Addressing our unsustainable palm oil demand and protecting forests (interview with Maria Abadilla of Orangutan Alliance)
This is a conversation on Green Dreamer with Kamea Chayne, a podcast exploring environmental regeneration and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. The preview highlighted has been edited for clarity. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app to stay informed and updated on our latest episodes.
Maria Abadilla is the founder and Chairperson of Orangutan Alliance (@orangutanalliance), an independent, industry-based nonprofit organization promoting the reduction of unsustainable palm oil in consumer products through its palm oil free certification program.
On this podcast episode, Maria sheds light on the primary global threats from the palm oil industry; the evolution of how we commodified palm oil to the point where rainforests have to be cleared for its plantations; how we can navigate the over two-hundred alternative names that palm oil is masked under on ingredient labels; and more.
To start, get a glimpse below into the conversation between Maria and Green Dreamer Podcast's host, Kaméa Chayne.
On the consumers’ role in the unsustainable palm oil industry:
"A lot of palm oil plantations are owned by very large corporations.
As consumers, we're an important part of the solution, because when we create demand for that commodity, then obviously, there'd be a demand for continuing to develop that industry.
Sometimes the development impacts on communities and a lot of times it impacts biodiversity."
On the implications of endangering our orangutans:
"The orangutan is basically the poster image of what's happening in the unsustainable palm oil industry, but there are thousands of other animals that are affected by this issue.
Why orangutans are important is because when you save the orangutan, you actually save ecosystems—orangutans are of ecological significance; they are a keystone species. They assist in a lot of things for the forest: They assist with spreading seeds and fruit around the forest, but they also help in terms of photosynthesis.
When you protect the orangutan, you protect not just the forest, but other species."
Maria’s final words of wisdom:
"If you think you can, you can. So, create change and create the world that you want to live in for your generation."
Green Dreamer is supported by our listener patrons and Bunz, a community where people meet everyday to trade things like clothing, house plants, furniture and art. Download the app in your smartphone, earn Bunz’s currency BTZ which you can use at an increasing number of local businesses, and meet like-minded people near you.