December 1, 2012

Birth of a baby Orang-utan.


Update: Orangutan experts plead for Australian food manufacturers to reject palm oil – Apes, elephants, rhinos & tigers at dire risk if unsustainable palm oil plantations allowed in Sumatran reserve (theguardian.com)

Birth of a baby Orang-utan.

When we buy these, we lose this.

Palm Oil isn’t “Green” or Vegetarian. And it’s in 50% of our favorite grocery store.

I was sitting around this morning, enjoying December 1st, reading the NY Times and drinking organic fair-trade coffee and eating organic oatmeal with Earth Balance, a locally-based company I love to love. And then I read the side of the container.

“Palm fruit…soy bean…”

I’ve blogged this stuff up. Palm oil kills orangutans, and forests. Soy beans kills the rapidly vanishing Amazon, the “earth’s lungs.” Now, Earth Balance is a great company. Palm oil is in 50% of all products.

But it’s time to make a change. And change starts with us. So let’s make some (respectful) noise—and ask those companies we love and support with our hard-earned dollars to get responsible. For now, there’s alternatives (listed here—or just remember that if it’s pure, real food with less than five ingredients, we’re probably good)—peanut butters etc that are simple, real food and don’t use palm oil.

They’re scheduled for extinction in 10-20 years. They’re renowned for their intelligence.

When we buy these products—food, toothpaste, deodorant—products that contain palm oil or “vegetable oil”—this is what happens.

If we’re vegan or vegetarian, and you eat palm oil or palm fruit or soy bean oil or vegetable oil, we aren’t vegan or vegetarian.

Palm oil is an extremely popular vegetable oil amongst manufacturers. It is used in over 50% of products, including: baked goods, confectionery, cosmetics, body products and cleaning agents. But in many countries, there is no law on the mandatory labelling of palm oil. Consequently, companies will usually hide palm oil under the name of ‘vegetable oil’, or over 170 other names! (See the list of the most common 30 names below).

(Click here for a slideshow of just a few organic products that use palm oil, via BlissTree)


After this campaign, Dove changed. Let’s make noise. Organic and vegan brands should be the first to change:

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Emma Dec 27, 2013 2:19am

Waylon, thank you. I had no idea about palm oil until I lived in Costa Rica. Then I saw it, the acres of palms, the trucks of palm fruits, the fires. Howler monkeys running from their homes, burning alive in some cases. I've never been so saddened. The fact that you, and EJ, have been touting the dangers of palm oil makes me feel it isn't too late. Thank you for getting the word out. Education is key. Action is necessary.

aaron | inSeeds Apr 15, 2013 12:34pm


You are valid in so many ways, but like the general populous only sees, the Bad ones make it harder for the Good ones. It's your duty to be informed and spread the knowledge of change. Let's support the one's perpetuating the progressive change.

Palm Oil is a Nutrient Dense Medium Chain Fatty-Acid similar to Coconut Oil. More information can be found by searching around the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil's website.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.