Saturday, 30 March 2013

Hot cross buns contain palm oil

Hot cross buns contain palm oil
I first noticed a few posts on Facebook about palm oil, then today I saw it on the news - hot cross buns from Woolworths and Coles contain palm oil, sourced from growers who destroy the habit of Orangutans.

To me, the real news was how few people actually knew about this. They also don't seem to realise that about half the products available at any supermarket contain palm oil, it just happens to be that Coles and Woollies decided to label this particular product as containing palm oil specifically. They absolutely could not have predicted the public reaction.

So now some people are boycotting these buns, and in some cases the supermarkets. I really think this is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. In a sea of lava. Populated by fireproof sharks.

It's simply guilt mitigation.

The problem isn't farmers in Indonesia, or Coles or Woollies. It's the fact that you exist.

You're reading this on a computer which is connected to the internet, so I'm going to make some assumptions which should be pretty accurate for the majority of you.

To eat, you have to damage or destroy multiple ecosystems. Industrial agriculture is about commandeering land and replacing it with food production for humans. You have to mine Phosphorus from places like Morocco, and transport it to your country to manufacture fertiliser. Both the transport and the creation of fertiliser requires massive amounts of fossil fuels. Farming requires lots of fresh water, which comprises about 1% of the total water on the planet. No matter what you eat, even if you're vegetarian, you're funding this process.

The plastic in every object in your daily life comes from petrochemicals - oil. Once used they go into landfill or wreak havoc in ecosystems.

The phone you own contains at least a percentage of conflict minerals from mines in Africa.

The electricity you use is mostly derived from fossil fuels.

The building you live in sits on what was once pristine habitat.

The car you drive. The road you drive on. The clothes you wear. The meat you eat. Everything you depend on.

It's systematic. The very systems we depend on are not sustainable. Every time a new human is introduced, the resources must be found to sustain them, and those resources must be commandeered from non-humans.

For us to exist, to maintain our modern lifestyle and grow the population and it's wealth, we have to remove ecosystems and take their resources for ourselves. That's just how it is.

This isn't by design. No one made a choice for the world to turn out this way. No one can predict what is going to happen, just as no individual neuron can comprehend the emergent behaviour of the brain.

Rather than starting from a position of certainty and Googling articles which reinforce your decision to boycott buns, you should be completely fucking confused, bewildered and at a loss as to what to do. And then, if it makes you feel better, boycott the buns anyway.


  1. as far as i can work out we humans could solve a lot of problems by digging a big hole and all jumping in. last person in closes the lid to keep the carbon gasses from escaping.

    trouble is, who will feed my cat?

    1. There will be plenty of small creatures for your cat to eat I think.