This post was written for RAN by Megan in Florida, who has been taking action with our Palm Oil Action Team to call out snack food companies using palm oil tied to rainforest destruction in their products.
“Caution! This Snack Food May Cause Orangutan Extinction!” flashes boldly from the snack food products being sold at a San Diego grocery store. Our team of six stuck stickers on snack food products this week to raise awareness about the link between palm oil found in snack food products and rainforest destruction and human rights violations. Along with many palm oil activists across the country, we’re sending a message to US snack food companies to break the link between their snack food products and rainforest destruction and human rights violations.
We split into teams of two and “stuck it” to snack food products at a number of big box grocery stores. None of us had been stickering before, but within no time each team developed their own technique so we looked just like regular shoppers. Everyone moved through the aisles with subtlety except for Josh, who chose to put stickers on all 10 fingers and slap the stickers on the front of packages as he walked up and down the aisles.
I decided that I wanted to put my stickers over the ingredients list to drill home the message that these products contain palm oil and palm oil is destroying the forests that are the last remaining habitat for orangutans.
I’ve signed up to be a palm oil activist because when I visited the Amazon Rainforest in 2011 I experienced firsthand the beauty and diversity of life that is in tropical rainforests. Rainforests are clearly worth more standing than being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. I don’t believe that companies should destroy rainforests so they can provide me with my favorite snack food. The orangutan and other life forms should be able to thrive on this planet just like us. This is why I am a snacktivist and joined the campaign to share information on their behalf.
Before I took this action I didn’t realize how many different products contain palm oil, or the many ingredients that are derived from the palm oil fruit. It was a fun and creative thing to do and it felt good to know that when we finished, the snack foods that contained this controversial oil were saturated with yellow stickers. I feel like we were giving customers a choice to educate themselves about how palm oil was touching their lives.
Megan is a guest blogger from St. Petersburg, Florida. She is an avid snacktivist and Indonesian Rainforest protector. She enjoys guerrilla gardening in cities and mushroom hunting in the wilderness. She is interested in healing inner and outer landscapes through environmental education and ecological restoration. Her recent experiences include a mycoremediation project in oil-contaminated rainforest while living in a shack in the Amazon as well as designing and planting a food forest on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.