We are trying to make the boys conscientious consumers. I grew up with the motto “live simply so that others may simply live”. We are always talking about and demonstrating…
– buying fruit and vegetables that are in season for our area, as it means they have not been transported far and this reduces the carbon footprint;
– turning out lights to reduce consumption of fossil fuels;
– conserving water;
– buying products made locally as much as possible;
– walking to local events rather than driving;
– reducing waste, and recycling.
A few years ago we were watching a documentary series about orangutans. From that series we learnt that the producers of palm oil are tearing down the forest to grow palms. The orangutans can’t eat the palms and they are starving to death. Straight away, we resolved not to consume palm oil.
Easier said than done. Palm oil and palm based ingredients are in a lot of products. To my horror, I purchased a packet of biscuits the other day – made in Australia and listed as containing vegetable oil – but I didn’t read the fine print which said that the “vegetable oil” was actually palm oil.
The boys have wrestled with this decision at times, they absolutely love instant noodles and scour the shelves looking for a product which doesn’t contain palm oil. Unfortunately many of these products are made in Asia, and although the packaging may say it contains vegetable oil, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is palm oil. It’s always an interesting conversation when they are weighing up direct (taste) over indirect (survival of a species) consequences. They ask why the palms can’t be grown commercially so the forest and thus the orangutans are not affected, and then comes a conversation about economics, exploitation, and population pressure. How complex can a simple little packet of instant noodles get? Apparently some palm oil is being grown commercially and sustainably in South America, but packaging usually does not communicate this.
Apart from all of the above, palm oil isn’t all that great for us, containing over 50% saturated fat.
Thank goodness, I found a website http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palm-oil-free-alternatives.aspx which has listed products in Australia which do not contain palm oil.
Maybe you have a similar website for the area where you live?