World Orangutan Day and Palm Oil

August 19, 2013

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Today is World Orangutan Day!  Frustrated Farmgirl celebrates these amazing primates today.  In fact, these creatures were a key contributor to the creation of Frustrated Farmgirl’s soap recipe.  They are one of the reasons why our soap contains no palm oil.  Here is an excerpt from a  post three years ago when we pushed forward with our palm oil-free soap recipe:

First, it’s destroying the habitat for the Sumatran tiger, Asian rhinoceros and the Sumatran orangutan- all of these animals are endangered. Second, many of the areas that are being leveled to raise oil palms are biodiversity hotspots. Biodiversity hotspots are areas where there is a huge variety of flora and fauna- much greater than in other areas. Third, many of the areas that are being de-forested to plant oil palms are peat bogs. There is a huge amount of carbon sequestered in peat bogs- when these bogs are leveled, it releases a significant amount of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. According to wikipedia, the destruction of peat bogs accounts for 4% of global greenhouse emissions. While palm oil production isn’t at fault for all of this, it is a contributor. Lastly, the land of the the Dayak people of Borneo is being planted with oil palms without their consent and despite their objections.

Today would be a great day to look in your cabinets to identify the products that contain palm oil.  It’s in a wide variety of products from crackers to cookies to cereal.  It’s also in almost all soaps.  The choice of where we spend our food and soap dollars truly does have an impact.  Who knew a bar of soap or a cookie mattered?  Apparently, it does.

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