An Early (and not so fun) Fact
Thursday, March 19, 2009 | Author: eventer79
In the vein of the "biofuels" theme, let's talk briefly about palm oil. This goop is one of the primary ingredients of "biodiesel." Well, a perfect place to grow palm plantations is Indonesia, especially Borneo (home of the much-loved orangutan) -- they've got 15 million acres of previously incredibly diverse rainforest that are now under cultivation as palm monocultures. And a monoculture has virtually no value as wildlife habitat, carbon sink, food source, and is very vulnerable to disease -- when these large areas consisting of a single species take over, you can kiss the rest of the system goodbye. In addition, massive fires set annually to clear land for palm oil plantations have release HUGE amounts of carbon stored in the area's deep (up to 60 feet) peat soils.

From 1985 to 2005, a third of Borneo's rainforests, which contain a staggering 15,000 plant species and could be considered the most biodiverse in the world, have been mowed down for oil extraction, palm plantations, and mining. Large timber and resource extraction companies rape and pillage the landscape, stealing resources from hungry people knowing that, even if they get caught, there will be no one to hold them accountable or mete out punishment.

You can, at the least, reduce the demand for this type of product with your own use choices. Don't choose "biodiesel" for your truck and tell this industry that you are not willing to accept their short-sighted greed. Want an alternative to regular diesel fuel? Opt for a retrofit that will allow your engine to burn used vegetable oil, a recycled product that has virtually no additional impact between the restaurant fryer and your truck.
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