Inquiry Essay- Problems with the Production of Palm Oil- Calder Adams

Essay: Approximately 50% of the products sold in supermarkets are made from palm oil.(1,4) It is needed in society because we frequently use and purchase products that include palm oil(1,4). Palm oil comes from the fleshy fruit of oil palms.(4) Palm oil is a highly versatile product, it is often used as a cooking oil,(8)included in animal feed in many countries,(8) and as a result of it being highly efficient,(1) many places use it as a biofuel(9). Palm oil is a very resourceful ingredient that is a semi-solid material, can remain spreadable, resistant to oxidation (which can also help prolong the shelf life of products)(1,8).  It’s very stable at high temperatures, (give food products a crispy texture), It’s odorless, (no alteration).(1) This essay aims to show the effects of using products with palm oil, the impacts on the environment, along with solutions for improving consumer products.

This product can cause deforestation and increase the demand for products.(4) Unfortunately, it can also cause deforestation in developing countries.(4) In order to make palm oil products, palm trees and plants have to be destroyed to be used for the production of this ingredient.(1,4) Doing so, can cause various environmental problems.(1) Unfortunately, this impacts the environment because in order to make these products, all of the palm trees and plants that are used for cultivation have to be cut down.(2) The increasing number of palm oil plantations is contributing to the decline of some of the world’s most bio-diverse tropical forests.(4) These plantations support fewer species than the forests they are in, and they are also contributing to climate change.(4) Primary rainforests that are cleared for palm oil production are located on top of peat bogs, which are incredibly rich in carbon dioxide.(4) Burning these areas can release high levels of carbon into the air and cause fires underground.(4)

The palm oil production industry has grown rapidly within the last few years.(2) Aside from damaging the environment, the use of chemicals used in the production of palm oil has also been linked to the pollution of rivers and the poisoning of people and animals.(3) In most cases, land cleared for palm oil production is being burned using a slash and burn method.(4) This method can cause fires that can harm people and animals, as well as destroy the environment.(4) It is destroying the habitats of critically endangered species, such as the Sumatran rhino and the orangutan.(2,4) The loss of these forests also contributes to the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.(4)This method also often results in fires that are out of control and harm the environment.(4) While land gets drier, the remaining forests continue to produce less fruit for wildlife.(4)

The destruction of the forests for palm oil production has led to the deaths of thousands of species annually.(9) The population of this critically endangered animal has decreased by about 50% percent in the last year.(9) This environmental destruction is expected to have a huge effect on global warming.(8,9)  These ecosystems store more carbon than any other in the world. Burning the peats can release high levels of carbon into the air.(1,4) It can also cause underground fires. The chemicals used in the production of palm oil are also known to contaminate the water and the land. These emissions have also been linked to the deaths of various animals and people.(1)

Finally, it’s important to note that the products made from palm oil can contain traces of harmful chemicals.(4) When buying items or products, it is suggested to check the ingredient list.(3) It’s important that the companies that are involved in the production of this oil label their products with a sustainable label.(3,4)We can solve these problems by using sunflower oils, which are known to be more eco-friendly and have a higher yield of fatty acids.(6) This could potentially help prevent the deforestation of tropical forests.(7) Since this oil can be produced all around the world, it would take away the need for tropical forests.(6) Another solution that can be used to prevent the deforestation of tropical forests is by implementing an agroforestry system, which involves the use of agricultural land that’s mixed with other crops.(5,7) This method has been known to increase the diversity of the habitats on the land. In conclusion,  the production of palm oil is incredibly damaging to the environment.(7) Palm oil consists of cutting down rainforests and millions of trees.(1) Most people don’t even know what palm oil is and how it impacts the environment around them. Palm oil is very important and used everyday by almost everyone these days. My essay is to prove the global impacts of palm oil production and what different solutions we could do to fix it.

 

References: 

(1)https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil#:~:text=What%20is%20the%20problem%20with,pygmy%20 elephant%20and%20Sumatran%20 rhino 

Peer reviewed (2) https://orangutan.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Whats-Wrong-with-Palm-Oil-FLYER.pdf 

(3) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/palm-oil#TOC_TITLE_HDR_7 

Peer reviewed (4) http://palmoilaction.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/palm-oil-research-project.pdf

(5) https://ensia.com/features/how-did-palm-oil-become-such-a-problem-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/ 

(6) https://www.greenmatters.com/p/palm-oil-alternatives#:~:text=Canola%20and%20 sunflower%20seed%20 oil,the%20 ecosystem%20in%20similar%20ways.

Peer reviewed (7) https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0959652620339597?token=E6280B13FC5A9AC9EB631AB1DB6D70580F701AB151116CB24A52BDC74B1083D4B81AD28162492C322446AF8E23FC1C7B&originRegion=us-east-1&originCreation=20220518235123 

 

(8) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969716304582 

(9) https://orangutan.org/rainforest/the-effects-of-palm-oil/

3 Replies to “Inquiry Essay- Problems with the Production of Palm Oil- Calder Adams”

  1. Hi Calder,

    That’s fascinating, I didn’t know that palm oil could have such a detrimental impact on our agricultural society. It was really interesting to learn how palm oil can harm our ecosystems too. I like how you went through each paragraph with extending detail and made every point clear and concise. It makes the essay packed with condensed, but articulate information, and that’s great!

    A piece of advice that I would offer is to keep experimenting with different methods of transitioning between phrases. I feel that a variety of adapting words may provide even more emphasis on the most important words.

    Nonetheless, this essay was very well written and I wish you the best of luck in your future posts!

    Karen Z.

  2. Hi Calder,
    I knew palm oil was harmful and prominent, but not to this extent. I am shocked that it is used so often and is so bad for the environment when there are simple, effective alternatives out there. I liked that your essay was extremely informative and organized. You very clearly listed all your sources and gave lots of facts. I think the numbers you gave worked really well to show the gravity of the situation and how much this is affecting our Earth. Your topic is super interesting, great work on your essay.

    Chantal M.

  3. Hey Calder,

    Wow I definitely didn’t know that palm oils are this prominent in our daily lives. This is a cool topic and I learned so many things reading your essay. I loved how you had a lot of data to support your point, which made it very persuading.

    Two suggestions I have are to maybe include some pictures, so that readers can have a visual of what you are talking about. This can also make the information easier to understand. Another suggestion is to try not to start consecutive sentences with the same first word or sentence structure. When they vary, they are much easier to read and follow along for readers.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading this essay and good luck on your future posts! -Jade

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