How do we protect our rainforests?

Imagine you're in the middle of a rainforest, surrounded by the sounds of birds and animals. – and NO chainsaws. The people you meet here live off of what the forest offers them. This is how it was for centuries – and how it should remain. But the rainforests are quickly disappearing: 169 trees are cut down every second, most to make way for palm oil plantations.

The issue: more palm oil means fewer forests

Many rainforests in Asia, Africa and Latin America have already been cut down. And that means the people, plants and animals who used to live there are gone too. The reason? Our drive for cheaper and cheaper energy and resources.

Cheap palm oil is now used in about 50% of all our groceries. A great deal of it is also made into biofuel, which is mixed with diesel fuel to power Europe’s cars and trucks.

Establishing palm oil plantations has major consequences:

  • Certain animal species will certainly die out
  • People will be driven from their native lands
  • Increased global warming

What does any of this have to do with you and me? We consume palm oil daily in both our food and our cars. Meanwhile, banks and insurance companies lend money from our savings accounts to the big palm oil corporations. So we are, in effect, financing the destruction of the rainforests.

Download the VR-app in the App Store or Google Play store for the full 3D experience with VR goggles.

The solution: Regional food production and sustainable transportation

Palm oil seems to be an indispensable part of our lives. But this is not really the case. There are plenty of alternatives. For instance, we can grow our food locally. Using palm oil in fuel is simply not a good idea because it causes three times more pollution than regular fuel. A better alternative would be to switch to more sustainable forms of transport such as an extensive public transportation system.

Milieudefensie supports local groups and actively campaigns

Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) wants to prevent deforestation. We do this in 2 ways:

  • We support rainforest inhabitants in their struggle against the large corporations responsible for cutting down the forests. We do that by working in collaboration with the international environmental network Friends of the Earth;
  • We put political pressure on European governments to reduce the demand for palm oil in food and fuel by holding talks with members of both the Dutch and European Parliaments;
  • We put pressure on banks, insurance companies and pension funds to stop the financing of deforestation.

We do much of this work in collaboration with international organizations.
We all consume palm oil. This makes the destruction of rainforests our problem as well. We must take responsibility. It’s only fair.

Want to know more?

Contact our spokesperson Anne Wijers - forests@milieudefensie.nl
Are you a journalist? Get in touch with our press officer Benjamin  van Sterkenburg - persvoorlichting@milieudefensie.nl

Related content