The food we eat, the products we put on our bodies, and the items we use to clean our homes should not harm our health or our planet. To create a peaceful world, we must create and choose products with peaceful intentions.
Unfortunately, every day, quite possibly without even being aware of it, we’re consuming products created with gross doses of environmental destruction and human rights violations.
The production of palm oil, the world’s most widely consumed vegetable oil found in more than half of all packaged products sold in the grocery store, is a leading cause of rainforest destruction. This irreverent eradication of the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia is not only wreaking havoc on our intricate and diverse ecosystems—indeed, our almost ubiquitous reliance on palm oil is pushing wildlife species like the Sumatran orangutans, tigers, and elephants to the brink of extinction—but it’s adding to the burden we place on the planet: as more rainforests are cut down, greater quantities of carbon waste are released into the atmosphere. Trees so miraculously and naturally purify our air, breathing in the waste we breathe out: we cannot carelessly massacre huge swaths of forest without dire consequences to our health and to the survival of our planet as a whole.
Palm oil production is gratuitously unsustainable. Two million acres of biodiverse Indonesian rainforest is lost each year due to this carnage, with only half of the nation’s original rainforests remaining: we cannot get these expanses of beauty and natural habitation back. With more destruction looming, Sumatran orangutans are on the brink of extinction. According to the Orangutan Foundation International, only “drastic intervention” will save them.
It seems we’ve lost sight of our and the planet’s tremendous unity. We cannot forget that we are one: what we do to each other and the planet will come back to us. Our connection to the earth and our neighbors is undeniable and inextricable. The unconscionable production of palm oil on such massive scales is destroying our planet—the only thing we all have in common, the place that supports us, feeds us, holds up our homes—and pitting man against man. Palm oil production all too frequently relies on forced and child labor: it is destructive to the earth and the human spirit, violating human sanctity. Indigenous communities are being forced from their lands in widespread human rights violations.
It is our responsibility to end this chain of destruction and it is urgent. We cannot play blind anymore: we must rise amidst this emergency and take ownership for our participation in the supply chain. May we make it our duty to know everything that goes into our food, our household items, and our skin- and personal care products and may we commit to buying only those items that are palm oil-free. Palm oil laces 70% of the foods we eat and 30% of other goods—including our detergents, toothpaste, cosmetics, cleaning products, and shampoo: we need to reverse these numbers by reversing our demand.
The Indonesian rainforests are in crisis and, together, we have the power to save them. Learn how you can Say No To Palm Oil with your every day actions. Let us not be silent when the world needs us.
*All ASHLEY ASTI products are free from palm oil.