To me a world without orangutans is a world with less colour and less cuteness. Thanks to deforestation for farming in particular palm oil, their habitat is shrinking at a rapid rate. One of the easiest ways to help them, other animals and the environment is with your shopping basket.
Most of the deforestation of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforest is for palm oil or elaeis guineenis. It’s found in cooking oil, cakes, sweets, shampoos, cosmetics, cleaning products, toothpaste and washing detergents. It’s a high quality oil, crops provide high yields at low costs but it’s environmental impact has me avoiding it. Deforestation contributes to climate change, soil erosion, opens up accessibility for poachers and the illegal wildlife trade and indigenous communities are affected. It’s estimated 90% of organutans habitat has been lost in the last 20 years. That’s just one species. In Borneo alone there are 210 (44 found no where else) different types of mammals, 420 resident birds, 100 types of amphibians, 394 fish and 15,000 types of plants according to WWF. That’s not even including all the insects! New species are still being discovered every month and they all loose homes and habitat to deforestation. Indigenous communities also loose land to palm oil plantations.
I avoid buying products with palm oil in when I can. A completely boycott is tricky as it’s often labelled as vegetable oil, but when it’s on the label I put it back on the shelf. I like my orangutans, sun bears and gibbons! Until recently the only product I was using that had it in and had difficulty replacing was Palmers Coconut Butter. I’d used it for years and after a bad run in with eczema last year, I knew I had to find an alternative. It was also full of petroleum, the last thing I want to put on my skin. Cars run on that stuff!
It took a few lotions until I found it’s replacement: Alba Botanica Hand and Body Cocoa Butter Lotion. It’s has a subtle chocolate hint, easily absorbed but light weight, moisturising, contains no artificial colours, parabens or other nasty ingredients, is 100% vegetarian and not tested on animals. It also has shea butter, jojoba and macadamia oil in. In other words, one big tropical hug every time you apply it.
In Europe, it’s available from bathandunwind, amazon.co.uk and Iherb.
For information on the impact of palm oil production please visit here wwf and here wwf. For information on orphaned orangutans due to deforestation please visit here.
Are there any products you avoid using because of it’s environmental or social impact?
Orangutan image taken from dailymail.co.uk