For most of us, life is a lot easier if we pretend the thing we're eating was grown on a Twinkie tree and picked by a cheerful elf. We don't usually want to think about how many dissolved spiders and fingernails the industry considers acceptable in each can of Coke, even if we know it in the backs of our minds and occasionally swear we feel a little leg-like tickle in our throats. But some of the foods you buy at the local supermarket are produced not just atop a mountain of yuck, but on the backs of inconceivable human tragedy.
Buckle up, because it's about to get more than one kind of gross.
Palm Oil Is In Everything And Also Ruins Lives
You probably don't have a bottle of palm oil in your house, unless you're a weirdly specific kind of baker. You might not even know what it is or where it comes from. (The undersides of hands?) But it's in up to 50 percent of products in your local supermarket, and not just food. This stuff is so versatile that you probably ate it for breakfast, then washed your dishes with it, then cleaned yourself with it, then masturbated with it, and that's (hopefully) before you even stepped out the door.
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And for the love of god, we hope in that order.
Suffice to say we import a lot of this stuff, and the people selling it are making absolute bank. That means it's no problem to them to mow down thousands of acres of rainforest and replace all those trees with insane numbers of one specific palm species. (Ohhhh, palm trees. Well now we feel dumb.) That fucks the local ecosystem in more ways than an acrobat gangbang, but fortunately, the mighty orangutan has adapted to living on palm berries. Unfortunately, the plantation owners aren't thrilled about it, so they've taken up offering bounties of as little as $100 per dead ape. Did we mention they're endangered? Super endangered. Not that they care any more about the lives of any humans in their way ...
Yeah, in Colombia, this single industry is responsible for forcing 70 percent of the population of the Narino region out of their homes at gunpoint to make room for more palm plantations. If they refuse, they're offered due compensation, but the payment is in bullets and it's deposited directly into their bodies. The indigenous tribes of the Malaysian state of Penan have filed more than 100 land rights cases due to palm oil plantations, all of which have been dismissed with derisive laughter and fake crying noises by a government that plans to expand its palm plantation coverage to two million hectares by 2020.
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