palm oil plantations

anonymous asked:

What can college kids with limited resources do to help the environment?

The fact that you are asking this question makes me feel very hopeful as it shows you care. Helping the environment is not about the amount resources you have. I could give you a shopping list of behaviours you can change to decrease your impact on the planet, but what I want to tell you is find the environmental cause you are passionate about and get the best education you can so you can have voice and make a difference. Invest in your future through education. You will be able to make a difference.

There are lots of little ways we can all help the environment in our everyday lives. One of the easiest ways is becoming an informed consumer. Every time we spend a dollar we are casting a vote, from the products we buy, to the food we consume, and the transportation we use. The choices we make as a consumer can have far reaching influences, from across the globe to your friends and family. This became clear to me during my first trip to Borneo. I was confronted by vast, seemingly endless acres of oil palm plantations that were once dense primary forest. Those forests were once home to orangutans, elephants, and sun bears. It made me realized just how much palm oil I was consuming in the products I used every day. I began to eliminate those products from my home, and started writing letters to manufactures, urging them to find sustainable alternatives. Becoming an informed consumer really opens the door to understanding the influence, and impact we are having across the globe. Although it may sound cliché, it really does translate to acting locally and thinking globally.


Here we have the Malayan tapir and his super-snoot! They were hiding the last few times I visited, as is their right, so I was very excited to see them! This is the largest species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. I noticed that these animals sport disruptive coloration similar to that of the Commerson’s dolphin. The irregular pattern is a form of camouflage that breaks up the shape of the animal within its environment, helping it to hide from predators. They have ANOTHER thing in common with those dolphins. Listening to visitors guess what they are is decent entertainment. According to guests getting their first look, the tapir is in fact an anteater, a pig, a baby elephant, or a hippo. (The tapir’s closest relatives are actually rhinos and horses.) We generally let this go on for a while before we start with the enthusiastic, “Oh, what’s this?! Ah, the sign RIGHT HERE says its a Malayan tapir!!” Cue dusty neurons firing and education in progress!! On a more serious note, please be aware that disruptive coloration can hide tapirs from predators, but not from habitat destruction. Their population has declined over 50% in the last three generations primarily due to habitat loss, placing them at great risk of extinction. Their forest homes are flattened to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations. You can help tapirs and other animals, like orangutans, who are threatened by unsustainable palm oil production by being very careful about the products you buy. I swear it seems like palm oil is in EVERYTHING. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a great app available for your phone that can help you make good purchasing decisions.

Liminal spaces — Malaysia

So @fightingfish and I came up with this discussion about liminal spaces in Malaysia, like. And we kind of realized a few things:

  • Unlike in the US, hypermarkets like Tesco and Giant aren’t exactly liminal spaces, because the employees stamp their own identity and personality in these spaces. Maybe in some poorly-visited areas of the hypermarket? But not at the cash areas, the produce areas, or that serve foods.
  • That being said, probably some hardware large hardware stores, some art supplies stores used for wedding supplies.
  • University Malaya Medical Centre, specifically some corridors.
  • Not mosques, especially some mosques like Masjid Bulat Seksyen 14 have given me the opposite of liminality. But suraus, the Muslim equivalent of chapels, yes. Unless that surau is made a community center, where there’s daycare, or teaching.
  • Large parts of schools during school holidays, except the places where they do extracurricular activities.
  • Large parts of Kuala Lumpur during Chinese New Year, and to be fair, Hari Raya 😂  (less of this these days, though, because we’re seeing people who’ve lived and consider Kuala Lumpur their home for generations).
  • Oil palm plantations, some service roads, or, basically places where you’d go if you were a horny couple and didn’t have a place to have sex.
  • Highway stops and R&Rs, almost with no exception. Yeah, even the large ones like the Restoran Jejantas.
  • Overhead pedestrian crossings, especially across train tracks.
  • Most of Publika outside of the heavily trafficked areas and the art installations.
  • Some public parks (an example would have been parks like Taman Aman. Interestingly enough, Taman Jaya during the time Pokémon Go actually had its liminality banished due to the large numbers of people trooping through the park to get a Pikachu, but… I don’t know? It certainly felt surreal gaming there).
  • Old rural train stations (a famous example would have been depicted in Lat’s Mat Som, i.e. Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Malim).

Actually, that last example is instructive, in which that scene, the punks who were with Mat Som called the train stop itself “tempat jin bertandang” (i.e. the place where spirits dwell / hang out).

Anyway. That’s some of what I’ve got. Let’s talk more about these places, @keiyoshi, @horusporus, @grrraknil, @maybethings, @anneemay, @radio-charlie, @mindscalpel, @were-cow, @melissaeliias, @jhameia, @pekorosu, other Malaysians?

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus  (the red palm weevil) 

The weevil’s larvae excavate holes in the trunks of palm trees up to a metre long, weakening and eventually killing the host plant. The species is therefore considered a major pest in coconut palm, date palm and oil palm plantations. 

Originally from here in tropical Asia, the species has spread to Africa, and throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. Adults cause minimum damage through feeding, but will lay up to 200 eggs in one host palm which the larva will spend a month tunneling through and consuming.

The larval grub is considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia. The voracious pest is high in nutrients and will often be fried in flour or eaten raw with sticky rice and salad.

Despite it’s wide range, and the amount of documentation and research as a result of its status as an agricultural pest, the species remains ‘unassessed’ by the IUCN Red List

Last week, in Borneo, I attended a leaving party for an indigenous man who had to leave the jungle research centre to work on an oil palm plantation because it was the only way to send his kids to school. He spoke minimal English, but “capitalism!” along with a disgusted facial expression and clenched fists was among his vocabulary.

Just in case you buy the lie that all people in poor areas love joining the global market and the only people to hate capitalism in 2017 are white kids on Tumblr.

Take a Swim With the Oregon Zoo's Elephants

Two of the Oregon Zoo’s resident elephants took a dip in their pool, and video posted on Thursday, May 25, takes people into the water with them.

Sumadra, 8, was the first third-generation elephant born in the United States. His name is Sanskrit for “ocean,” which comes from his love of water.

Chendra, the only Borneo elephant in North America, was rescued after she was found wandering near a palm oil plantation. A wound she had in her left eye left her blind. Malaysian wildlife officials worked to find her a home, and she came to the zoo in 1999. She helped raise Sumadra and his little sister, Lily, who is 4.

The Borneo elephant population has been reduced to around 2,000 in the wild due in part to deforestation. The Oregon Zoo, in partnership with the Woodland Park Zoo and the Houston Zoo, is funding research into and mitigation of human-elephant conflicts in Borneo. Credit: YouTube/Oregon Zoo via Storyful

This is a Bornean Orangutan, the only Asian great ape. Orangutans are the largest tree-dwelling animals on earth, and a male may stretch his arms more than 7 feet. They have one of the longest life histories of the great apes; female orangutans give birth only once every eight years—the longest time period of any animal—have the longest childhood of any primate, with infants and juveniles nursing until they’re six years old. Because orangutans are so dependent on trees, they are endangered everywhere they live due to logging, forest fires, forest conversion to palm oil plantations, and hunting.

This Sunday, celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Museum! We’re kicking off the Year of the Monkey with a festival celebrating Asian art and culture. On the Hall of Ocean life, experience contemporary choreography, traditional storytelling, and hands-on activities taught by local artisans, then head to the Primate Hall to take a look at the important cultural role primates have played across the Asian continent and explores what needs to be done to ensure their survival. 

Learn more about this full day of events at the Museum!


bthays  asked:

Two questions. 1. What are your thoughts on Cecil the Lion? I'm sure you've had quite a few people ask about this, but I'm curious to know your opinion on the arguments made (both Pro and Con). 2. How cool is it about the African Golden Jackal (Wolf)?!?!?!?!?


I have a lot of thoughts about Cecil, and let me just clarify these are my personal feelings and I think there are a number of appropriate reactions. I will say the mob mentality and outrage that the killing of Cecil the lion spurred was not the most constructive response. The way Cecil was killed - which is to say, deliberately and without much justification aside from one man’s dominating ego - was disgusting. But, if it means the outcome is more people will take a concerted and deliberate effort to support conservation, then I can appreciate the positive outcome of a bad situation. 

Right now, I’m not sure how far that initial outrage will support real action. I see lots of people enraged for a short amount of time, who want to pit the evils threatening beautiful species on one man’s ill-informed actions. I see corporations capitalizing on a new market (remember.. even if Ty donates all profits of the lion beanie to WildCRU, they are still piggybacking on this event to demonstrate that they are a company that’s relevant and worth your money, and I’m skeptical, and would encourage you to just make a donation to WildCRU on your own). In six months, in a year, how will this event have changed the world of wildlife conservation? 

While I think trophy hunting on the part of an individual is irresponsible and weird, there are ways to make it sustainable and even beneficial for wildlife conservation. Trophy hunting in Africa can generate millions of dollars and employ thousands of people. If not done effectively, however, expanding human populations and encroachment of wildlife will (and in some places already has) deplete the areas used for hunting either way, and often times the benefits from this form of tourism don’t trickle down to local communities. This article on the economic and conservation significance of trophy hunting in sub-Saharn Africa is super interesting and you should read it. 

Meanwhile poaching and the over-hunting of hundreds of other species is still broiling on. Where’s the pangolin beanie baby? And I read this CNN article - The Most Trafficked Mammal You’ve Never Heard Of – that’s just irresponsible. If you haven’t heard of a pangolin you’re not paying attention. How many dead pangolins will it take before they receive the outrage that one lion spurred? How are we valuing wildlife – when it suits us, when it’s convenient to be outraged, when we can point the finger at one man instead of an entire country or culture or black market industry because the latter are complicated to understand?

Sharks and pangolins are plucked from protected areas, seahorses are traded and trafficked, habitats are destroyed for palm oil plantations, there are 79 species of classified endangered mollusks that have virtually no public support. No beanie baby for the unionid bivalves. Those animals - just as threatened with population decline and habitat loss - don’t have the luxury of being on the radar of pubic outrage. I don’t anticipate they ever will, but I can’t help but wonder how we could commandeer the outcry over a lion and use it as a launching point to discuss any number of species that have great ecological importance. 

Ultimately I hope Cecil’s death will be the spark that ignites serious discussion and action for the conservation of wildlife and continued support of natural and protected areas worldwide, but we’ll see. In any case, this conversation is way bigger than the one man who is responsible for starting it. 

INDONESIA, Sibolangit : In this photograph taken on April 16, 2014, a veterinary staff member of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme center conducts medical examinations on a 14-year-old male orangutan found with air gun metal pellets embedded in his body in Sibolangit district in northern Sumatra island. The orangutan was rescued by Indonesia’s ministry of forestry personnel and Orangutan Information Center on April 15, 2014 in nearby Langkat district in a small patch of forest and agricultural plantation. The center has cared for over 280 orangutans rescued from palm oil plantations, poachers and pet owners and over 200 have been reintroduced in the wilds. The critically-endangered primates population are dwindling rapidly due to poaching and rapid destruction of their forest habital that is being converted into palm oil plantation. AFP PHOTO / SUTANTA ADITYA

This weekend at the Museum, in conjunction with Sunday’s Spotlight Asia: Ring in the Year of the Monkey festival, we’re celebrating Asian primates. In the Museum’s Primate Hall, visitors can explore primate biology, the important cultural role primates have played across the Asian continent, and learn about what needs to be done to ensure their survival.

Above is the Greater slow loris. Slow lorises are small nocturnal primates found in South and Southeast Asia. They are the only venomous primates, excreting a clear histamine-like compound that’s a lot like cat dander. If a loris bites you, you might go into anaphylactic shock. All slow loris species are recognized as endangered with extinction because of habitat loss and severe pressures from hunting for illegal wildlife trade.

The siamang is a gibbon native to Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra. Siamangs and their relatives are extremely well adapted for brachiating, or swinging, by their arms from branch to branch. The siamang is monogamous, and forms breeding partnerships for life. Male-female pairs to make loud, resonating, territorial duets at the beginning and the end of each day, lasting about 10 minutes. Siamangs and the other gibbons are endangered with extinction due primarily to forest loss and opportunistic collection for pet trade.

Tarsiers are found on the islands of Southeast Asia, and are almost entirely arboreal, meaning it spends almost all of its times in the trees. Tarsiers are nocturnal, and are one of the few animals that have eyes bigger than their brains. Their big eyes help them see better at night. Tarsiers eat 10% of their own body weight every 24 hours!

Tarsiers populations are threatened by forest loss and conversion especially due to expanding oil palm plantations, fires, and logging. Tarsiers are also collected for the illegal pet trade, though this species also does not generally survive well in captivity and typically dies within 3 days of capture.

Learn much more about a variety of Asian primates on Sunday at the Museum during the Spotlight Asia: Ring in the Year of the Monkey festival.


How palm oil may have prevented Liberia from stopping Ebola

Timothy Yeabah heard a noise ringing from the forests surrounding his village in central Liberia one morning in April 2013. It was the sound of slashing, accompanied by unfamiliar voices. Yeabah, a 27-year-old father of four, along with others from the Jogbahn Clan, who live in a series of villages in a remote part of the Liberian forests, crept into the dense bush in search of  the source of the noise.

Yeabah and his clanspeople found strangers with machetes hacking down their cassava, rubber and rice crops. They were stomping through the bush and destroying the only source of livelihood of Yeabah’s people, who live in a small village connected by a dirt road to neighboring villages. 

Later that night, bulldozers came in to clear the remaining crops and sections of the surrounding forest. The villagers were told that these people were subcontractors of Equatorial Palm Oil, a publicly-listed company in the United Kingdom that the Liberian government granted two 50-year leases and a Memorandum of Understanding to build palm oil plantations on over 400,000 acres. 

This has led to serious government mistrust

ellenoo  asked:

I have another question about the morals of veganism and such. I hope this doesn't come off as rude or something, I don't know how else to ask. But I'm trying to be vegan, it's really hard (the dairy part is the hard part for me, i don't really like meat that much) and my mind is very obsessive. Like I have to question every detail, I have to have an answer for every doubt (not that you have to answer them all). I just don't know how it's possible to live 100% vegan. The house/buildings you live

in are destroying animals’ spaces and ecosystems. I mean, there’s roadkill all the time, animals are having less and less places to live. I just don’t understand. What can we do about our houses, cars, phones? I’m also an artist, and i know some of the paint I use is toxic. No matter how you dispose of it, that product is ruining the earth by just existing. Batteries, paper, plastic. You know? I think humans shouldn’t exist if we truly want to give animals their rights. It’s making me anxious! I’m sorry about my asks, if they are too much. ;s

These asks are certainly not too much. You really are asking the right questions though. It’s not rude at all, and these are things that every vegan comes to find out at one point or another - it’s not possible to be 100% vegan. Just our existence on the earth is going to impact someone somewhere. However, it is possible to be about 99% vegan, it just takes a lot of research in the beginning. For example, I found out that tires have an animal by-product in them called stearic acid. However, Michelin makes a tire that does not contain this. Palm oil is another example - while the product itself is vegan, the methods used to obtain it are often very brutal, as the workers on palm oil plantations usually have to cut down large swaths of rainforest and kill orangutans that like to eat the palm fruit. You just have to adopt a mindset that involves trying to reduce your harm as much as possible. I know that varies for everyone. I’ve heard that some Buddhist monks will go onto a plot of land where a new temple is going to be built and will carefully remove every worm and insect on that land before building. You may instead just opt to live in an apartment or rent/buy a house that’s already been built, rather than buying land and developing it. Always try to buy recycled paper and make sure to recycle everything you can/properly dispose of it. Try to avoid disposable products. Products like phones/computers/cars etc. are usually best bought used if you want to avoid funding industries that may be using non-vegan products or practices. As far as art supplies are concerned this link might help you. Sorry if this is all coming at you kind of rapid fire. The main thing to remember is that by not directly funding the meat, dairy, egg, leather, wool, fur, etc. industries you are already helping tremendously. And many of these other random products like stearic acid in tires, bone char in white sugar, etc. wouldn’t exist in the first place if the meat/dairy/egg industries didn’t exist.

I’m including a list of links that you may find very useful in answering some of these questions that I may not have answered very well. I just know many vegans find these useful. These are must-see resources for any aspiring vegan.

These are some movies you should watch:

Earthlings (free)

Farm to Fridge (free)

Meet Your Meat (free)

Best Speech You Will Ever Hear (free)

101 Reasons to Go Vegan (free)

The Price of Milk - (Free Range) (free)

Speciesism: The Movie

Vegucated (Netflix)

Forks Over Knives (Netflix)

Reading materials:

List of Vegan FAQs

Vegan Starter Kit

Kayleigh’s Guide to Veganism

Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals (cheap e-book/paperback)

INDONESIA, Banda Aceh : Aceh students with their bodies coated in mud roll a globe symbolizing the Earth during an Earth Day celebration in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province on April 22, 2014. The protesters were demanding the protection and preservation of Indonesia’s forests that are rapidly being converted in palm oil and agricultural plantations threatening the survival of endangered species. AFP PHOTO / CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN

prettyxtired  asked:

what's wrong with palm oil? this is the first time i've heard about it being controversial so i'm curious.

Hi there prettyxtired ;)

Palm oil plantations are the main driver for deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. These two regions account for 85 percent of global production of palm oil.

Here is a list with some brands that are ok to use if you’re avoiding palm oil ;)