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A Stella Shines Over the Leuser Rainforest

The star is Stella McCartney, of course! How do you write about fashion and environmental star Stella McCartney? You start with the facts. Once more, McCartney has outdone herself! This time in Paris in March presenting her sustainable fashion while also bringing awareness to the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia by supporting the Canopy Planet Organization. […]

The star is Stella McCartney, of course! How do you write about fashion and environmental star Stella McCartney? You start with the facts. Once more, McCartney has outdone herself! This time in Paris in March presenting her sustainable fashion while also bringing awareness to the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia by supporting the Canopy Planet Organization.

Fact # 1 The Leuser Ecosystem

The Leuser Ecosystem is an ancient tropical rainforest covering more than 6.5 million acres in Sumatra, Indonesia. It is an important source of oxygen for the world and has been identified by Conservation International for its exceptionally high levels of biological diversity. The Leuser Ecosystem is home to

  • 105 mammal species, including rhinos, tigers, elephants, clouded leopards, sun bears, and the endangered Sumatran orangutan
  • 382 bird species
  • 8,500 plant species
  • over 95 species of reptiles and amphibians
  • the tallest and largest flowers in the world

The protection of the entire remaining Leuser ecosystem is vital  as it is home to so many endemic and endangered species that need space to thrive.

Fact # 2 Biggest Threats to the Leuser Ecosystem

The biggest threat to this essential ecosystem comes from the industrial palm plantations that produce palm oil. Palm oil is cheaper to produce than animal fat and has many of the same qualities.

These industrial plantations contribute to deforestation through many related activities: for example illegal logging, road construction, and clearing. While some of the clearing is authorized, it may still contravene provincial and national directives.

Fact # 3 Who Is to Blame?

Primarily, it’s the major brands we’re all familiar with: Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, L’Oréal, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benckiser, and Unilever.

Fact # 4 Why Are They to Blame?

Hans Nicholas Jong writes in his article “Despite Promises, Major Brands Continue to Obtain Palm Oil from Rainforest Destroyers” that a new report from Greenpeace shows that brands and their suppliers are not abiding by their own pledges to buy only from sustainable producers of palm oil.

“Greenpeace researchers found that 12 of the world’s largest brands—Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, L’Oréal, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benckiser, and Unilever—were still sourcing from at least 20 palm oil groups that actively cleared rainforests in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.”

Fact # 5 Why You Want to Stop Using Palm Oil

Refined palm oil contains large amounts of harmful fatty acid esters that are known to damage DNA and cause cancer and organ damage. Toddlers and children are especially vulnerable.

Palm oil is bad not only for you but also for the environment. Stop using it! Let’s sum up all the negatives . . .

  • Palm oil harms the climate. When tropical forests are cleared to make way for oil palm plantations, carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading cause of global warming. Tropical deforestation accounts for about 10 percent of total global warming emissions.
  • As forest habitat is cleared, endangered species such as the orangutan, Borneo elephant, and Sumatran tiger are pushed closer to extinction.
  • Smallholders and indigenous people who have inhabited and protected the forest for generations are often brutally driven from their land.
  • In Indonesia, more than 700 land conflicts are related to the palm oil industry.
  • Human rights violations are everyday occurrences, even on supposedly “sustainable” and “organic” plantations.

Fact # 6 But What Can Poor Little Me Do About It?

Indifference is how greedy brands rob the world of its future.

When you think any of these thoughts . . .

  • I am just one person
  • Someone else will deal with this
  • There is nothing I can do

. . . you are part of the problem. Don’t give greedy, power-hungry destroyers the ability to make big decisions for you.

By doing just one thing, you become part of the solution. A few ideas . . .

  • Be informed (see the list of references at the end of this article).
  • Inform others about the dangers of palm oil and its impact on the environment and their health.
  • Read labels and stop buying harmful products.
  • Sign petitions and write to your elected representatives.
  • Remember that you, the customer, are king—or queen. Let your money speak for what’s NOT acceptable to you.
  • Participate in protest marches and creative action on the street. These raise public and media awareness of the issue, which in turn steps up the pressure on policymakers.
  • Support these sustainable businesses.

Fact # 7 One Good Solution—Donate!

Support reputable organizations that align with your priorities and principles. Money goes a long way in the hands of organizations that have a wide-angle lens on global issues. They will invest your money wisely, understanding the priorities and how best to support the cause.

No donation is too small or big enough.

Fact # 8 Follow the Star of All Stars, Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has always been on the leading edge of everything sustainable, ecofriendly, and ethical. We can all be inspired by her illuminating teachings. Her fashion principles aren’t just for fashion—they are principles for living, and we can all apply them to our lives as well.

  • Respect for Nature – We believe in respecting the environment and working with nature instead of against it. By continuing to source as many sustainable materials as possible, we hope to enrich the environment and protect it for the future.
  • Respect for People – The future of fashion relies on people, including those who make clothes, the farmers who grow the crops, our employees and customers. We want to ensure a positive impact for the people we depend on and those who depend on us in return.
  • Respect for Animals – As a vegetarian brand, we believe in treating animals and their habitats with respect. We promote a cruelty-free ethos and continue to innovate ways of creating sustainable materials.

In her article Stella McCartney leverages star power to save the rainforests, Jess Cartner-Morley describes how McCartney stays on top of fashion innovation:

“Dresses made from sustainable viscose sourced from certified forests linked the conservation message to the clothes on the catwalk. Vintage Stella McCartney fabric was upcycled for this collection, and quilted to create a graphic wrap coat. . . . Vegan leather and fur-free-fur coats have become Stella McCartney classics, underscoring a message that you can have both principles and style.”

Fact # 9 Why Stella McCartney Supports Canopy Planet

Because they have the same goal—to make sure that in the fashion industry, brands are able to use fibers whose origin can be tracked down to sustainably managed forests.

Fact # 10 Canopy Planet Organization

About

Canopy works with the forest industry’s biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect these last frontier forests.

Depending on the region, 35 to 60 percent of the world’s forests continue to be felled to manufacture the products we consume, from tee shirts to toilet paper. The loss of these critical forests puts species, communities, and our climate at risk.

Campaigns

For close to 20 years, Canopy has harnessed the purchasing power of forest products customers to advance conservation of the world’s ancients and endangered forests. They work with companies, large and small, to help them develop sustainable purchasing policies, find innovative solutions, and become champions to advance the protection of the world’s threatened forests.

Partners

Canopy offers a powerful list of sustainable businesses they have partnered with. Support them.

Donate

Your donation will be put to good use in Canopy’s mission to protect Ancient and Endangered Forests, the species that call these places home, and the climate. Contact Fawzia at [email protected] or call +1-604-329-5678 if you have any questions about how your donation will be used.

Honor someone buy donating in their name.

Find current job openings at Canopy Planet and how you can volunteer. Sign up for their newsletter.

Follow them!

Canopy Instagram

Canopy Twitter

Canopy Vimeo

Tired of reading? Watch this vimeo

Fact # 11 You Make a Difference

Yes, you do. If you are already a star that makes a difference, thank you. If you are thinking about becoming one, please do! The world thanks you.

XOXO Monica

References

Leuser at a Crossroads

Mongabay Series: Southeast Asian infrastructure

As Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem faces multiple threats, local resistance grows

‘The last place on Earth’: how Sumatra’s rainforest is being cleared for palm oil

Why does palm oil still dominate the supermarket shelves?

 Final Countdown Published on Sep. 18, 2018. A Greenpeace investigation has exposed how the world’s biggest brands are still linked to rainforest destruction in Indonesia.

HANS NICHOLAS JONG

Palm Oil – deforestation for everyday products

Stella McCartney Heads Campaign to Save the Leuser Ecosystem

Stella McCartney leverages star power to save the rainforests

Tags: Leuser EcosystemProtect the Leuser RainforestStella McCartney and the Leuser Ecosystem,  #thereshegrowsCanopy PlanetCanopyPlanet.orgLeuser EcosystemProtect the Leuser RainforestStella McCartney and the Lesuer EcosystemStella McCartney Supports Canopy PlanetStop Using Palm OilWhy palm oil is bad for you.

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