved from worldwildlife.org/species/borneo-pygmy-elephant.

Rosner, H. (December 2018). Palm oil is unavoidable. Can it be sustainable? National Geographic. Retrieved from nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/12/palm-oil-products-borneo-africa-environment-impact/

World Wildlife Fund (April 2019). Palm oil. Retrieved from wwf.panda.org/our_work/food/sustainable_production/palm_oil/


The author's comments:

        All across the world, palm oil plantations are destroying hundreds of acres of rainforests. The uses of palm oil are immense, since it is in everything from biofuels to infant formula. However, the current way that plantations harvest palm oil is unsustainable to the environment and is one of the biggest sources of deforestation in the world. It also affects hundreds of species native to the habitats that plantation owners are destroying for palm oil. This paper is an attempt to bring the consequences of the current method of harvesting palm oil to light and to discuss how to switch to sustainable palm oil. The author uses articles from world renowned institutions such are the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and National Geographic to accomplish this goal. The hope for this paper is that it will make people more conscious of the palm oil and how it can affect the world. 


Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 0 comments.



Smith Summer

Parkland Speaks

Campus Compare