Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cookies Kill Orangutans

How on earth do cookies kill orangutans?

1. Cookies (and 50% of all processed packaged foods) contain palm oil.

2. Palm oil comes from Malaysia or Indonesia.

3. Malaysian or Indonesian tropical rainforests are logged and burned in order to grow palm oil.

4. Orangutans (and the endangered Sumantran Tiger, and tons of other wildlife) live in tropical rainforests of Malaysia or Indonesia.


A wild Sumatran orangutan (who is used to getting snacks at a feeding platform!). 2006.

A palm oil plantation in northern Sumatra. 2006.

Where did all this come from? On Sunday, I went to a special screening of the IMAX movie "Born to be Wild."

Since she is one of the women featured in the movie, Dr. Brute Galdikas was there. This is an aside, but I've known her casually for a few years, so when I saw her I went over to say hello. Her response to me was "Oh Marni, I need your help!" I wasn't sure if she was going to want me to get her a latte or if she wanted me to fly to Indonesia, but neither would surprise me. Someone else then grabbed her attention and I never did find out what she needed my help with. hmmm.

The movie was really good and did a good job of showing the animals and the problems they face, without being to gory or gloom-and-doomy. However, the take-home message for how to help wild oranguatans survive is to boycott palm oil.

There is tons of info out there on why Palm oil is bad (for your health, but also for the planet). Here are a couple that I recommend, if you are so inclined:

I was surprised when after the movie, during a Q & A session, Dr. Galdikas said that she has been 'palm oil free' for years. This has inspired me to also go 'palm oil free.' Or at least try. You should join me! Maybe this is what Dr. Galdikas needed...


  1. "I wasn't sure if she was going to want me to get her a latte or if she wanted me to fly to Indonesia"

    such is my life :)


  2. I'm doing my best. There is no margarine or even vegan spread that is palm oil free. I wish that at least the vegan companies would stop using palm oil and figure out a way to make a 'butter-ish spread' without palm oil.
    I wonder what Birute wanted??


  3. I think lots of people know about the palm oil issue. I mostly just forget to check when I am in the store! Whole Foods, at least, is good and always has options without it. Birute- who knows?!

  4. No Whole Foods in Victoria :(

  5. Thanks for this post Marni!! This is an issue that I'm very passionate about. The more people who share this information via social media the better. It's a matter of some basic education on the issue, as well as how as consumers we can make a difference for the forests and the wildlife every time we make a purchase- just by checking the label.