Man of the

Non-Existent

Forest

‘Man of The Non-Existent Forest’ is a short solo performance, that explores the effects of the palm oil industry on our planet. Whilst embodying an orangutan, Amy compares her-ginger-self, to the dying species, creating a light comedy for her hard hitting facts. Using a mixture of voice, movement and poetry, Amy exposes the companies responsible for using unsustainable palm oil, in order to evoke change in the consumer habits of her audience.

Amy performed her solo back in January 2019, in The ShowRoom at Chichester, and received an overwhelming response from her audience, with some saying they would drop dirty palm oil for good! She was first inspired to write the show when Iceland’s Christmas advert was banned from our television screens for being “too political”. Now, in light of new and inspiring activists, such as Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg, Amy has decided to develop her solo to reach a wider audience. With a rise in environmentalist activism, people are trying to help save the planet now more than ever, and dropping dirty palm oil is just one of the many ways we can do that.

The Problem with Palm oil

Everyday we lose 25 orangutans 

Palm oil is in 50% of the things we buy, and can be found in things such as bread, toothpaste, lipstick, biscuits, chocolate, shampoo, and that’s just to name a few. It’s versatility and ability to produce more oil per hectare than coconut oil or soybean oil is great, but not so much when companies source it unsustainably. When palm oil is harvested unsustainably, companies are endangering wildlife and contributing to global warming. As inhabited trees are cut down and burnt, they release carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, which enhances the greenhouse effect, heating up our planet. This is something that drastically needs to change if we want to continue living on earth.

As consumers, we have hardly any way of telling whether a product has used sustainable palm oil or not, it’s just not something companies are willing to put on their packaging just yet. In fact, even when we do decide to look at the ingredients, it’s rare we will ever see “palm oil” on the back of the packaging, because palm oil can be found in 25 other ingredient names, making it almost impossible to identify amongst your weekly shop.

In 2013, most of our favourite companies promised that they would stop using unsustainable palm oil by 2020, and whilst some of them have, for others it is just another empty promise.

What Needs to Be Done?

Some companies have started to use the RSPO label to ensure certified sustainable palm oil. However, all companies need to take this on board and start labelling the sustainability of the palm oil in their products, so consumers can make a conscious decision whether to buy them or not. Fish are now widely labelled for their sustainability, so why not palm oil?  

What Can I Avoid?

Companies like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Colgate, Nestle, Mars, Kellogg’s and Mondelez, are still known for using unsustainable palm oil. We can also look out for the 25 ingredients that can contain palm oil:

Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol.

-WWF

Where Can I Find Out More?

Greenpeace and WWF are great sources of research and will be able to keep you up to date with what is going on in the palm oil industry.

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