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Okay, we can --- but should we?

 
Posts: 326
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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There's that word "should" again, I know. I saw an article on Mongabay: Can Palm Oil Be Grown Sustainably? Research Suggests It Can, and Without Chemicals. Well, okay -- but then there is the question of whether oil palm, even if grown sustainably and without chemicals, is an appropriate crop to be growing, considering its uses. Junk food and the chemical substances people put on their bodies?

On the other hand, it does have potential as a biofuel, too, which would help to cut down on carbon emissions?

So what do you all think? Do you see oil palm having a place in tropical permaculture? Or is this a side track we could do without?
 
Posts: 82
Location: Ohio
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Palm oil produces more food oil per acre than almost any other plant. That level of efficiency can be good. Imagine how many more acres of sunflowers or oil olives we'd need to meet our worlds cooking oil needs.
And junk food serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things. Baking a cake is a tradition as old as human time. People need good things food - for celebrations, just because they want the joy of it, for after a long days work. Just because your sugar is organic or free range eggs or butter not oil instead of enmasse mixed in a vat doesn't make it nutritionally superior. All things in moderation IMO.

It's kind of like so many people switched to agave nectar instead of cane sugar they started planting natural territory in the desert and clearing jungle in mexico for agave instead of cane sugar and get fewer calories per acre. They just end up clearing MORE jungle for something else.

I appreciate the efficiency of palm oil in that sense. But it needs to be managed well to meet our human and environmental needs instead of purely for making money.
 
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Location: Denmark 57N
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Palm oil is just an oil like any other, solid at room temperature which makes it useful as a butter/lard/tallow replacement intrinsically it is no worse or better than any of those others. Just because the places you normally see it are unhealthy doesn't mean it has to be an unhealthy addition to the diet. It's the same problem as any other thing us humans do. a couple of palm trees here and there is no issue to anything, the same as a couple of chickens, cutting down a forest to plant 10,000 of them is a problem as is packing 10,000 chickens into a barn feeding them antibiotics and polluting the groundwater with their effluent. It's all a matter of scale.

Assuming it's not to difficult to process then I cannot see any reason why people who have the climate to grow oil palms shouldn't as part of a diverse ecosystem.
 
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If i remember correctly Mollison advocated palm oil (as a fuel plant) in a polyculture where the palms are integrated in a food forrest that feed the workers,
while the revenue from the palm oil is for the landlord.

I think this was before large amounts of rain forrest have been burnt down to plant palm oil monocrop.

PS: I advocate for using more descriptive topic titles.
 
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https://permies.com/t/158985/permaculture-projects/Saturday-April-Full-Tour-Wheaton
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