Give us on this day our daily bread and
forgive us for destroying the planet we love.
Oh bugger. Here we go again. Drop a humble slice of bread into your toaster and you kill an orangutan without even knowing it. Why? …. palm oil. It’s in your bread to make it last longer. Most of the world’s palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia where the orangutan is desperately clinging on for its dear life as the forests around it are destroyed by slash & burn agriculture. A lot of this clearance is done for palm oil. It obviously has devastating effects;
There are many organisations fighting for the survival of the forests in Malaysia and Indonesia but they are up against a huge demand for this product. Governments, big business, corruption, ‘fat cats’, criminals are all there for the ‘party of destruction’. Sometimes there is better news but, there needs to be a lot more of this. Once again, the public awareness campaign needs to move up several gears. ‘Don’t toast an orangutan for your breakfast’ …. 😦 …. (buy local bread that goes stale in two days). OK, I’ll leave the campaign message to the professionals! But it does appear that bio-fuels are going the way of GMOs. Sounds good in principal but, the devil is in the detail.
The latest is that the Malaysian government has decided that biofuels is the next big thing and that palm oil can play its part. Yup, just when you thought you were doing the right thing by ‘thinking’ biofuels for a future top-up for your future car journeys, it suddenly gets a whole lot more complex!
I have to say I’ve never really understood the attraction of biofuels because of the whole crop thing. It’s one thing to cover the English countryside with even more of the god awful rapeseed. It’s a completely different matter when commercially driven developers start to mow down virgin forest in Brazil (sugercane into ethanol) and South-east Asia (palm oil).
As David Attenborough said yesterday on Radio 4, the planet really only has 50 years before we will see a whole stream of species extinctions and ecosystems collapsing into the dust. My kids will only be in their fifties by then.
So, this is the future we are giving them.