In the Palm of Our Hands
By Zach Conlon,Transition Year student, Moville CC
The story behind the innovative joint project between Moville Community College and the students of Clonmany National school is a heartbreaking one. The real story of palm oil has been hidden from everyone. The students of these fantastic two schools are doing this project to raise awareness of our fragile planet and the species we live with.
What is the real story? The real story is that humans are depriving many animals like the orangutan, rhinos and tigers. For what price PALM OIL. Where is this taking place? Indonesia. Indonesia is the home of these rare animals that are nearly extinct. It is taking place all over the world but Indonesia is at the front of this deforestation and killing of rare and precious animals.
When pupils of Clonmany N.S and Moville C.C were educated about this topic they wanted to do something about it. They started by reducing their use of palm oil products and just being aware of palm oil products in general. Many palm oil products include lipstick, pizza dough, shampoo, detergent and many chocolates.
Students then looked at the wilderness and the animals involved. They took a keen interest in the orangutan and the start of their main project began. The Sumatran orangutan is critically endangered with only 7,500 left in the wild and many die everyday to palm oil and other oils and products being harvested causing deforestation.
The other side of the story is that Indonesia is not the richest country so the government turns a blind eye to deforestation because the importing of products boosts their economy. Palm oil is the best oil to hectare ratio, for every one hectare there is 5890 litres of palm oil with the next being coconut oil producing 2689 litres for every one hectare. Even though these numbers seem pleasing to the eye of farmers we need to look through the eye of the orangutan.
The pupils of Clonmany N.S have made a beautiful picture book about the life and trauma that the orangutan has to go through and endure to satisfy our demand for cost effective products. The students at Moville C.C have been designing an activity book to go along with this story book. With the help of Pure Savage printing in Carndonagh ,we have produced reusable masks with orangutan image to tie in with the theme of the books. We plan to sell these as an optional extra to accompany the books. This should constitute the perfect Christmas present but should also serve as a reminder to us to educate ourselves about palm oil and the effects it has on OUR DYING planet. The difference does lie in the palm of all our hands.