Main characters and with deathly stakes

Main characters and with deathly stakes

One of the main characters in Found and Lost, book one of The Great Way Series, is an Orangutang called Franny. In fact, animals feature quite prominently in my books, probably because they feature prominently in my life.

While doing research on Orangutangs, I was saddened to see just how dire the lives of these magnificent creatures are and thought in my small way I should make more people aware of their plight. The following info I learned from wwf.org.uk.

6 Things you should know about palm oil

  1. What is palm oil?
    An edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees in two forms — crude palm oil and palm kernel oil. Oil palm trees are native to Africa and were taken to South-East Asia over 100 years ago. Today, Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of global supply of palm oil.
  2. What is palm oil used for?
    Palm oil is in nearly everything. 50% of packaged products are manufactured with palm oil. Everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick. It’s also used in animal feed and as a biofuel.
  3. Why is palm oil everywhere?
    It’s extremely versatile for the following reasons,
    • Semi-solid at room temperature — keeps spreads spreadable.
    • Resistant to oxidation — increases shelf-life.
    • Stable at high temperatures — gives fried products a crispy and crunchy texture.
    • Odourless and colourless — doesn’t alter the look or smell of food.
  4. So what’s the problem?
    Palm oil is a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. Forest loss coupled with conversion of carbon rich peat soils are throwing out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Add to that exploitation of workers and child labour and I’m sure you’ll agree these are serious issues the palm oil sector needs to address.
  5. What are the solutions?
    Palm oil can be produced more sustainably and things can change. The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) formed in 2004, has set best practices for producing and sourcing palm oil. Organizations should be transparent in their use and sourcing of palm oil ensuring their suppliers follow sustainable methods.
  6. Why not switch to alternative oils?
    Palm oil is an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop. Globally, palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil demand on just 10% of the land. To get the same amount of alternative oils like soybean or coconut oil would require between 4 and 10 times more land, which would just shift the problem to other parts of the world and threaten other habitats and species. Furthermore, palm oil is an important crop for the GDP of emerging economies and there are millions of smallholder farmers who depend on producing palm oil for their livelihood. Boycotting palm oil is not the answer, but demanding the issues are tackled faster, is.

What you can do
Check out the WWF Palm Oil Scorecard to see which of your favourite brands and retailers are committed to sustainable palm oil free of deforestation and destruction of nature.

Speaking of the main characters in my books, here’s the latest. We’re inching ever closer with the book’s production — cover art is complete, third round of edits just about done. Found and Lost should be on digital shelves around mid-2021. Watch this space so you can be the first to pre-order.

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