Together, we will make choices as though the future of the Earth depends on them. Because it does.
As we are rapidly discovering, the choices we make in our grocery carts affect our entire planet. One of the cheapest, most efficient crops on the market, palm oil, is in roughly 50% of the products we consume—biofuels, shampoo, pizza dough, shampoo and, yes, even some plant-based dairy products. And it’s having a catastrophic effect on our planet.
I founded my nut-based milk company milkadamia, as a way of raising awareness around palm oil, and as a major part of our It’s R Choice campaign, which showcases how we as consumers can make decisions with our wallets that will directly benefit the health of the planet.
As we approach Earth Month we think that the devastation to the planet and to the inhabitants, both human and animal, of Southeast Asia is something that needs to be widely publicized. Consider the following facts on palm oil:
- The farming of palm oil is directly responsible for one soccer field of rainforest being lost every second
- Malaysia, where palm oil deforestation is rampant, has lost roughly 90% of its original rainforest lands, most of which have been lost in the 30 years since we began consuming palm oil in so many products
- Palm oil is directly responsible for the well documented abuse of workers as well as grievous child labor violations
- Much of the land being destroyed in Southeast Asia is land that the indigenous peoples have lived off of for centuries
- Palm oil is destroying the habitat of endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino
- Palm oil is unhealthy for our bodies — 50% of palm oil consists of saturated fats which lead to high cholesterol and heart disease
- Big Food is trying to sell the fallacy that there is such a thing as “Sustainable Palm Oil”
- Palm oil is efficient and cheap, meaning it’s not going anywhere unless we act
In our home — a planet where chaos and beauty, so achingly, co-exist — our hope resides in the common-sense of ordinary folk. Nothing is achieved by directing blame-thirsty fingers outward, toward others and away from ourselves – we got into this together, we will experience it, or we will mitigate it, together.
Why be non-dairy? Why promote Regenerative farming? Why reject palm oil when 50% of grocery products use it?
Because even in this increasingly fraught era for our, slightly hand-me-down, yet fantastic planet, we believe steadfastly in the collective ability of people to bring their combined superpowers of meaning, purpose, and community to the fight. We will save that which we love.
Collectively, consumers can speak to the food industry in the language they listen most attentively to – their sales and market share. What we purchase to nourish and support our families – also feeds and supports the companies that produced it. Make them do it right! We, the consumers, have the most powerful and compelling voice. How will you use it?
Change often comes on a macro international level but often times the genesis of this change begins on a local micro one. You might have seen the recent story about one Girl Scout troop outside of New York boycotting the sale of their cookies after they learned they were made using child labor in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Can a group of young girls bring this issue to light in a way that governments can’t? We wouldn’t bet against them.