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Posts tagged ‘Southeast Asia’

Kellogg’s Destroying Rain Forest

Kellogg’s Destroying Rain Forest

The rainforests of Indonesia are an ecological treasure: They’re home to critically endangered species like the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, and they also store more carbon than the entire world emits in 9 years. Now snack and cereal giant Kellogg’s has made a huge deal with a company that’s wiping these forests off the map.

dont_let_me_die

Kellogg’s has just launched a partnership with Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader. The palm oil industry has had a devastating impact on the forests of Southeast Asia, wiping out millions of hectares of forest and releasing hundreds of millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year. And even among palm oil companies, Wilmar is especially terrible: Satellite evidence recently proved that it’s been illegally logging on protected forests for decades.

Wilmar’s record is so bad that Newsweek named it the least sustainable corporation in the world — worse than Exxon Mobil, TransCanada, and even Monsanto. We need to let Kellogg’s know that this deal is unacceptable.

Tell Kellogg’s: Cut ties with Wilmar, the world’s least sustainable corporation, unless it agrees to clean up its act now!

Palm oil has been popular in Asia for years, but it’s increasingly being imported to the West, largely because it’s slightly cheaper than other vegetable oils — but it also has huge health and environmental costs! Lots of food companies in North America, Australia, and Europe are buying up cheap palm oil to save a few cents, but Kellogg’s is going further than anyone else. It’s teaming up with Wilmar to try to dominate the Chinese snack market.

It’s easy to produce deforestation-free palm oil, but companies like Wilmar are cutting corners to avoid basic sustainability standards (and they’re getting away with it due to widespread corruption). Under intense consumer pressure, Kellogg’s agreed to some sustainability guidelines for its palm oil purchases. But now it’s giving billions of dollars worth of business to Wilmar, a company that has cut down natural parks for palm oil. If Kellogg’s can’t reign in its business partner, this deal could wipe away the impact of all its sustainability initiatives.

Wilmar just announced a small step that shows it may be open to change. In response to anger over massive forest fires in Indonesia, it said that it would stop sourcing palm oil from companies connected to illegal burning. But that’s not enough: We can’t allow it to replace deforestation-by-burning with deforestation-by-bulldozer. Kellogg’s needs to insist that its business partner stop cutting down the rainforest altogether.

Sign our petition to Kellogg’s: End your partnership with Wilmar International unless it agrees to end deforestation.

Thanks for your support,
Rob, Claiborne and the team at SumOfUs.org

The Pressure Cooker

Excerpt from biography Paging Doctor Leff: Pride, Patriotism and Protest.

When Captain Leff arrived at Udorn Royal Thai Air Base in the summer of 1969, one may have thought the greatest threat to servicemen on the base was Venereal Diseases (VD), not the Viet Cong or Pathet Lao.

The dispensary had recently been upgraded to a hospital, and the brass was asking for volunteers in different areas. Arnie volunteered to be the venereal disease control officer. He had some experience with it in medical school and figured he “might as well become an expert in something, since I was going to be there for a year anyway.”

“Servicemen came to our VD program for a number of reasons,” Dr. Leff confides. “One was that I convinced them at orientation that they should see us and not get treated on the Thai open market with medications that were no good. Another reason was that I made a promise that they would not be punished for coming to see the medics with a case of VD. I made that promise based on the U. S. Air Force regulations that were very clear.”

They had an open program that encouraged men to use their services, that there would be no punitive actions, and that they would take care of them. It was free, and it was good medicine.

Because of these assurances and the fact that Dr. Leff kept accurate statistics, by December of 1969, Udorn had the highest number of recorded cases of venereal disease of any base in Southeast Asia. Some would say that was excellent news, to know that it was being reported and treated, but the hospital base commander, Col. Paul Stagg, USAF, MC, thought otherwise.

“The colonel called me into his office and said, ‘The General says we have too many cases of venereal disease this year,’ which makes him look bad. ‘I want you to change the statistics and wipe out the last few weeks of cases so it looks like we have less than we do.’

Dr. Leff replied, “But Sir, if I change these numbers, what if everybody changed numbers? What if body counts were wrong?” Stagg’s response was, “That’s the system.”

“Suddenly, like a flash of light,” Dr. Leff recalls, “the switch went on in my head. It was the first time anyone had said it so bluntly, right to my face. The extent of the lying surrounding the war inundated every sector and every branch.”

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