Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Orangutan Friendly Soap: Environmental Concerns Over Palm Oil & Orangutan Habitat

I wanted to share an excerpt and link to a great article which was published in the LA times recently explaining the concerns over the Palm oil industry. In summary, there is huge demand for palm oil internationally, which is negatively impacting Orangutans. The demand is being met is by cutting down rainforests in order to plant palm plantations. This is a concern from the standpoint of global warming, ecological diversity, and most tangibly obvious for the habitats of endangered Orangutans. Ironically, palm oil is one of the most common ingredients found in vegan and vegetarian soaps. Some soap makers use organic palm oil with the assertion that their consumption is not a factor in the environmental equation. As for me I feel more comfortable avoiding it completely so that I will not be adding demand to the palm oil market as a whole.

Here is the lead into the article as reprinted in the Seattle Times. Follow the link for the full report.

For Orangutans, Palm Oil is a Bust
by Paul Watson

TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK, Indonesia — In the rush to feed the world's growing appetite for climate-friendly fuel and cooking oil, the Bornean orangutan could get plowed under.

Several plantation owners are looking at Tanjung Puting National Park, a sanctuary for 6,000 of the endangered animals. It is the world's second-largest population of a primate that experts said could be extinct in less than two decades if an assault on its forest habitat is not stopped.

The orangutans' biggest enemy, United Nations experts said, is no longer poachers or illegal loggers. It's the palm-oil industry.

Photograph by Oliver Spalt licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5 and GNU Free documentation license.

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