Jungle Fog in the Rainforest.

Palm Oil: No more monkeying around.

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to, and I’m so lucky to have moved back here after my attempt at the big city a couple of years ago. Inhabited by incredible creatures and land blanketed in stunning nature, a peninsula surrounded by the glorious, glassy ocean; home is a wonderful word to be able to call it.  

If anything like the infrastructure of a multi billion corporation came and over took the beauty here, damaging the wildlife and the homes of creatures that don’t understand, have nowhere else to go, and rely on their natural habitat, I would be doing everything in my power to stop it. 

So why isn’t more action being taken for scenes like this across the rest of the world? Is it blissful ignorance? Is it the feeling of being powerless, or lack of understanding? It is because it doesn’t have a direct impact on our day to day lives? Whatever the reason, it’s happening. And when Iceland tried to bring awareness to it through their Christmas advert, they were shut down for being too political. 

But we need these messages! These politics! This is what matters! As Mark Twain once so brilliantly said ” They don’t make land anymore“. So what happens when it’s all gone? Where do all the monkeys, tigers, birds of paradise, and other beautiful creatures go?

The destruction of the rainforests was once a hot topic, until it became “I know, I know” with a shake of the head and a sorrowful tone, followed by “so, weekend plans?” and a change of discussion. It needs to become a fashionable talking point once again, and whilst I can happily acknowledge that for some, the fight has never been given up, the majority still need educating. 

I never want to put a damper on things, but I do feel strongly about the increasing number of wildlife homes being destroyed for our love of cheap crisps and chocolate. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for chocolate on the weekend, but I’ll happily ditch the shiny smooth effect for the peace of mind that it’s not been made with palm oil, even if it gets a bit melty before I’m ready. – That is what the P’O does in chocolate, creates a firm standing, smooth shiny effect.

Here are some other items that you may want to switch up in an effort to save the rainforests during your weekly trip to the supermarket.

  1. Packaged Bread – these tend to be made with P’O because it is inexpensive and free of trans-fats. In and among all the other preservatives and chemicals that you will find in any item that is overly processed, you’d be far better off treating yourself to a locally baked artisan loaf and you can certainly justify it knowing that you’re doing your bit for the planet! 
  2. Soap – Many cheap soaps use Palm Oil for its ability to remove oil and dirt from the skin whilst simultaneously moisturise, however, this can also be achieved in soaps that use olive oil and other chemical free, environmentally friendly substances. 
  3. Detergents – Much like soap, most detergent products use P’O. However, Ecover and Method are two brands that can be sourced easily in your local supermarket but comply to the RSPO – Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, – all of which have assurances of their plantations and practices not contributing to deforestation. 
  4. Ice Cream – You wouldn’t really think of everyone’s favourite summer treat as an oily product, however big manufacturers use Palm Oil to make it smooth and creamy. You could, however, look into either making your own ice cream, switching to slightly more expensive brands. Still, some use it and some don’t, so it’s always better to check the label. 
  5. Nutella and Nut Butters – These all have a lot of ‘do they? don’t they?’ discussion and the clearest truth that I can find is that they do. However, some companies use sustainable palm oil. This doesn’t mean that it’ll last forever because ultimately, deforestation is a sad reality, and if companies are repopulating the Oil Palms for manufacturing products, it doesn’t stop the homes for the Orangutans being destroyed. However, the difference in RSPO and mas-sourced PO is that when plantations grow oil palms it has zero effect on the habitats or environment. Where unavoidable RSPO products are better than those without awareness and effort

There are many, many other products that have palm oil in them, and in some cases it is really hard to avoid! It’s a common ingredient in items ranging from lipsticks, to dog food. But, with a little more consideration as to where we shop, a little more time allowed to check the labels and as little as £1 donated to the petition below, the difference may start to show. 

Where you may be unsure, try to avoid these words on the labels as often enough they secretly mean palm oil….

Elaeis guineensis oil
Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate
Vegetable Oil – What vegetable? How vague…

To bring you back to the start, Iceland’s advert should, in my opinion, win awards for the awareness that it’s brought to light, the discussions sparked, the hearts captured, the understanding being learned, and the bravery for speaking out in an age where convenience passes over conscience. 

Malaysia, 2007. Deforestation for palm oil farming.

For all of that land destroyed, it takes 30 seconds to add your name to the petition link for you here. Please do your bit, and share this to allow someone else do to theirs. Thank you. 

If you are interested in RSPO, click here for a really easy to read and understand piece on it, by a brand I’m sure you’ll recognise that are doing what they can. Enjoy! 

images are not my own.