Monday, November 4, 2013

Ramen kills orangutans, planet

I was disgruntled a couple months ago upon belatedly realizing that instant ramen, is not what you would call a foundational element of a heart-healthy diet, given that it’s fried in palm oil, which is 49 percent saturated fat. Well, according to this article, reached via a link at Mike the Mad Biologist’s page, palm oil not only is bad for you, it’s also terrible for the environment:

[P]alm oil is one of the planet’s most destructive ingredients. It is largely responsible for the massive deforestation of Borneo. As companies slash, burn and bulldoze rain forest to plant uniform rows of oil palm trees, they’re decimating the island’s legendary biodiversity, driving up greenhouse gas emissions and destroying the livelihoods of local subsistence farmers. … The race to plant more oil palm trees is driving orangutans to the brink of extinction. If orangutans die out, it will be almost single-handedly due to global demand for palm oil.

Deforestation also threatens the Sumatran tiger, the Asian rhino and the Malaysian tapir, according to Palm Oil Investigations.

The loss of Indonesian and Malaysian forest is particularly bad for global warming, because the soils are peat soils. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Peat is mostly carbon, and when the forest over it is cleared, the peat begins to oxidize and decompose. As a result, many more tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere over the succeeding years.
I think I would prefer to eat things that did not indirectly threaten weird-looking jowly red primates with extinction.

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