14 Mar '12, 10am

Palm oil: the hidden ingredient causing an ecological disaster

Palm oil: the hidden ingredient causing an ecological disaster

It’s impossible to get away from palm oil. Over the last few days you have eaten it, rubbed it into your skin, put it in your car or fed it to your pets. It is found in a staggering array of household products, including processed food, cosmetics, soap and shampoos, and it’s a key ingredient in lubricants, paints, pesticides and biofuels. Yet palm oil is also responsible for some of the most destructive deforestation of current times, and its production is contributing to climate change. Demand for palm oil has doubled in the last decade, and is predicted to double again by 2020, driven by consumer demand for the foodstuffs, cosmetics and fuels derived from the versatile lipid. But to supply this demand, huge areas of rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations, at a rate of over two million hectares a year, according to Frie...

Full article: http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/home/12737...

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