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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Shoppers wised up on palm oil

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The wide-scale destruction of rainforest in southeast Asia and the consequent wiping out of the habitat of the endangered orang-utan is largely due to production of palm oil for use in a  range of food and other goods. Half your shopping trolley has products containing palm oil but you wouldn’t know it, which is why the Palm Oil Action Group struck a chord with Byron Bay shoppers at the weekend.

Video Sharon Shostak

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  1. Thank you for posting this film with so much background information on the issue, particularly to do with why it’s so hard to know if you are buying products with unsustainably produced palm oil as an ingredient. I certainly support the peaceful protest outside ALDI and acknowledge that this company has a track record of listening and to the community and acting. A case in point being their campaign to no longer sell any products containing artificial colourings.

  2. These protesters should do a bit more research. The Palm Oil Plantations are invariably former Rubber Estates that have been cultivated since before independence of these SE Asian countries. The market for natural rubber has been decimated by the use of petroleum based rubber manufacture. Palm Oil plantations are the ideal crop. It is fast growing, nutritious and is an excellent subsistence crop in many parts of SE Asia. The trees take 5 years to produce a crop, have a lifespan of about 25 years (because they get too big to harvest easily) . After 25 years the trees are recycled back into the earth as fertiliser and mulch. As a recycler of Carbon Dioxide the crop does not come much better.
    The real problem for Palm Oil producers is that they are a serious competitor to the big oil producers in USA and Europe hence the massive misinformation campaign which youngsters as portrayed in this article unquestioningly accept. I suggest these protestors do some research, to to the Palm Oil plantations talk to the workers, look at the enormous obsoleted Rubber Plantations before they gaily display cute placards and erroneously believe Pal Oil has anything to do with habitats or ecology.

  3. The comment above – I found disturbing and short sighted (amoung other things) and I question whether there is a vested interest? I also found comments unnessarily critical of our wonderful protestors.

    It is not the disused Rubber Estates that are of most concern, but the thousands of hectares of rainforest (habitat) being cleared by Palm Oil companies – some of the clearing illegal. This is happening in parts of Indoneisan Borneo, and I have seen massive tracks of land convertd to PO Plantations in Malaysian Borneo also. It is difficult for me to believe this mono-culture (with no crop diversity) could be considered natural or ‘good’ for the environment or wildlife. Anyone who knows about the complexity of a rainforest system – knows the regeneration of cleared rainforest land is a huge undertaking & nearly impossible – and certainly would never be able to be returned to its previous pristine condition. Rainforest trees can be replanted but will not re-establish in the short-term, or provide habitat for displaced wildlife. Disturbance is forever. And the flora and fauna that are wiped out in the meantime – may also never recover. The rainforest has been cleared, burnt and bulldozed. Of most concern are the enumerable species dependent on the rainforest for survival.

    From my continuing interest in this issue – and my visits to the areas of Asia where Pam Oil Plantations are spreading like a cancer – displacing locals – and endangering precious wildlife (including the amazing Orangutan) – I say a huge THANK YOU to people working to save habitat – and raise awareness of this issue.

    I support the efforts of protestors (and environmentalists and wildlife carers) shining a light on habitat destruction and Palm Oil plantations. As consumers we can choose not to support the Palm Oil Industry. Clear labelling of products containing Palm Oil is an important step!

  4. Great to see this happening in Byron Bay and seeing the powerful video footage from Cathy Henkel’s THE BURNING SEASON being used to drive the points home. PS a new action documentary film also directed by Cathy Henkel, RISE OF THE ECO-WARRIORS, also set in Borneo, will have its World Premiere at the closing night of the Byron Bay Film Festival on Sat night 8 March.


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