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Palm Oil – A Food Goliath Run Amok (Part 2 of 2)

palm oil

The overtaking of rainforests for farmland to produce palm oil has environmental and social organizations crying foul. The goal is to limit corruption in governments and greed in the multi-national corporations developing palm oil plantations over rainforests.

While there is corruption and greed, are they the root cause of the situation? Is it the financial and economic opportunity created by a hungry world causing the greed and corruption?

The causes of deforestation include a world looking for cooking oil at an affordable price. In addition, decades of loss of best top soils in the U.S., Europe and China, have pushed agriculture into the rainforests. As we quoted in Part 1, the National Geographic reports that the biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture.

The scope of the agricultural footprint necessary to sustain the global human family is nudging up against the need to maintain forests and other natural habitats for the sake of wildlife and climate.

Depending upon the source, estimates are that it takes about one acre to supply the calories necessary for one person at American level diets. The world has a net gain in population of around 75 million per year. This situation opens up questions: Where might an additional 75 million acres of farmland and water come from for this year and every year thereafter?

How will farmland being urbanized be replaced? How will farmland, that has become contaminated, be replaced? Where will the farmland come from to satisfy the largest part of the world’s population presently moving up the food chain and caloric intake?

Good land and water stewardship has become the “pat” answer to these questions. The uploaded video here, from World Wildlife Fund, explains the approach.

Info graphic #1 shows the increase in global consumption of all vegetable oils (to include palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil and sunflower oil). What do you think is the root cause of farming encroaching upon the world’s remaining rainforests?

There is little question, however, that global demand for food is putting pressure on increased development of home food gardens, vacant lots, farming backyards and high-tech urban food production.

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