‘Checkout ’ takes on a special meaning at the Zoopermarket officially launched today at Melbourne Zoo.
At a normal supermarket checkout, consumers pay for their selected products. At the Zoopermarket, consumers will get to check out the ingredients in some items commonly found on supermarket shelves.
Knowing what’s what when confronted with an array of products can be confusing, especially since Australia’s labelling laws allow palm oil to be labelled as ‘vegetable oil’.
Scanning selected Zoopermarket items will reveal whether the manufacturer is using palm oil, and if so whether it is being produced sustainably.
The Zoopermarket is the latest stage in the ongoing Don’t Palm us Off campaign, which aims to draw consumer attention to the widespread use of unsustainably produced palm oil and facilitate their communication with manufacturers on this issue to encourage use of sustainably sourced palm oil.
The clearing of rainforest in order to plant vast expanses of palm oil trees is the single largest factor in harming wildlife populations in South East Asia, including the rapidly diminishing orang-utan population.
Palm oil is found in about 40% of the products on supermarket shelves. Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is an alternative ingredient that is produced without harming local wildlife and communities.
Now Zoo visitors can see for themselves how some common supermarket products rate in terms of their use of palm oil.
Visitors will be able to scan selected products, see where they rate on this three-stage scale, and email manufacturers accordingly, either to congratulate them or to ask for a change in palm oil policy.
The Zoopermarket is located at our Orang-utan Sanctuary giving visitors viewing Asia’s only Great Apes better information about the issue that is pushing them towards extinction.
- Greenpeace statement: RSPO revisions too little and too late (dominicantoday.com)
- Kroger Turns to Sustainable Palm Oil to Protect Forests (sustainablebusiness.com)
- The palm oil industry will be following a challenging – and challenged – path over the next few decades (emgcsr.wordpress.com)
- Palm Oil Advantages and Disadvantages (healthylifestylesliving.wordpress.com)
- Would YOU Kill An Orangutan? Say NO to Palm Oil. (intentious.com)
- Can I get my hot cross buns without palm oil please? (dianlipiarski.wordpress.com)
- Orangatuans Homes Are Being Destroyed (cosanimals.wordpress.com)
- Is Switching to “Green” Palm Oil Even Possible? (greenerideal.com)
- Indonesian forest open for mining, logging (smh.com.au)
March 22, 2013
A group of biologists and conservation scientists meeting in Sumatra warned that potential changes to Aceh’s spatial plan could undermine some of the ecological services that underpin the Indonesian province’s economy and well-being of its citizens. After its meeting from March 18-22 in Banda Aceh, the Asia chapter of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) issued a declaration [PDF] highlighting the importance of the region’s tropical forest ecosystem, which is potentially at risk due to proposed changes to its spatial plan or system of land-use zoning.
Under the new spatial plan, more than 150,000 hectares of previously protected forest land would be given over for logging and conversion to plantations. Nearly a million hectares of mining exploration licenses would be granted.
One concern is that some concessions are located in steep watersheds that sustain lowland rice production. Another worry, highlighted by environmental groups, is that substantial blocks of surviving lowland habitats for orangutans would be put up for logging and oil palm plantations, putting the critically endangered species at increased risk. Aceh is one the only place on Earth where orangutans, rhinos, tigers, and elephants can be found living in the same forest.
The ATBC resolution notes some of these concerns. ”Aceh forests are essential for food security, regulating water flows in both the monsoon and drought seasons to irrigate rice fields and other cash crops,” states the declaration. “Forest disruption in Aceh’s upland areas will increase the risk of destructive flooding for people living downstream in the coastal lowlands.”
ATBC says that the proposed spatial plan “will elevate the risk of serious local environmental problems, a loss of key nature hydrological functions, and serious disruption of lowland river systems and fisheries, which could negatively affect human livelihoods and biodiversity.” It adds that “further conversion of lowland forest will increase conflicts between people and surviving wild elephants, posing a significant threat to farming livelihoods.”
The group, which is the largest association of tropical conservation scientists, therefore recommended that Aceh’s spatial plan “be based on the extensive, high-quality spatial data that are available within the Government of Aceh agencies, especially maps on watershed forest areas, environmental risk, soil types, geological hazards, human population centers, rainfall and the distribution of Aceh’s wildlife.” It also called for action against illegal logging, forest conservation, and road construction.
ATBC-Asia urged the Aceh government to adopt an economic development model that “prioritizes clean development and payments for environmental services, while limiting unsustainable natural resource extraction.
Aceh has the most extensive forest cover of any province in Sumatra. It has had a moratorium on logging since 2007, although the new spatial plan would effectively end the logging ban.
- Sciencists urged to stand up for Aceh’s biodiversity (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
The Indonesian province of Aceh on the western tip of the island of Sumatra may be preparing to lift the protected status of key areas of lowland rainforest potentially ending its bid to earn carbon credits from forest conservation and putting several endangered species at increased risk, according to reports.
Under a draft plan developed by the Aceh parliament’s spatial planning committee, some 71,857 hectares of protected areas will lose their protected status and be turned over for logging, mining, and conversion for plantations. While the area represents two percent of Aceh’s forests, which presently cover 55 percent of the province’s land mass, it includes some of Sumatra’s increasingly rare lowland forests. Aceh has the most extensive forest cover left in Sumatra, where vast swathes of forest — 40 percent of its primary forests and 36 percent of its total forest cover since 1990 — have been cleared for pulp and paper plantations, oil palm estates, and agriculture.
The draft plan is a significant departure from the plan proposed by Aceh’s last governor, Yusuf Irwandi, who championed himself as a conservationist. Irwandi’s plan — which was never passed — called for increasing forest cover to 68 percent of the province through strict conservation and reforestation. The new plan targets 45 percent, including reactivating abandoned logging concessions.
The former governor’s plan was driven by his interest in earning carbon credits under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), a opposed mechanism that aims to compensate tropical countries for protecting and restoring forests. But REDD+ has failed to develop as hoped, undercutting the market for, and value of, forest-conservation based credits. Now one of the first REDD+ projects in the world — located in Aceh’s Ulu Masen — appears to be on the chopping block, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Another wilderness area, Ulu Masen, which was slated to become a 735,000-hectare preservation area to prevent carbon emissions, is also not recognized under the spatial plan,” wrote Michael Bachelard for the newspaper.
Part of the motivation for the change may be political, according to a local government source who spoke to Mongabay.com on the condition of anonymity.
“The 68 percent figure was in the draft spatial plan prepared by the Irwandi administration, however the government reform inside Aceh needed to achieve this goal never took place during his term,” the official said. “Now what we are left with is a team that is 100% anti anything that slightly resembles Irwandi, and a team of bureaucrats who have no faith in REDD delivering any funding and are preparing to launch major deforestation and [road] projects in the name of ‘community development’ which in reality is simply driven by a small number of large businesses.”
Environmentalists say some of the areas set to be excised from reserves under the revised spatial plan would go to mining, palm oil, and logging companies. The Aceh branch of WAHLI, a Indonesian environmental group, said that Acehnese civil society groups are reviewing the proposed changes and matching them with road development projects, oil palm plantations, and mining concessions.
“We fear that these changes are influenced by [business] interests,” TM Zulfikar, Executive Director of Walhi Aceh, told Mongabay-Indonesia. “We encourage the committee to open the spatial plan to the public.’
But Aceh’s Head of Planning Department of Forestry and Plantation, Saminuddin B. Tou, denied that mining and palm oil interests are influencing the process. He said some of the areas have already been converted and developed despite being designated as protected by the central government’s Ministry of Forestry.
“We checked the boundary of the Wildlife Reserve Rawa Singkil on the ground and found is a discrepancy between the Ministry of Forestry map and the conditions in the field,” Saminuddin told Mongabay-Indonesia. “When the boundaries of Wildlife Reserve were set in the year of 2000, there were already settlements in the town of Subulussalam and oil palm plantations leases in the conservation area. This is our chance to issue a concession areas and settlements which were already established in Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve.”
However the draft spatial plan also proposes opening up parts of the Leuser Ecosystem Area, an zone renowned for its biodiversity — including populations of critically endangered tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and elephants — for concessions. Leuser has been designated as a “National Strategic Area” by the central government, requiring its protection and “sustainable management”. Yet Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah recently transferred control of the Leuser ecosystem’s independent management authority to the province’s Department of Forestry, which is “traditionally pro-development” according to the Sydney Morning Herald report, raising questions about the long-term commitment to protecting the area. Leuser has already been a source of tension between the central government and the government of Aceh. Former Governor Irwandi, despite his green reputation, in 2011 granted an oil palm development permit in the Leuser’s Tripa peat swamp in violation of the central government’s moratorium on new concessions in the area. That palm oil company’s permit was later revoked, but not before the area was heavily damaged.
Ultimately if Aceh’s proposed changes to its spatial plan are deemed too radical, some could be reined in the central government. Furthermore, local opposition could make it difficult for excessive concession development in areas used traditionally by communities. Aceh still has extensive forest cover partly due to opposition in the form of an insurgency by the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka – GAM), which fought against the Indonesian government from 1976-2005. Among GAM’s grievances was natural resource extraction by outsiders.
Nonetheless environmentalists are deeply concerned about the proposed spatial plan.
“In Indonesia, most of the good forest is gone except Aceh and Papua,” Mike Griffiths, a former coordinator for the Leuser Ecosystem Management Authority told Sydney Morning Herald. “[Now, in Aceh] they are planning, sooner or later, to knock down a quarter of their forests, most of them in the lowland areas.”
“If this happens, we’ll see the extinction of all the charismatic species in 10 to 20 years.”
- Leuser Ecosystem Under Serious Threat (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Large blocks of Sumatra’s endangered rainforest may be put up for mining, logging (news.mongabay.com)
- Extinction risk as Aceh opens forests for logging (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Large blocks of Sumatra’s endangered rainforest may be put up for mining, logging (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
December 2012: The Sumatran orangutan is losing habitat fast. Pristine forest in Indonesia is being carved up, set on fire and converted into palm oil plantations at a shocking pace. The drive for profit is seeing palm oil companies also move into areas of protected forest – like the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest in Aceh. Home to many iconic species, including the densest population of the last remaining 6,600 Sumatran orangutans, Tripa is also a critical carbon storehouse for the planet.
The destruction of Tripa is having disastrous consequences: for the wildlife and biodiversity which is perishing with it, for the local communities whose livelihoods depend upon it, and for all the rest of us as carbon emissions escalate. Tragically, over 80% of orangutans in Tripa forest are estimated to have perished as a result of this habitat destruction.
But in a case that could make history, two palm oil companies are now facing court for operating illegally in Tripa. The tireless efforts of local and international NGOs have pushed this issue forward and it is about to become a real test case for Indonesia. If the law is upheld and the law-breakers are punished then there is hope for protecting other areas of forest in Indonesia in the future. If not, the law loses even more ground and greed gets the green light. International public pressure is urgently needed to help uphold Indonesia’s environmental laws and to take a stand against this blatant exploitation for the benefit of so few. Please add your voice and help show that the world is watching this case.
What you can do right now:
1. Sign this petition to demand that the law be upheld in the Tripa case:
2. Find out more and donate to the campaign at:
3. Like and Share this video as widely as possible.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, offered Tuesday a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of those who killed three elephants on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, media reports said.
The three pachyerm specimens – two adult females and a 1-year-old baby elephant – were found dead over the weekend in Tesso Nilo National Park, a wildlife preserve surrounded by oil palm plantations in central Sumatra, The Jakarta Globe reported.
What is most probable is that the elephants were poisoned as an act of revenge for the destruction of the huts of workers producing palm oil, park director Kupin Simbolon said.
“Those cowardly killers should be arrested and put on trial,” the vice president of PETA in Asia, Jasin Baker, said in a statement.
The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, said early this year that the Sumatran elephant is at risk of extinction during the next 30 years, its classification having gone from “endangered” to “critically endangered” due to deforestation.
The population of Sumatran elephants grows smaller every year in Indonesia due to illegal logging, oil palm plantations and other threats to their habitat. EFE
- PETA Hunts for Elephant Killers, Offers Reward (ecorazzi.com)
- The Sheer Evil of Palm Oil Greed – 3 Rare Sumatran Elephants Killed by Palm Plantation Workers (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)
- Banks, stop funding Indonesian forest destruction corporation (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Banks and funds put on notice on Sumatra pulp mill investment risk (yubanet.com)
Presented by Volcomunity + V.Co-Logical in partnership with Sumatran Orangutan Society Filmed and Edited by Mark Samuels
Costa Mesa, CA. – November 7th, 2012 –Volcom announced today, the public premiere of the 15-minute, eco-themed documentary. It will be shown on Volcom Facebook on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10 AM PST and held onVolcom YouTube’s page for viewing after initial public Facebook debut.
The Last Orangutans documentary is presented by Volcomunity + Volcom V.Co-Logical in partnership with Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), and was filmed, edited and directed by Mark Samuels. This film stemmed from a product collaboration with Volcom V.Co-Logical Series and SOS for the Fall 2012 year, where 5% of sales from select Volcom products (by way of its 1% for the Planet membership) we’re given directly to the UK based SOS organization in efforts to support their conservation and educational work revolving around the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan. This film was seen at select global film festivals during the 2012 summer film festival circuit where it gained nominations in best short film documentary and best director amongst other accolades.
In December of 2011 a small group traveled to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, to experience firsthand, the plight of the near extinct orangutans in one of their last strongholds.
“Amazingly, we found that a majority of Indonesians were uninformed about the severity of the problems and others, including government officials, lack any true resolve to confront the issues facing the orangutans and the forest itself,” said Mark Samuels, the film’s director.
The documentary compels the viewer to examine the causes of the rainforest destruction occurring in Indonesia and the effects an average citizen has on the destruction and the impending extinction facing the orangutans. Through interviews with government officials, villagers, and NGOs as well as breathtaking footage from Leuser National Park and the animals themselves, the film offers a compelling look into the problems and solutions that will decide the fate of the last orangutans.
For more information and the film’s trailer please view:
Behind the scenes of ‘The Last Orangutans’ filming Part I
Behind the scenes of ‘The Last Orangutans’ filming Part II
About Volcom, Inc.
Volcom is a modern global lifestyle brand that embodies the creative spirit of youth culture. The company was founded on the principles of liberation, innovation and experimentation, and this is uniquely expressed in premium quality clothing, accessories, sunglasses, goggles and related products under the Volcom and Electric brand names. For more information, please visitwww.volcom.com . Volcom is a wholly owned subsidiary of PPR S.A., www.ppr.com.
About Sumatran Orangutan Society
The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) is dedicated to protecting orangutans, their forests and their future. This is done through:
- Raising awareness about the importance of protecting orangutans and their habitat.
- Supporting grassroots projects that empower local people to become guardians of the rainforests, and restoring damaged orangutan habitat through tree planting programs.
- Campaigning on issues threatening the survival of orangutans in the wild.
For more information please visitwww.orangutans-sos.org
- Priceless or Worthless? The Fight for Earth’s Most Endangered Species (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Vanishing species? (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Ape Rescue | SBS Dateline (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Ape escape: Orangutans saved as their tree homes are demolished (mirror.co.uk)
- Orangutan get chipped for protection | NBC News (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Demand for palm oil, used in packaged food products, leaves orangutans at risk (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Great apes, small numbers (esciencenews.com)
Orangutans in Indonesia could be on the brink of extinction all for a product many Americans do not even know they are consuming. The Orangutans natural habitat in Indonesia are allegedly being burned down and decimated to make room for trees that produce palm oil.
Palm oil is a cheap ingredient that is used in almost half the items in American grocery stores. But because palm oil goes by so many different names it can be hard for consumers to identify it in the products they are purchasing.
Jane Velez-Mitchell spoke to Rolf Skar the Forest Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA. For more information visit Greenpeace.
To find out how you can adopt an orangutan check this link.
sign the petition at www.change.org/savetripa2
See the full story Friday night on Jane Velez-Mitchell at 7pm ET on HLN.
The rainforests are the lungs of our planet and must be protected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently determined that palm oil should not be included in the Renewable Fuel Standard, because palm oil causes the most pollution due to the clearing and burning dense rainforests, many of them on carbon-rich peatland, for oil palm plantations.
The palm oil industry is vigorously attacking EPA’s conclusion, alleging it’s based on inaccurate assumptions and data. It doesn’t want it used to disqualify palm oil-based fuels from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
The industry has hired lobbying companies like Holland & Knight to overturn EPA’s preliminary finding that palm-based biofuels don’t meet the greenhouse gas standards of the federal renewable auto fuels mandate.
Indonesia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer. The widespread deforestation for new plantations has made Indonesia the world’s third biggest global warming polluter and has led to the killing of endangered species like orang utans.
Next week an EPA delegation will visit a palm oil plantation on Sumatra island and then meet the Indonesian agriculture minister, Gamal Nasir. Regarding this visit, it is extremely important to make the EPA aware of the environmental hazards caused by the cultivation of palm oil.
Please tell the EPA to stand by their decision that palm-based biofuels don’t meet the greenhouse gas standards of the federal renewable auto fuels mandate!
- By 2020, Indonesian palm oil plantations will release more CO2 than Canada (energybulletin.net)
- U.S. officials to visit Indonesia for palm oil emissions talks (reuters.com)
- [Off-the-shelf] Children of the Sunshine Industry: Child Labor and Workers’ Condition in Oil Palm Plantations in Caraga-CTUHR (hronlineph.com)
- Palm Oil Seen Clearing Tropical Forest in Borneo in Yale Study – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Stop the EPA From Including Palm Oil in BioFuel Standards! (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)
[ENGLISH Translation will be available soon]
Große braune Augen schauen Ian Singleton an: es sind die Augen eines geretteten Affenbabies, eines Orang Utans in der Quarantäne-Station des Tierschützers. Er und sein Team versuchen auf der indonesischen Insel Sumatra so viele Orang Utans wie möglich vor dem Tod zu retten. Ihr Feind: die Palmölindustrie, sie raubt den Tieren durch Brandrodungen ihren Lebensraum. Indonesien ist der weltgrößte Produzent, der Weltmarktanteil liegt bei 44%, denn fast die Hälfte aller Produkte im Supermarkt enthalten Palmöl. Es befindet sich zum Beispiel in Backwaren, Waschmittel und Süßwaren.
Der Boden und das Klima auf Sumatra sind für die Palmölindustrie ideal. Hunderte von Brandrodungen gab es bereits in diesem Jahr, dabei sind sie in Indonesien verboten. Konkret bedroht: der Torfsumpfwald von Tripa an der Westküste, das hochsensible Ökosystem gehört zum UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe. Die Konzerne interessiert das wenig, für sie zählt der Profit. Das hat dramatische Folgen für die Affen: ihr Lebensraum wird vernichtet, viele Tiere finden kaum noch Nahrung und verhungern, andere werden getötet, weil sie auf der Suche nach Futter den Palmölfeldern zu nahe kommen. Die Orang-Utan-Babies werden häufig auf dem Schwarzmarkt verkauft und landen oft als Haustier im Käfig – auch das eigentlich verboten auf Sumatra.
Weltweit- Autor Norbert Lübbers hat sich mit seinem Team auf den Weg nach Tripa gemacht, die brennenden Wälder gesehen und einen Palmöl-Produzenten damit konfrontiert. Aber er hat auch gesehen, wie den Affen in der Quarantäne-Station geholfen wird: Die Tierschützer peppeln die verstörten Oang Utans auf und wildern sie später aus, sie werden umgesiedelt in einen entfernten Regenwald – dorthin, wo die Palmölindustrie noch nicht vorgedrungen ist.
Eine Weltweit-Reportage von Norbert Lübbers
Redaktion: Swantje von Massenbach