Palm Oil Grace Morton RPI EcoEd Research Program Middle School Research Program Spring 2012
Palm Oil • Every year over 1,800,000 hectares of forest is burned to make way for palm oil plantations • Palm oil is used in a variety of food products, personal care products, cosmetics and pet foods • Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm tree.
Palm Oil • Introduction • Palm Oil is in almost EVERYTHING • Palm oil production is a major factor in deforestation in Indonesia • Developing palm oil plantations releases carbon and inhibits its reabsorption • Palm oil consumption is unhealthy
Palm Oil • Overview of Research • Online sources • Scientific Articles • The EcoEd Group
Palm Oil Stakeholders • Animals • Orangutans • Tigers • Elephants • Rhinoceros • Leopards • Various small monkeys • Banteng (an Ox)
Palm Oil Stakeholders • Indigenous Peoples • Indonesia is a poor country • Palm oil sells for $555 a ton – it is in very high demand. • This is too much for Indonesia to give up, and it’s too cheap for the rest of the world to ignore
Palm Oil Stakeholders • Plantation Owners • Companies • Consumers • Harvesters and Processors
Palm Oil • Carbon • Carbon is the main component in most greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming • Carbon is usually stored in ‘carbon sinks’ such as the forest, where it is stored in the cells of plants • Carbon is released when the forest is burned to make way for palm oil plantations, or when unused parts of the oil palm trees are burned. • Indonesia releases more greenhouse gases than any country besides China and the US.
Palm Oil • Biofuel • Biofuels are used as a substitute for petroleum based fuels • Palm oil can be used to manufacture biofuel • Fortunately, a lot of other materials can be used for the production of biofuels
Palm Oil • Human Health • Palm oil is loaded with polyunsaturated fat • Polyunsaturated fat is a particularly bad type of trans fat
Palm Oil • Solutions • Sustainable production of palm oil, such as Herakles Farm • Labeling • More Sustainable Oils • Alternative Products
Palm Oil • Conclusion • Palm Oil is bad for everything but the economy, and even the economic benefits are short term. • All products containing palm oil have more sustainable alternatives.
Special Thanks to Maureen for her time and effort in helping make this project enjoyable!