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We All Have Choices

We have choices over what we do or say regarding the abuse, slavery, rape, land-theft, deforestation, and subjugation in the palm oil industry.

  1. We can turn a blind eye.
  2. We can accept the ethical custom that the imperative of delivering profits to shareholders trumps all and every other consideration. We can cut our production costs by using palm oil. Doing so is the business-accepted path, and no one in business will blame us for taking it.
  3. We can accept the thin curtain of respectability that Sustainable palm oil affords. Even as we know, it is a lie constructed to appease consumers. It is not attending to the multiple eco and inhuman issues with any genuine urgency or meaningfully.
  4. We can choose not to lose the reins of our character even as we are confronted with the subjugation and diminishment of children, women, girls, boys, and men. We can choose not to partake, even indirectly, in extinguishing their hope, prospects, possibilities, and potential. We are small and do not have the heft to bring muscle and bluster. We can, however, use our words. We can declare our opposition. We can shine some light on this systematic abuse and exploitation of the vulnerable. We can help bring the hidden into the light. Accepting this happening in our time, on our watch, and that we know about it should pain us all. Ignorance is no longer an option, and silence is support. About 50% of grocery goods contain palm oil. It is subjugation bent backs that support the low price designed to attract our patronage. The duty of straightening the backs of palm oil workers belongs, in part, to all who have, and continue, to support the abuse through their purchases. We each have been inadvertently building up a tab, an IOU to the indentured, enslaved, trapped, and exploited Palm oil workers. Every dollar we spend on products with Palm oil affirms and encourages the companies and countries that profit from the wretchedly eco-destructive and stunningly abusive palm oil production. For our small business, opposition to palm oil will be a most challenging, most fraught route, and we have no line of sight as to how it will play out. The forces arrayed to protect the profits companies make from Palm oil are formidable. The hired apologists for Palm oil are talented and well rewarded. There is a gross imbalance of power between the wealthy owners and the vulnerable kids and women. As always, power corrupts, creating tyrants drunk on money and power. We are not ennobled, leaving kids to marinate uncomfortably in the toxic mix of bullying, crime, exploitation, and abuse without at least trying. There is hope, no power, or authority, and no military might, can stand once its moral authority amongst the people is lost. It is a truism that the smallest act in the most limited circumstances bears the seed of boundlessness because one deed, and sometimes one word, suffices to change every constellation. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead We maintain an unswerving conviction that human dignity is an absolute, not a piecemeal notion; it is all – or it is nothing. Palm oil is a terrible situation for workers. Palm oil is disastrous for tropical forests and calamitous for the planet. Palm oil is corrosive to the principles of our business leaders who are required to harden themselves against the plight of women and kids for shareholder profit. Our collective contribution is needed to save our business leaders. To help palm oil employees and save our civilization. The word civilization does not apply to any culture that allows the level of inhumanity to women and kids that palm oil does: and, untimely, to save ourselves. For milkadamia, it is not the conviction that this will turn out well for our business, rather the certainty that we can do no other regardless of how it turns out. What can you do?
  5. You can write to the companies that use Palm oil and tell them what you think and plan to do about it. As you do this, take no particular note of our values, but take special note of your own.
  6. Don’t underestimate the power of your voice, of your choice – of the power of one who dares.
  7. Switch to brands and products that don’t use Palm oil. This action will complicate shopping greatly, it will be hard and require sacrifice on your part, and it will likely cost more. It may test how much you care and reveal something that may surprise – how, once gripped by conviction and purpose, you are entirely sufficient for any challenge and unstoppable. Be encouraged to speak to businesses in the language they listen to most attentively and react rapidly to their sales, market share, and reputation.
  8. Research Palm oil – information is at your fingertips.
  9. Talk, write, and tell your truth. Note: Sustainable Palm oil may one day be consequential in bringing about a degree of positive change. However, currently, it is mostly a toothless and truthless exercise in consumer placation. The more virgin tropical forest is being felled by supposed Sustainable Palm oil than the others. There is just no such thing as sustainable tropical forest destruction at this stage of Earth’s history – indeed, there never was.