Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Palm oil crisis can even tie to Halloween candy

Do the pros of using palm oil outweigh the cons?

By Christina Salvo
Monday, October 27, 2008 at 7:13 p.m.

COLORADO SPRING, COLO. -- Health concerns with trans-fatty acids found in partially hydrogenated oil has led the push for palm oil as a substitute. But its increased use is causing a domino effect, creating new problems.

Trees are cleared to create oil plantations. As oil plantations expand in South America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Africa, environmentalists say they are transforming the ecosystems and contributing heavily to climate change.

While deforestation accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, it also threatens the extinction of millions of plant and animal species, including the orangutans.

"The rainforest is crucial. They need it to be able to find food and shelter," explained Dina Bredahl, Animal Care Manager at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

In many areas, especially Indonesia, the rainforest is being leveled to make way for profitable palm oil plantations.

"Right now Indonesia is third highest as far as producing greenhouse gases in the world, yet they use so little as far as automobiles and other things like that. The problem is because of removing rain forests," said Bredahl.

Demand for palm oil is so high right now as people look for alternatives to trans-fat plus it can be cheaply produced, said Bredahl.

But many consumers aren't even aware any controversy exists surrounding palm oil farming.
"What you buy at the grocery store really does affect not just people in other countries, but animals as well and entire ecosystems," said Bredahl.

It's a bit of a balancing act weighing the pros against the cons of palm oil. In the meantime, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo encourages consumers to support companies that use sustainable palm oil vs. nonsustainable.

"Sustainable palm oil is produced by using already cleared land. That way you're not taking more rainforest away from orangutan and many hundreds of other species," explained Bredahl.
Click here to learn ways to help in the palm oil crisis.

source: fox21news.com

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