Protect the Environment by Limiting Oil Palm Plantations


Target: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia

Goal: Regulate the number of oil palm tree plantations in order to preserve threatened rainforests, prevent damage to freshwater streams and decrease production of greenhouse gases

Palm oil is an active ingredient in many household products from foods to shampoo. Because of its widespread usage palm oil is in high demand and an extremely lucrative industry in Indonesia. Unfortunately, oil palm plantations bring with them numerous environmental problems as well.

Online publication Science Daily reports, “Land clearing, plantation management, and processing of oil palm fruits to make crude palm oil can all send sediment, nutrients, and other harmful substances into streams that run through plantations.” As a result nearby locals who depend on those streams are left with unusable water. Drinking, cultivating food and washing clothes all become virtually impossible due to contamination. These consequences aren’t short-lived, either. Lisa M. Curran, professor of ecological anthropology at Stanford, states, “…oil palm plantations profoundly alter freshwater ecosystems for decades.”

These plantations also threaten the atmosphere. Large sections of diverse, tropical rainforest are often cleared to accommodate rows and rows of palms. This process releases enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas closely linked to climate change. In addition, encouraging this single-crop habitat endangers the local wildlife because it drastically reduces biodiversity. Having multiple varieties of plant and animal species allows for greater chances of survival in life-threatening conditions. It is what made evolution–and ultimately our existence–possible in the first place.

Urge the Indonesian President to regulate the number of oil palm tree plantations. Call on him to help save the atmosphere and vital ecosystems by reducing the harmful byproducts involved with this destructive process.


Dear President Yudhoyono,

Oil palm tree plantations are hurting freshwater streams and the atmosphere. Though palm oil is a very profitable industry, its rapid production is severely endangering the environment. Not only are your tropical rainforests decimated to accommodate these palms, but freshwater streams are regularly polluted in response to the plantation process.

Harvesting palm oil releases dirt, chemicals and debris into nearby streams, leaving the water unsafe for use by local residents. As a result your citizens often lack clean water to drink or to grow subsistence crops. In addition clearing rainforests releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which are largely responsible for climate change. Furthermore native plant life is threatened by having just one crop dominate the ecosystem. Because there is little diversity the chances of plants surviving species-specific diseases is greatly reduced. The remaining rainforest could potentially die in response to life-threatening conditions.

Because of these negative environmental effects, I urge you to limit the number of oil palm tree plantations in Indonesia. The billions of dollars you earn are still not enough to fix these long-term issues, which professors at Stanford University estimate will last decades. Please, put the long-term sustainability of your land and your people before short-term financial gain. Help keep the Earth a beautiful, healthy home for generations to come.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Inc. via Wikimedia Commons

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