Super-Hero Spotlight: Tracie Willis

tracieThis week’s, Superhero Recipe is called the Green Goddess. Tracie Willis, put this on the menu of her landmark restaurant, Chocobanana, long before Green Smoothies were hip and trendy. It continues to be one of the most popular drinks on the menu.

Tracie Willis is a “Green Goddess” in her own right. Tracie isn’t just a fan of natural whole foods from the earth, but she is an environmental advocate extraordinaire. She has single-handedly spearheaded recycling programs within the community, organized massive trash clean ups and is always looking out for Mother Earth through greater awareness and education. Tracie is a passionate environmentalist, and not just in her own community, but all over the world. She recently spent time volunteering her efforts in Borneo to help save the orangutan which is now endangered due to reckless farming of palm oil.

Palm oil has been in higher demand over the last several years, particularly from the food industry. Because of stricter labeling regulations, palm oil became a cheap oil replacement that wasn’t considered a “trans fat”. To help promote “heart-healthy” processed foods, companies turned to palm oil. Palm oil and its derivatives are used in a ubiquitous array of packaged foods, including ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, breakfast bars, cake mixes, doughnuts, potato chips, instant noodles, frozen sweets and meals, baby formula, margarine, and dry and canned soups. Many popular vegan items use palm oil.

Did you know, that palm oil has become one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction? In fact, this large-scale destruction of rain forests and carbon-rich peatland landscapes is releasing globally significant quantities of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, making palm oil a major global driver of human induced climate change.

orangutan2Did you also know that orangutans have lost 91% of their population in recent years? Unchecked expansion has pushed palm oil plantations into the heart of some of the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems and palm oil is among the biggest threats driving iconic wildlife species like the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan and the endangered Borneo orangutan to the brink of extinction in Indonesia and Borneo Malaysia. Then there’s the human factor…The production of palm oil is also responsible for widespread human rights violations as palm oil companies often forcefully remove indigenous peoples and rural communities from their lands. Child labor and modern day slavery are known to occur on palm oil plantations in both Indonesia and Malaysia.

Now, I could post some horrific images of the kind of brutality that is happening in these parts of the world. I came across plenty of them while researching this post. I’d rather educate and encourage you to simply do the right thing without having to disgust you into action. Even though this is not happening in your backyard, and I’m sure you’re overwhelmed by all the things that ARE happening in your own backyard, please remember, this affects all of us. The good news!, you CAN do something about it! AND it’s easy, no picketing, or protesting, no letter writing campaigns, all you have to do is read the labels at the grocery store. If a packaged food contains palm oil, simply put it back on the shelf. That’s all there is to it.

To learn more about the endangered Orangutan, go to http://www.orangutan.org.au and learn what you can do to help these magnificent creatures.