Fires in Indonesia produce some of the world’s worst pollution, sending suffocating smog to cities hundreds of miles away in Malaysia and Singapore.
But because producing palm oil is so efficient — by some estimates up to ten times more so than other vegetable oils, and therefore requiring considerably less space for cultivation — it puts environmentalists in the awkward position of lobbying against a crop that could theoretically stave off further deforestation if it were managed properly.“What you hear a lot is that global demand for palm oil is growing, which leads one to think that consumers somehow want palm oil,” said Conant. “But they want it because it’s cheap to produce, and it’s cheap to produce in part because companies are bucking economic, social, and environmental concerns. It’s the scale of the industry that’s really the problem.”
'Pretty much anywhere there’s rainforest it’s now lucrative to cut down the rainforest and plant oil palms.'