Palm oil is in nearly everything you can think of, from pizza all the way to deodorant. It is a resource obtained from the fruit of oil palm trees. The artwork in the picture above was found on the side of the Lewisham Shopping Centre (artist unknown),and you may be wondering, what does this picture have to do with anything? We don’t have many oil palm trees in London, if any at all. However, the issue with palm oil is a pressing matter, the reason being, it is one of the main catalysts of deforestation in tropical forests, which is why people are raising awareness all the way in the UK. 


The reason there is an orangutan in this street art is because many species and animals living in these tropical forests are heavily affected due to the cutting down of the oil palm trees, many becoming endangered and some even extinct now. The two main types of orangutan are both at huge risk of becoming extinct. In the world, there are only 104,700 Bornean orangutans (endangered) and only 7,500 Sumatran orangutans (critically endangered) left. That is hardly anything, and these numbers are very likely to continue to decline if change is not made.


So, what can we do to help reduce palm oil production and deforestation? One of the easiest things you can do is educate yourself on the matter. Websites and organizations such as the WWF are very useful and reliable sources and are fighting against deforestation all the time - these websites will provide you with a lot of information about what is happening and further steps you can take to help. Another thing you could do is change up your eating habits a little bit. You don’t have to make drastic changes, but it could be something as small as not wasting food or eating more vegetables instead of meat. All the small things add up and these are just a few ways you can help out, that don’t require much effort, but will make a difference.


Many species have already become extinct due to deforestation, such as the Spix’s Macaw, which can no longer be found in the wild. Many things cause deforestation, but palm oil production is one of the main contributors, and even though we may not be able to do huge things to reduce the production of palm oil, we can do many little things to save the environment.