PALM OIL PROJECT WITH PAIGNTON ZOO
Following on from last year’s successful Sculpture Trail at Occombe Farm, this summer we have decided to work together on another project based at Paignton Zoo.
The habitat of the orangutan, tiger, cassowary, and many other species is under threat from unsustainable commercial cultivation of palm oil. The animals’ plight has been highlighted in the media in recent months, however the issues surrounding palm oil are complex and cannot simply be dealt with by a simple ban or boycott. An art topic will give us a good opportunity, not only to make our pupils aware of the exact nature of the problem, but also (and perhaps most importantly), to find out how they can take positive action to improve the situation.
Along with many other conservation organisations, Paignton Zoo believes that promoting the use of sustainably grown palm oil is the best way to tackle the issue. Palm oil itself isn’t the problem – it’s actually a very versatile, efficient, and high yielding crop that provides a livelihood for millions of people in tropical countries. It requires far less space than other similar oil crops, which means that if palm oil were banned, you would need to use far more space to grow the next best alternative. The problem arises from how it is grown, and it’s this issue that sustainable palm oil is trying to address. We want children and adults to see that the choices they make can have an impact on wildlife, and wild places, on the other side of the world. We want to empower children to make changes that make a difference and we want them to help us tell others about why it matters.