Educate Yourself About Palm Oil

Face Palm to Palm Oil

Palm oil is pretty nasty stuff. It doesn't offer much nutritional value, but is commonly used in over 50% of manufactured food products as well as health and beauty products. The problem with the stuff is how it's harvested. In order to harvest palm oil, referred to as "liquid ivory," you have to cut down a palm tree. In order to manufacture enough palm oil to meet the current global demand for it, you have to annihilate an entire rainforest. And that is exactly what palm oil manufacturers are doing. The affects on the rainforests of Indonesia have been absolutely catastrophic.

The deforestation has affected not only the animal and plant populations of the region, but also the native peoples who live in and depend on the rainforest for their way of life. The population most devastated by the palm oil industry though, has been the orangutans. In just the past 20 years, over 90% of the orangutans' natural habitat has been destroyed.

The palm oil industry may lead to the extinction of orangutans in the wild.
Image courtesy of

Small Things We Can Do

There are lot of things we can all do to help the effort to stop deforestation by the palm oil industry. You can sign petitions, contact manufacturers, donate, or adopt an orangutan. The easiest thing to do is stop buying products with palm oil in them.

I see palm oil showing up in the ingredient lists of even some of my favorite organic and eco-friendly (even "cruelty-free") beauty, health, and food products. The stuff is everywhere and tricky to avoid. Here are a few lists that I'm using to help me eliminate palm oil from my home.

There are also a lot of online petitions that you can sign; urging retailers, manufacturers, and politicians to stop using, selling, or harvesting palm oil. Here are just a few of them.

If you're interested in learning more about palm oil harvesting, or you want to get more involved, I urge you to visit the Say No To Palm Oil website. You can also check out the recommended reading, below.

Here's a video of a piece that was actually featured on NBC Nightly News all about how the palm oil industry is destroying the natural habitat of orangutans, and what we can do to help.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Further Reading

Update 7/30/2013
The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has a great Problem with Palm Oil Fact Sheet.