Wren McLean, from the Palm Oil Action Group, wants the public to be aware of the impact that palm oil production has on the env
Wren McLean, from the Palm Oil Action Group, wants the public to be aware of the impact that palm oil production has on the env

Protestors palm off Bali summit

By Jamie Brown jamie.brown@northernstar.com.au A HOST of government representatives and NGO activists are rallying in Bali this week for tighter greenhouse gas emissions, but local activists Ruth Rosenhek and Wren McLean are content to wage the war on their home turf.

The passionate environmentalists say their work promoting the wrongs of Asia's palm oil industry far outweigh any hot air they could supply at the United Nations' conference on climate change.

Instead they are organising the first of three protests at Woolworths, starting in Lismore today from 11am.

"We weighed up what we could offer the summit with the need to save emissions generated by our flying over there in aircraft, and decided to continue on the palm oil campaign," said Ruth.

Interestingly, the issue of Indonesia's burgeoning palm oil plantations is being raised at the Bali summit, because clearing and burning of lowland swamps in Kalimantan contribute to increased methane and CO2 emissions as well as the loss of key orangutan habitat.

Palm oil plantations are replacing lowland rainforest at an alarming rate, to create an oil high in saturated fats which is increasingly used in ice-cream, chocolate, biscuits, chips, margarine, crackers, cooking oil, toothpaste, soap detergents and cosmetics.

Now palm oil is being used to create bio-diesel fuel, but at a huge cost to the environment. Australians consume an average of 10kg of palm oil each, every year, much of it in tasty foods like Tim Tams, Pringles chips and KFC.

"I've been involved in a lot of campaigns but I'm surprised at the response to this one," said Ruth.



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