Deforestation is a worldwide problem. Trees are an important natural resource that we should protect. We have decided to donate to an organization that plants trees to give back to our environment. We will be planting trees in two areas of the world.
We chose to plant trees domestically here in the United States because we want to support our local environment. To accomplish this, we will be planting trees in Appalachia, which is a cultural region that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York to Northern Alabama and Georgia. We will also be planting trees in Indonesia, which has a problem with farmers clear cutting rainforests to make room for palm oil plantations.
Each batch of soap we make this year, we will plant a tree with the following organization:
Palm oil is used in a wide variety of commercial products. It has been estimated that up to 50% of the items in the grocery store have palm oil listed as an ingredient. The demand for palm oil is soaring, and consequently poor farmers across Southeast Asia have been clearing huge swaths of rich tropical rainforests to make room for massive palm plantations. Today palm oil production is the largest cause of deforestation in Indonesia and other equatorial countries with dwindling expanses of tropical rainforest.
There is a debate among soapers on whether or not we should be using palm oil in our recipes because of this. We have decided that yes, we should be using palm oil. We are however voting with our dollars and buying only palm oil that is grown the right way. We only purchase palm oil that is organic and grown in a sustainable way. To meet the sustainable certification, the farmer can not clear rainforests to grow palm trees, he is limited to land that is already cleared. The organization also works with the farmer to ensure he is operating at peak efficiency, and getting the most out of the land that he has to work with. Palm oil trees are very productive. If these farmers were forced to grow something else, they would likely need more land to grow enough just to survive; which would make the problem even worse.
In addition to supporting those farmers who are doing the right thing, we also want to show our support by planting additional native trees in Indonesia to help replenish the rainforest. We probably are not going to repopulate the rainforest on our own, but are proud that we are taking steps to help correct the problem.
Appalachia is one of America's most beautiful and renowned regions. Stretching from the state of New York, all the way down to Alabama and Georgia, Appalachia is not only home to the namesake Appalachian Trail, but also the Ozarks and Blue Ridge Mountains. More than 150 tree species can be found in the region, making it one of the most diverse ecological regions in North America. Unfortunately, the resource wealth of the region also means much of the forest has been degraded by mining and timber operations. Over the years, an estimated 83% of habitat has been lost.
We encourage you to help us conserve our natural resources. We realize that none of us are perfect. We challenge ourselves to constantly improve over time. This is one way we are accomplishing that. It is our goal to reduce our environmental impact and make the world a better place for our future generations.