Asia Malaysia

Destruction of rain-forests Borneo and Malaysia

Palm Oil Plantations, The Destruction of Borneo and Malaysia

I had a dream of what to expect before my recent visit to Borneo and Malaysia. I pictured mile after mile of roads through virtually unbroken rain-forest, a land of wildlife, and magic. Looking on the map it all seemed so far away, so full of wonder, remote even. Top of my list was to visit the Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary, looking back now i can only wonder at my naivety, did it not occur to me to question why a sanctuary was needed in the first place? In my mind i imagined a vast area of forest in which one would view wild Orangutans.

We decided that to really make the most of this area of Borneo we must hire a car in Kota Kinabalu and drive to Sandakan, the town nearest to the Sepilok sanctuary. The early part of the drive climbing hill roads as we passed by  Mount Kinabalu started off to be visually very exciting and promising as we drove through  large swathes of virgin rain-forest. Unfortunately that joy  was short lived as soon we drove for hours through scenes of destruction. For as far as the eye could see the Rain-forest was gone and in its place mile after mile of Palm Oil plantations. The pictures below give a pretty clear and depressing image of just how much of the landscape is now taken up by Palm Oil Plantations. This same picture is one repeated in Sarawak and mainland Malaysia. All of this makes a mockery of the visit Malaysia campaigns which aims to promote Malaysia and Borneo as a tropical paradise.  The sad truth, although it would once have been a spectacular tropical paradise that is all gone now to be replaced by Palm Oil plantations. We are all partly to blame due to our blind consumption of products containing Palm Oil. Another of the horrible ironies is the addition of Palm Oil to diesel in a cynical attempt to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and cut global warming. The irony, we rip out the very forests that we need to help maintain the health of our planet. It is estimated that 80% of virgin rain-forest in Borneo is now gone, but the clearance and logging continues. It is our responsibility to try and save the remaining 20% Part of achieving this is simple, check the ingredients in foodstuffs and do not purchase those containing Palm Oil. Write letters to your MP and MEP demanding and end to Palm Oil use in the EU, and finally sign the petitions available via the links at the bottom of this post.

Below a series of shocking pictures showing the true extent of the devastation in #Borneo, taken during my recent trip. This is a side to #Borneo and #Malaysia the authorities would prefer you didn’t see.




At one time this you would probably not have seen the mountains in the distance as it would have been obscured by dense rain-forest. Now all you see for as far as the eye can see is Palm Plantation

It is no longer acceptable for us as consumers to claim, or desire, ignorance. The reality, we are now a globally connected community and with that comes responsibility to sustain and protect the environment of that community. Once these forests and wildlife habitats are gone that’s it. Eco systems that have survived millennia are being eradicated and cannot be replaced. We as a global community must act, and act now.

Do we really want an Orangutan or Sun Bear to die because we want a bar of Aero, a tub of Ben and Jerrys ice cream, or a bar of Body Shop Soap, is our wildlife really worth so little?

This is the sad reality what is happening on the ground.

In the meantime use this link to see just which well known products contain Palm oil

 A few of the offenders;

Body Shop, Gillette, Aero, Cadbury, Maltesers, Whole Earth Organic peanut butter Aldi supermarkets many products, Warburtons bread, Roses chocolates, Quality Street, Ben&Jerrys ice cream and on and on. Always read the labesl in supermarkets and demand that all products that contain palm oil state on ingredients.

 This is so clearly not a newly highlighted problem as this link to an article on the destruction caused in #Malaysia by #Palm Oil in the Telegraph UK demonstrates.

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  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    it’s so sad to hear about the rainforests being destroyed here… when will man learn to leave nature alone!

    • Reply
      April 10, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Hi Kacie
      Thanks for taking the time to views the post. Unfortunately people do not seem to realise just how damaging Palm Oil is, both to health and the environment. It is being used in foodstuffs as a cheap way to bulk them up. Its actually quite harmful to health.

  • Reply
    Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours
    April 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I am fairly careful about label reading and try and avoid palm oil, but this does make me realise that I must try harder. Thanks for sharing a gritter travel post.

    • Reply
      April 13, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Hi and thank you. I am often shocked by the number and range of products that contain Palm Oil. In fact i have had to give up burying a vast range of foodstuffs due to the addition of Palm Oil. The advantage though is one less nasty thing consumed as Palm Oil is also bad for humans us to ingest 🙂

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