Heartbreaking Photo.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 8, 2013
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vegan palm oil earth balance orangutan

I’m “vegan,” not vegan. The number one ingredient in my Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, this morning? Palm oil. In plastic packaging. Neither should be considered vegan. ~ Waylon Lewis

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)

Palm oil should not be considered vegan: I know it’s hard to avoid, though!

If it Contains Palm Oil, is it Vegan? 

Photo: Orangutans cling on to last remaining tree after bulldozers destroy their home (thesun.co.uk)

This terrified orangutan clings tightly to a tree after its forest home was destroyed by bulldozers.

A scared baby gripping its mum’s back and a heavily pregnant ape were also caught up in the horrific ordeal.

They cowered up trees in part of the Borneo rainforest, which was brutally cleared to make way for a money-spinning palm oil plantation…read the rest, please.

This article ruined my day—but this issue is among those that inspire my life. It’s that balance that makes our saving the orangutans, and thus eventually the ecosystem upon which we all depend, and therefore eventually saving ourselves—possible.

To find out how to save the orangutan, simple: Avoid palm oil.

Problem is, it’s in many things. And it goes by many names. So know what it’s in, and what it can be called. Vegans, take note: it’s in half of what we buy.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & 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, is now available.


9 Responses to “Heartbreaking Photo.”

  1. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Very sad. But good to know about palm oil. I never buy it, now never will, but will have to check to see what else it's in!

  2. Blake says:

    I have been following this for some time now, and the missing link is always that we don't have a substitute for palm oil. Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm asking specifically for the food business. A dear friend just opened up a donut shop in my town and, with a big proud and happy smile, offered me a taste of her creation. I asked what she fried in and she responded palm oil…I actually felt so sorry for her when she saw my face. I was SO upset…she didn't know about the palm oil conflict. Now she's looking for a "sustainable" substitute. I have been trying to research substitutes for food, and cosmetics, but it seems pretty tough. Businesses, sadly, will do what they need to do…they aren't going to look too hard to find a substitute when what they are using works for the bottom line.
    It's really challenging to ask people to stay away from palm oil, then not give them help in finding another solution.

  3. DanielleDD says:

    This ruined my day as well (yesterday). I am so ignorant when it comes to palm oil but now I will be looking out for it. So sad. Sometimes everything seems so futile. I didn't want to read the article because the mere title of it but I am glad I did. It's the least I could do, to educate myself so that I try to minimize my contribution to the problem as much as I can.

  4. Boodiba says:

    Perhaps the most responsible thing for people to do would be to STOP breeding, since over population of humans is really what’s killing the planet.

  5. anon says:

    i have to agree with boodiba…we're busy culling lions and other animals but whos culling the humans? oh i forgot when america drops bombs on other countries…innocents…one way…what about other ways? we are killing the planet. am waiting with bated breath for the days humans get annihalated … it will be a day to rejoice 🙂

  6. Janet says:

    Coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. Expeller pressed so no coconut flavor, organic, excellent for you! Sustainably harvested. This is what you change to.

  7. MatBoy says:

    Yes, it is important to realize that demand in developed countries, like the US, is what is driving the problem. It is easy to think the problem is far away, but it actually starts closer to home. This is the same situation with drug demand in the US and gang wars in Mexico, or heroin consumption in Europe and drug cultivation and trafficking in Afghanistan and Burma, or even depletion of fish stocks internationally and consumption in the developed world. It is easy to blame this on businesses, but they are just responding to a demand. There is no worldwide regulation for the exploitation of natural resources, and if there were I doubt that the US would join in such a convention. Also, it is difficult for rich countries to tell less developed countries that they cannot exploit their resources! Imagine trying to tell Canada to stop exploiting their tar-sands because of its world-wide environmental impacts. The US would rather keep gas prices low and drive more than pay more for gas and drive less! Or how about an international body telling the US to stop mountain-top coal mining.

  8. Dee Anand says:

    Here in Australia, we do not have labelling laws that ensure companies disclose wether or not their products contain palm oil. They are simply required to label it as 'vegetable' oil (which could be anything!), making it difficult for one to make informed decisions when buying a product. Our zoo's have been rallying together for quite some time to call for transparency with our labelling laws, however the progress seems slow. http://www.zoo.org.au/get-involved/act-for-wildli

    I guess the best solution for the individual is to stop purchasing heavily processed products (at least half of which would contain palm oil), make everything from scratch and subtly influence others to do the same.

    I was just curious, is it a similar story over there or is it legally required that palm oil be labelled? Is there a general lack of awareness surrounding the subject?

  9. well i actually don't have a hard time imagining that.. it makes sense… you ma be able to divide land, but not the skies and sea… when you pee in a toilet the pee just doesn't stay in one side. Its reality lol. What I do have a problem imagining is all those moguls taming their power addiction-like hunger and egos. It is the people, their clients, their true resource that has to put a stop… and it can only happen with conscience and knowledge, which of course they pay for it to be conceded for it is not beneficial.. for they are lazy and don't want to look elsewhere or would just loose their profit altogether. It is their love and hunger of power and ego that is killing everything…