Thursday, October 16, 2014

The 28-Day Palm Oil Challenge starts in early 2015: will you be ready?

There are a lot of good websites out there that document, in very grim detail, the effect that rampant and unchecked palm oil production is having on our forests.

Usually I come away from reading these feeling like I just want to hang myself.  I mean—the problem is so huge.  I am so small.  Even JMD is tiny compared to these greedy giants camped out in Aceh Timur’s back yard (and as with all environmental catastrophe, the owners and shareholders certainly never have to visit the places they are destroying—they could care less).  So sometimes I am just so discouraged I think “What can I personally do, really?  I mean, come on—really?”

Well, the folks at Say No to Palm Oil have come up with an answer.  Small, community-based, effectively broken into tiny, manageable yet satisfying doses, its 28-Day Palm Oil Challenge gets us thinking about how we as individuals can stem the tide of this needless commodity while at the same time learning about who we should be targeting when we ask companies to support us by removing it from their products.

“The 28 Day Palm Oil Challenge will be the world’s first holistic, consumer program that will help consumers to reduce their consumption of conflict-palm oil one step at a time, and ultimately live a more ethical, sustainable and healthful lifestyle.
“The program will be broken into 4 sections, “Fridge”, “Pantry”, “Bathroom” & “Laundry”, with one installment delivered per week. Each will focus on how, as a consumer, you can make small changes in relation to your consumption of products found in these specific areas of the house. You will leave the program with a wealth of knowledge, tools and resources to help you lead a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle, and be more conscious of your impact day-to-day.”

The challenge will focus on 3 main principles:
1. Swapping: finding alternative products, or finding products that  “contain genuinely CSPO (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil) or alternative ingredients to palm oil that don’t have negative environmental and social implications.” [I’m a little suspicious of that term “genuinely" and I’m going to ask them about that, but for now we’ll give it a pass.]
2. Cut Down & DIY: reducing consumption and making products at home
 3. Pressuring Companies:  via email, telephone, etc.

The 28 Day Palm Oil Challenge will begin in early 2015. If you would like to help with the development or delivery of the challenge, please write to  
Or you can go to the web page and sign up to receive notices of the challenge. But most of all, just keep reading all you can.  You'll be an activist before the end of the year, I promise!!

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