Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Ended Up in Everything — and Endangered the World
Combining history, travelogue and investigative reporting, Planet Palm offers an unsettling, urgent look at a global industry that has become an environmental, public health, and human rights disaster.
It’s in our instant noodles and chocolate bars, our lipsticks and fuel tanks. But what even is palm oil, and how has it come to dominate our lives so completely? Jocelyn C. Zuckerman travels across four continents and back two centuries to find answers about the most widely used vegetable oil on Earth.
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The little oil palm fruit has played an outsized role in world history and economic development. But the multi-billion-dollar palm oil business has been built on stolen land and slave labour; it spurred colonisation and swept away lives and cultures. Today, its fires and mass deforestation generate carbon emissions to rival those of entire industrialized nations, and they’ve pushed animals like the orangutan to the brink of extinction.