Friday, March 30, 2012


Documentary on the Indonesian rainforest, deforestation and orangutan extinction.It is a silent film (without narration, but with music) which addresses itself both to the Indonesians and the consumers of wood/paper/palm oil around the world.This important documentary was filmed in the fast disappearing Indonesian rainforest and is not narrated, however, its message is clear and frightening. The home of the Orangutan and many other wildlife species in Indonesia is being decimated at an alarming rate by consumer need and greed.The film features the widespread practice of 'slash and burn' to clear the lush rainforest to make way for extensive palm oil plantations which we, the consumer, support in our demand for our favourite foods, magazines, cosmetics, and, increasingly, biofuel. The practice has also seen Indonesia move into third place behind the US and China with regard to carbon emissions due to the uncovering of peat soil which has lain, undisturbed, below the tropical rainforest for centuries. The film exposes the illegal pet trade that thrives in Indonesia and the sick, despairing lives of those Orangutan who spend years, often all their lives, locked in small cages, suffering, alone.The story thread follows the fate of a female Orangutan who has been captured and brought in because her forest home has been decimated. She is one of the lucky ones -- most are slaughtered without mercy when caught. Her fate though, is not a happy one, as her trauma at the hands of man is too great. Your heart will break with resounding pity, but it is even more sobering to know that she is only one of hundreds every week who will suffer a similar fate.Make sure everyone you know watches this documentary. We owe it to our friends, the gentle Orangutan, we owe it to our planet, and we owe it to ourselves so that we can learn from it.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil: Palm oil: the hidden ingredient causing an ecological disaster

Less than 7% of total palm production is currently certified as sustainable. Furthermore manufacturers are proving reluctant to pay the premium associated with this product.

Manufacturers may claim to be using sustainable palm oil because they are members of, or supplied by members of, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. However, this in itself is no guarantee as members only need commit to "working towards" producing a sustainable product.


Carrie Garvin said...

Thank you for sharing. I don't use Palm oil-haven't for years.

Michelle said...

When I heard about the RSPO I believed in it. I bought a couple containers of "sustainable" palm oil. After receiving some literature on the destruction of palm plantains and monocultures I looked into it more. I learned I had been green washed again. *sigh

Good thing it is easy for soap makers to avoid palm oil. Years ago I received a soap sample from snowdrift farms that was made without palm. It was one of the best bars of soap I've ever used. Made my skin feel soft and silky. They shared the recipe on their site before they closed up shop. I just played around with oils until I found the right balance for my own recipe. Although I've read where soap makers insist otherwise, palm really is an unnecessary product for cp soap.

BTW/you too have amazing soaps!

Michelle said...

Yikes! My brain and fingers don't always connect. I meant to type "plantations".

Teresa Robeson said...

There was (Carrie can tell you) a thread on this in a soap maker's page that Joanna created on Facebook. That's where I recently learned that there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil. Guess I'll be sticking with coconut and olive oil...until we can get lard or tallow from our own animals. :}

Of course, I say this like I've been making soap...HAH!!

SoapSudsations said...

I didn't realize that palm oil was used in making soaps. And with so many different types of oil, why would anyone need to use palm oil?

Michelle said...


It is frustrating because the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is still trying to push the whole RSPO as environmentally better when it isn't possible for a monoculture to be "eco friendly" in the slightest. I'm so disappointed by the WWF. First the RSPO BS and now Monsanto. They really never stop. Just glad to know that all the WWF supporters I know have bailed.


The #1 reason soap makers use it is because it's cheap. #2 it creates a hard bar of soap. Creamy lather is in there somewhere as well.

I hate when I read those points written about palm for soap though because it implies that there aren't alternatives that do the same things. There are! They might cost a couple dollars more but there most certainly are alternatives to palm oil.

Teresa Robeson said...

I'm glad you had told me about WWF - am now saving my dollars for another organization. :)

Natural Aroma Handmade Soaps said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, more people really need to know about the effects of Palm oil. I won't use it in my soaps and haven't done in ages and I really think I've been doing the right thing by not using it.

What worries me is that some Companies are now hiding the fact that they use Palm oil by calling it Vegetable oil. It's totally their choice if they want to use it, but by calling it something different they take away the comsumers choice. Thanks again.

Michelle said...

Natural Aroma Handmade Soaps

Thanks for the info! I didn't realize that some soapmakers were hiding their use of palm oil under "veggie oil." It is sad that so many have to decieve now days when selling products.

Natural Aroma Handmade Soaps said...

Thanks for returning the visit Michelle:) don’t get me wrong, when I mentioned Companies I didn’t mean to pinpoint Soap makers. I think because Palm oil is such a big money maker and now there are more people starting to think differently about using products containing it, there are many more Companies out there, trying to disguise the fact that their product contains Palm oil.

Most soapers are fabulous people making a natural product that is so much better for our skins than mass produced shop bought bars. If someone buys a product knowing it contains Palm oil and is happy to use it, well that’s totally up to them. But I think if they don’t want to use Palm oil, that should also be their choice.