The Silent Contributor To Climate Change

As the human population of the world increases, we have to start taking into consideration various factors that contribute to climate change. To help bring to light the factors that increase climate change, groups of people who love Earth have tried to spread the awareness. The most popular topics discussed in relation to climate change include: reducing fossil fuels, cutting down on eating animal products, and burning down forests for commercial purposes. However, there is one contribution to climate change that is not spoken about enough and it’s causing a large amount of deforestation in places such as Indonesia and Brazil. What is causing this horrible destruction of these beautiful forests you may ask? Well it’s the production of the seemingly harmless ingredient in most of your beloved processed foods: palm oil.

Palm oil has quickly become one of the key ingredients in processed foods including bread, margarine, ice cream, and even soap! Now the question that always comes up is: “If palm oil is so bad, why is it so popular?” The answer is simple, palm oil companies care more about money than the environment. Since palm oil is used so often in your everyday necessities and the human population is growing so quickly, palm oil companies are feeding off this and are trying to plant as many of these “palm oil bearing” palms. Of course, when trying to plant these palms they can’t just plant them anywhere, these palms must be planted in a certain type of soil called “peat”. Peat is one of the richest soils in the world because its chock-full of decaying matter that contributes to its nutrient-richness. Since this soil is so rich, that would mean that this soil houses large and beautifully diverse forests already. Unfortunately for these beautiful rainforests, the land they live on is so agriculturally expensive that these palm oil companies end up burning these forests and planting the palms. The burning of these peatlands not only causes a detrimental loss to the creatures who inhabit this ecosystem, but the burning of these lands also releases tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere!

One very popular example of these catastrophic events is the burning of peatlands in Indonesia. Due to the mass number of peatlands in Indonesia, palm oil companies have set up shop and have started burning down the forests inhabiting these lands. In these forests that these companies are burning down, lives a beautiful group of orangutans whose population is dwindling because of the deforestation. Not only does this deforestation affect the orangutan populations, but it also affects the air that the residents of these areas breathe. The frequent burning of these peatlands has caused nearby areas to become inhabitable for humans because of how polluted the air is.

Now you may be wondering “What can I do to try to help?”. Although the world is so big and it seems like there’s nothing we can do to help, there is something we can do! We can all read the ingredients in the products we buy, if a product has the ingredient palm oil, find an environmentally friendly version of this product! If more people are informed about the tragedy that’s going on in Indonesia, more people will be compelled to not buy products with palm oil in the ingredients. If palm oil companies start noticing a decline in sales of their products, there will be less of a need to burn down the peatlands to make space for the palms. With a decrease in deforestation, the species in these forests will survive and the world will slowly but surely become a better place.