Save Our Future and Our Planet 3

We are ambassadors when we travel and good can come from sharing information, especially with those peoples who have likely been left out of the loop and yet are struggling with the problems that modern industrial countries have thrust upon them due to climate change by global warming.

People in Africa are fighting drought and crop decimation, and others in Asia and the Pacific have rising sea levels to deal with. You can help share the bigger picture; contact ecological organizations to see if you can help them during your trip in some way; and eat in a responsible way! What do I mean by that? Well, catch-up on the first 2 parts and then continue reading below!

Part 1
Part 2

Continuing with 2 more on the list of planetary-destructive foods to avoid:

Palm oil
Palm oil is a saturated fat, but is actually a healthy, traditional food, filled with necessary Vitamin A. It has been responsibly harvested in Africa for generations, but then the food industry stepped in to grab a cheap source of fat, increase acreage and decimate forest to grow these non-native trees.

Damage is happening especially in Indonesia’s archipelago. Palm Oil production is not only one of the greatest drivers of deforestation — destroying, along with old-growth trees, crucial habitat for the endangered orangutan and Sumatran tiger — it is also one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gases and palm plantations do not sequester carbon dioxide anywhere nearly as effectively as virgin rainforest did. Multiple-whammy!.

One of the more widely reported environmental disasters, deforestation for palm oil plantations has led Indonesia to be ranked the third-largest contributor to climate change because of the massive fires they set to clear the land. These fires have burned, uncontrolled in the past, and have eliminated more forest than even these greedy government officials and land-owners intended. Again, they put the responsible indigenous tribes in jeopardy, along with the orangutans.

And it’s hard to avoid palm oil in your food, so write the manufacturer and say you are NOT buying their product because of it (do try to find an alternate product; there may be one at the health food store).

Unfortunately, in mainstream foods, not only will you notice the ubiquity of palm oil once you start looking (in everything from cookies to bread to baby food), but it’s often disguised on labels (as the generic ‘vegetable oil’). Don’t accept anything with that on the label for it is imperative to know the type and source of fats you ingest.

Soy
Most of the soy crop becomes cattle fodder or industrial ingredients, not tofu! The crop covers 11 million hectares of South America, alone, so soy is another leading driver of deforestation — not because of some sudden spike in demand by tofu-consuming humans, but because it is used mainly as feed for chickens, cows, and pigs in Europe and cattle in the United States.

Much of the deforestation affiliated with soy is indirect: because while soy farmers have done some of the clearing, it’s more often that soy is grown on already-cleared rainforest land. That then drives cattle ranchers deeper into the forest – more slash and burn and irreplaceable loss.

And, large areas of the United States food production is in soy and corn (another one of the Bad 7), and much of each of these is Genetically Modified. We need legislation to prevent genetic engineering, especially of food crops. Soy and corn are heavily-subsidized crops by “the Farm lobby” and Congress, and this needs to change, with money being put into helping organic fruit and vegetable farmers, instead, as they are the only ones growing healthy food.

More of the list tomorrow.

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