Don't Palm Us Off
You probably already know that man's relentless pursuit of palm oil is resulting in the burning of the rain forests in South East Asia - in fact Indonesia loses an area of forest the size of Wales every year. The Orang-utan and Sumatran Tiger species are already on the verge of extinction in Sumatra.
To meet the target for Britain alone, to raise the percentage level of biofuel sold there, will result in millions of acres of these forests being logged or burnt down and converted to more plantations for palm oil production, although the increase in carbon emissions as a result of the burning will potentially outway the reduction in fuel emissions!.
There are other issues that are not reported as widely.... the veterinary world is aware that 75% of the world's new emerging diseases are infectious from animals to humans... more than ever there is a huge need for discussion between vets, doctors and biosecurity agencies to consider how to stop new diseases occurring.
Here is just one example of how a fatal disease was potentially spread as a result of the burning of the rain forests.......
The burning of over 12 million acres of virgin forest in Borneo and Sumatra in the fall of 1997 cast an extreme haze over a huge swath of Southeast Asia for months. That haze blocked sunlight, reducing the ability of trees to flower and bear fruit. This caused giant bats to travel great distances in search of sustenance. They settled on fruit trees fertilized with the manure of pigs on huge Malaysian farms cut out of the forests where the so-called flying foxes roost.
Somehow, the theory goes, the bats then passed the virus to the pigs who -- because of physiological and genetic similarities to humans -- amplified its potency and began infecting people in contact with them.
To some conservationists and scientists, there would be a dark poetic justice in a disease passed to man from an animal endangered by man's encroachment on its treetop environment. "In the case of almost every emerging disease, complex human changes to the environment drive emergence," says Dr. Peter Daszak, a parasitologist and executive director of the consortium that organized the study. "Nipah appears to be a case of the bats getting some payback."
and you can read mroe about it here:
One small way you can help?
Check out this site at the Auckland Zoo - "Don't Palm us Off".
Spread the word and sign the petition - to promote awareness of the effects of the palm oil industry... and encourage a change of food labelling requirements to ensure that the words vegetable oil do not mislead us to purchase any products containing palm oil... Cadbury's have stopped using it - public pressure can make a difference.
We owe it to the species we are driving to extinction... and to the people who could die from the diseases we are exposing to new places!