I ain't a fool. (Though there are those who might disagree).
I am under no illusions about the fact that my personal boycott of palm oil makes any difference in the grand or even the minuscule scheme of things. After watching Cowspiracy, I soon learned that clearing rainforest for the growth of animal feed (though this is more an Amazonian rainforest issue) has a far greater impact on the balance of the world's climate and carbon emissions than clearance of forest for oil palm plantations. But that is beside the point.
The fact is, it works for me. Since hitting 40 browbeaten years on this crazy, glorious planet, my daily mantra - if it makes me feel good, do it - needs to be regularly fulfilled for me to feel good about my day. So that's how I get my kicks. By ridding something from my life that I can easily live without. I admit, it wasn't easy in the beginning and I still slip up now and again, suffering from the usual human weaknesses we all do. But I remain conscious of the fact that those foibles are there and self-correction has become second nature. I don't berate myself about it. Just move on and move forward.
In response to the idea of boycotting palm oil, WWF make the following points:
- Companies stop buying palm oil from producing countries
And this is bad because....?
- There is no incentive to produce sustainable palm oil
Really? I would have thought that if the reason we stopped buying goods was because they contained unsustainable palm oil, and growers and manufacturers knew this to be the case, that would be incentive to correct the damage done and prevent further of same?
- Palm oil producers look for other customers, those with no interest in sustainability
Then maybe we need to be educating from the bottom up and the top down so that EVERYONE has a vested interest in sustainability. Assuming they enjoy their water clean and their air unpolluted that is.
- Companies buy alternative oils
And so the cycle begins again. The "better the devil you know" approach is a crock in this situation as far as I'm concerned. It's lazy and tries to impose a status quo on a world that is constantly changing. Ergo, we have to change with it if we want to survive it.
- Other oils use up to 9 times as much land as palm oil, leading to increased deforestation and increased species loss.
Then maybe we can apply the same principles of management to these producers as are applied everywhere else.... Duh.
The problem is palm oil is not sustainable. It is a monoculture so destroys biodiversity. It extracts far more from our world at a faster rate than it can be replaced.
I know it is here to stay. That doesn't mean I have to like it. The greed that it fuels is now fuelling the fires that are raging across the island of Borneo, resulting in the production of more carbon dioxide than the US economy. Its loss is a crime of epic and immeasurable proportions. Palm oil? Sustainable my ass....
All I want is some redress of the balance. We need to stop, take a breath, and enjoy the fresh air.