Schmear Tactics


Running a little late for work this morning, I ducked into a deli to pick up a bagel with cream cheese, and unwittingly did my bit to increase the rate of deforestation in South East Asia.

Palm oil, an ingredient in margarine, potato chips, chocolate bars, and, yes, cream cheese, among other food items, is in high demand these days as a healthy alternative to trans fats. While this may be good news for our arteries, it's horrible news for the environment. To meet surging demand for palm oil (its use is expected to use is expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050), millions of acres of rainforest are being clear-cut to make way for oil palm plantations. According to a report released last week by Greenpeace, the problem is particularly acute in Indonesia, where nearly 10 million acres of trees are expected to fall in the next seven years, giving that country the distinction of having the world's fastest rate of deforestation and third highest rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental organization is hoping to persuade big palm oil users such as Unilever, Cadbury's, and Procter & Gamble to support a moratorium on converting forest into plantations. Here's a link to the full Cooking the Climate report.

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