The Secret Ingredient by Abbie Barnes

Nov 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Youth Blog

Have you ever eaten Starburst or Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, or used Herbal Essences or Dove?
Along with innumerable other products they all contain one environmentally lethal product;
Palm Oil.

Orangutans, elephants, tigers and countless other animals suffer endlessly in the name of Palm
Oil. Their rainforest homes in Borneo, Sumatra and Indonesia are being destroyed at an alarming
rate in order to raise plantations of this crop. Some of the rarest habitats on earth are being torn
apart and cleared by fire, which holds no mercy towards the natural world.

Orangutans share 97% of human genes, making them one of our closest relatives. They are
highly intelligent creatures; able to feel intense emotions and live together in close communities and families. More often than not, families of orangutan are shot; the young ripped from their dead parent’s arms and thrown into crates for sale. Any orangutan which manages to flee the scene faces the loss of their relatives and the mammoth task of escaping their burning surroundings. Imagine the pain they would be feeling. If people came and burned our towns and villages, killing people in the thousands, it would be classed as murder.

The tiger, king of the forest, is facing the ongoing threat of deforestation and these astounding beasts are being forced into human territory. With their habitat destroyed, cattle are their only source of food. Here they are caught; either shot for their valuable hide, or sold to the circus trade. The master of camouflage is now lying dead on someone’s floor. Is this really how we want to see these magnificent animals?

Malaysia is home to the protected sun bear. However, protection since 1973 has done very little to ensure their existence. Again, straying into farmers land ends with cubs being sold, and their parent’s hides and meat traded at the local market.

What is all this grief for? – Palm oil. The substance found in almost every household product; labelled as vegetable oil or other bizarre names that mislead people. Very few actually know the truth behind this unhealthy ingredient, therefore no action is taken.

After reading this information, you may go away and put it to the back of your mind; but whilst you are eating that biscuit, keep in mind that you could be contributing to the loss of
unimaginable beauty and all its creatures. With Global Warming almost certainly happening, burning one of our only natural filters isn’t useful. It will be you and the next generation who will suffer. When our generation is old enough to reflect, do we want to be focusing on the loss and grief that the world has had to face?

So what can you do? Simply telling people around you will help raise awareness. You could
write to your local paper explaining the unnecessary damage that is caused. Write to your local politicians; recommend a sign that could be introduced on every packet that claims it is palm oil free. If a company labels it, congratulate them, and ask if alternative oils can be used! From scrutinising the ingredients of products, to writing a letter, your concern will be appreciated by the hundreds of orphaned or homeless animals that are suffering needlessly. If we could only ask ourselves whether we would like to be in such a situation as this, we could end the unnecessary massacre and make our planet an honest and beautiful place.

By Abbie Barnes

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One Comment to “The Secret Ingredient by Abbie Barnes”

  1. bev says:

    here is a link to a page which lists the over 200 alternate names for palm oil . I have this list printed off and stuck on my toilet wall and read these ingredients each time I take a visit! I cant memorise them all but it helps me recognise this deadly oil when checking ingredients on products I am about to buy and gives me the option of NOT buying them and seeking an alternative.

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