Every day, thousands of animals are displaced from their habitats for the sake of palm oil plantations.
These days, palm oil is in half of all products in the supermarket. It is used worldwide on a devastating scale.
I read an article the other day about a bear. It was so disfigured from malnutrition after its habitat had been destroyed that when it crawled into a palm oil plantation, the workers thought it was an alien.
They beat it unconscious but didn’t have the decency to put it out of its misery. When it woke up, they chased it away to die, frightened, ill, malnourished, alone and in agony.
Aside from the devastating consequences for each individual animal, whole species of animals, birds and plants are becoming extinct due to palm oil.
This is proclaimed to be essential because nothing else possesses the same properties.
And yet it is detrimental to our health. It is high in saturated fats and it also increases our appetites, encouraging obesity.
As well as food, it is used in cosmetics such as lipstick and even toothpaste.
So all this got me thinking. What if we said no?
What if the celebrities, the bloggers, the vloggers and the influencers didn’t advertise products that contained palm oil?
What if the consumers didn’t buy them?
What if we all took the time to read the ingredients and the products that contained palm oil just stayed on the shelves, what would happen then?
What if we as consumers were to regain control from the companies using this horrendous ingredient?
Would all we all turn into bare faced hippies? Would we starve without the processed food that contains palm oil? Would our favourite brands all go out of business overnight?
I don’t think so.
The Guardian recently published an article about an alternative to palm oil that is currently in development. Actually, it’s a yeast that was originally used in wine making. I knew wine would save us all in the end.
Whilst there is some funding into this research, the rate at which forests are being destroyed dictates that there needs to be more.
And while the research is being done, perhaps we could just take a step back from processed food. Perhaps we could use ethical cosmetics, just for a while.
Anyone who has ever dieted will know that cutting out processed food is a great way to lose weight. You will also know how much better it makes you feel.
And if you can’t manage to read ingredients lists before making your food purchases, perhaps you could just make a few changes?
Take margarine as an example. Virtually all margarine contains palm oil and let’s face it, who the hell really needs margarine?
Or lipstick. You may (or may not) be relieved to hear that not all lipstick contains palm oil. So the next time you replace your lipstick, maybe you could consider purchasing an ethical brand that doesn’t use it.
I know it’s easy to bury your head in the sand and pretend this isn’t happening. I know it’s easy to say that it won’t matter if you carry on using palm oil, after all it’s only you. Everyone else can stop.
I know that because I’ve been doing it for years.
But sometimes, there comes a time when we have to do the right thing. What if that time was now, what if we said no?