Palm oil is farmed 2 ways: One produces a lot of smoke and distress, and one keeps all life in mind.
A country's biggest export used to also be their biggest problem.
Palm oil is in just about everything.
From cosmetics to crackers...
...to soap and pizza dough...
It's also in shampoo. And ice cream.
And it's used as biodiesel fuel. It's in almost everything.
Of course, that huge global demand for palm oil is being met by any means necessary. When palm oil farmers find themselves needing land, they turn to jungles for space.
In tropical Indonesia, that land is full of endangered species — the Sumatran orangutan, for one. There are also elephants, tigers, slow lorises, and other animals that live in the rainforests throughout the country.
These palm oil plantations can displace animals, like orangutans that are already endangered, from their natural habitat.
Of course, it has to stop. And that's where Paul Bakri comes in.
Paul Bakri, an Indonesian "smallholder" sustainably farms palm oil — and is one of the first in his country to do so. When the WWF (the creators of the video below) talked with Paul, he told them how he does it.
A smallholder like Paul farms 50 hectares or less — that's almost 100 football fields worth of land. Nothing to sneeze at. He used to work as a construction worker but didn't make enough to feed his family. He started harvesting palm oil with his brother. Afterward, his life improved dramatically. His family is living much better now because of his harvesting job.
Many people like Paul are in a tough situation. If they didn't cut down forest, they couldn't farm. And they might not even find work otherwise.
So, what's the solution?
There's another way to make a living without destroying everything living around you — and Paul is doing it.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
certifies products made by companies that use oil farmed sustainably, and Paul is a part of that program.
But right now, only 6.4% of palm oil is farmed sustainably. That means orangutans like this one are still in danger because people like us love buying instant noodles and pizza and margarine. And that's upsetting.
By buying certified sustainable palm oil when possible, we can do our part to help.
If you see the logo above on a product containing palm oil, that means it's certified.
Bakri is now certified to farm sustainably. He's hopeful that sustainable palm oil in Indonesia will be profitable. If people like us buy the environmentally friendly alternative, farming — without destroying the natural beauty of Indonesia — will be the way of life.
Watch the full video below for more: