Environmentalists: Your snack foods destroy rainforests

It never ceases to amaze me as to how much extent environmentalists will go in order to lay blame on humans for what they consider to be environmental degradation. Their logic is based on a term best articulated by author Alex Epstein as the perfect planet principle. Essentially, environmentalists think Earth was like the Garden of Eden before humans showed up and as the human population enlarged, they see it as their religious duty to shrink or entirely rid the planet of humans in order to maintain the pristine ecosphere of Mother Earth (aka Gaia) by any means necessary.

Since environmentalism is, for all intents and purposes, a religion it also draws from other religious dogmas in order to make its case. One of them is the Christian doctrine of original sin. In their minds, every human being is guilty of the sin of environmental ruin and has a duty to contribute to the collective effort of planetary preservation. Those that do not will be forced or manipulated into doing so one way or another.

Small wonder then that a recent news story reported by ABC affiliate KGO out of San Francisco that the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) blames snack foods as the reason for deforestation of rainforests. The reason for that is that demand for palm oil is up in which the substance is a widely used vegetable oil farmed out of palm plantations. RAN alleges that rainforests are being destroyed in order to make way for palm tree farms. Never mind, of course, that palm oil demand is up due to trans fat bans that most environmentalist groups aren’t opposed to either.

Since palm oil is a substance used not only to make a variety of products like cookies, ice cream, shampoo, lipstick and pet food, it also has the same preservative capabilities as trans fats. Countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia have rainforests that are plentiful with the product so, naturally, companies will utilize places with the most palm tree presence or have the best climate for palm tree farms. However, a report done by the Rainforest Action Network states that as a result of procurement of palm oil in Leuser, Indonesia has lead to unchecked mining, logging, industrial pulp plantations and poaching in the region, this vital ecosystem is facing a perfect storm of destruction. Oh the horror! What is to be done? The rainforests are surely doomed!

Fortunately, scientists have discovered that yeast is a viable alternative since it has properties almost identical to palm oil. Unfortunately, according to the UK Guardian, using yeast as an alternative is a long way off. However, a report released last year by University of Queensland, Australia researcher Dr. Craig Woodward states that deforestation of rainforests can be a bane but can also be a boon. His research points out that human impacts on the environment, such as deforestation, are not always a bad thing. According to Dr. Woodward, as quoted by the UQ News,:

We found that deforestation can significantly increase the amount of water flowing into wetlands and can even create new wetlands, he said.

“In the past, wetland managers have focused mainly on how deforestation has increased catchment erosion and the transport of sediment and nutrients into wetlands.

The news report also says:

The researchers analysed a global database of 245,000 wetlands and found that water levels in nine to 12 per cent, including 20 to 40 per cent of wetlands protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, were increased due to human deforestation activities.

They found that forest clearance increased the amount of water inflow to these wetland catchments by up to 15 per cent as forests act like “biological pumps” that increase the transport of water into the atmosphere and reduce the amount available to groundwater, rivers, and wetlands.

Increased water inflow can have a major effect by increasing water depth and water persistence in temporary wetlands, and creating new wetlands, Dr Woodward said.

This results in a major change in the plants and animals living in the area and can increase biodiversity.

According to Woodard, reforestation is not always a good thing either:

Reforestation is a natural step towards wetland catchment restoration, but in some cases this could result in the disappearance of the very wetland that we seek to protect.

While Dr. Woodard praises wetlands as a vital part of the environment for providing not only a habitat for plants and animals but also help clean the water of pollutants and reduce flood impact. The doctor says that his study should give wetland managers better information on how to assess water quality resulting from reforestation. In other words, reforestation can result in negatively affecting water quality.

Not only does gang green seek to vilify companies like PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Company and Heinz for their efforts extracting palm oil from rainforests, environmentalist conservation efforts as well as political efforts also harm the the environment they claim to want to save. In short, they want to screw the ecosystem and humans at the same time while seeking to shut down food production by attacking food preservatives. Can’t say they aren’t consistent.