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Perils of palm oil

Student columnist says consumers must push for sustainable products

Student Life | Student View

By Brittany Taylor

Lately, it seems as though more articles, documentaries and news sources are focusing on palm oil.

Although it is a growing topic of discussion in our society, it is still unclear to many precisely what palm oil is and why it is causing concern among so many.

Speaking as someone who knew very little about the topic, I recently decided to research it further in order to offer a better understanding of what palm oil is and why we should care more about it.

So, what is palm oil?

Even if you are unsure of what palm oil is, chances are you have consumed it.

Palm oil is found in most of the products we eat. It can be found in items such as chips, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, pizza dough and bread . . . just to name a few.

Palm oil can be found in so many items is because it is a very versatile product and is extremely cheap to produce.

Not only can palm oil be found in food products, it can be found in many household items, as well. This includes items such as shampoo, detergent, soap and makeup.

The reason palm oil can be found in so many items is because it is a very versatile product and is extremely cheap to produce.

Why is it an issue?

The main issue with palm oil is that it is having a very negative impact on our environment.

Many believe it is one of the key contributing factors to climate change. This is because in order to produce palm oil, forests are burned down to clear land for oil palm plantations.

Aside from climate change, the production of palm oil has led to other environmental issues, such as deforestation and habitat degradation.

The burning of these forests on such a large scale in Indonesia have led the country to become the third-highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

Aside from climate change, the production of palm oil has led to other environmental issues, such as deforestation and habitat degradation.

Each of these environmental issues have, of course, created issues for the wildlife in these areas. It has led to the death and displacement of many of the animals that live in Indonesia and other palm oil-producing nations.

Not only does palm oil production have negative impacts on wildlife and the environment, it negatively affects the people of Southeast Asia, as well.

To keep production costs low, workers and children in Southeast Asia are being exploited, receiving little to no pay in order to produce this commodity.

Why should we care?

Since palm oil plays such a big role in our daily lives, we should most definitely care about it.

Sustainable palm oil production is possible.

We have the ability to read ingredient lists and opt for products that do not contain palm oil until sustainable palm oil is produced.

Sustainable palm oil production is possible. The only way to achieve this, though, is if we push for sustainable production methods to be enforced within our society and refuse to purchase products that don’t follow these methods.

Change is definitely feasible.

We just have to be willing to do our part in order to ensure that change occurs and sustainable methods are implemented.


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