The Law of Unintended Consequences:
“actions, particularly those taken on a large scale, may have unexpected consequences. These ‘reactions,’ may be positive, negative or merely neutral, but they veer off from the intent of the initial action.” (source: Wise Geek, available at: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-law-of-unintended-consequences.htm)
Well, here’s a perfect example:
Just last week, that media-savvy TV-doctor, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has a following the size maybe matched only by Oprah Winfrey, his mentor (and perhaps every bit as zealous and easily influenced), went on TV with a very reckless “medical” recommendation; a miracle cure, if you will, to rid one’s self of body fat. Working with somebody named Bryce Wylde, he suggested that people interested in more natural health food options to give this new miracle oil a try.
Sound exciting? Well, maybe it is until it’s revealed they’re talking about that environmental scourge that is palm oil.
Let’s give credit where it’s due, though. “Sustainable” palm oil is at least recommended in the Dr. Oz internet piece, penned by Wylde, that is available here:
Unfortunately it’s buried as the last line on the last page, almost as if a tacked-on afterthought. (Maybe it wasn’t in an earlier version and the outcry has been so great that he had to add on this cautionary disclaimer; if only.) But truly certified sustainable palm oil is not even readily available on a widespread basis yet. So what’s the alternative? Non-sustainable palm oil.
Unfortunately, the demand for worldwide palm oil, already sky-high, may just skyrocket into the stratosphere even more after this very public TV recommendation to literally millions of easily swayed viewers around the world.
What would such demand lead to? An insane increase in destruction (of rainforest), death (of critically endangered species, like the orangutan), displacement (of human inhabitants who call the forest home too), and the increase in global warming — all which could come just as NGOs (like Orangutan Outreach, WWF, Rainforest Action Network) and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil may be making some headway to save Indonesia and Malaysia from its own insane, short-term greed.
Dr. Oz must retract this reckless “medical” suggestion, or at least present a segment educating his viewership, perhaps consisting of shut-ins, geriatrics, and the unemployed, to the true environmental cost of their everyday purchasing decisions.
This development is so bad for the orangutans, that a favorite NGO, Orangutan Outreach, posted this response to Dr. Oz’s Facebook page.
Dr Oz and his staff should do a bit of research before making a recommendation like this.While originally from West Africa, today 90% of the global supply of palm oil actually comes from Indonesia & Malaysia. This has come at a tremendous environmental cost. Indonesian and Malaysian forests are being burned to the ground– releasing so much carbon into the atmosphere that Indonesia now ranks 3rd behind China and US in carbon emissions– and it is barely industrialized. The UNEP estimates that the forests of Indonesia are being cleared at a rate of 6 football fields per minute every minute of every day.The palm oil industry is guilty of truly heinous ecological atrocities, including the systematic genocide of orangutans. The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the only place where these gentle, intelligent creatures live, and …the cultivation of palm oil has directly led to the brutal deaths of thousands of individuals as the industry has expanded into previously undisturbed areas of rainforest.When the forest is cleared, every living creature is captured or killed. Adult orangutans are shot on sight. These peaceful, sentient beings are beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured and often eaten. Babies are torn off their dying mothers so they can be sold on the black market as illegal pets to wealthy families who see them as status symbols of their own power and prestige. This has been documented time and again.If nothing is done to protect orangutans, they will be extinct in just a few years. Visit the Orangutan Outreach website to learn more: http://www.redapes.org.
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Recently, I’ve taken part in several conversations about the environmental sustainability of red palm oil. Take a look: http://bit.ly/WBw9dK
- Indonesia’s race to turn palm oil into cash has taken it’s toll on Human and Wildlife alike. (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- The Fate of Orangutans Is in Cargill’s Hands (understory.ran.org)
- Kraft Philadlephia Creme Cheese – Vitamin A Palmitate – That’s Palm Oil (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)