Do humans really need other species?

Do humans really need other species? Yes! millions of organisms are needed to keep ecosystems in balance and ensure everyone can survive. Most importantly, #research shows other species make us happy! Research shows that people are healthier and more content when they are around other species of plants and animals. They need to experience the sights, sounds, smells, feel and taste of other organisms for mental and physical health. This drive is called “biophilia,” meaning love of living things. #Boycott4Wildlife

Palm oil substitutes can offer beleaguered rainforests a fighting chance

Palm oil is a versatile substance used in a wide range of products from foods to cosmetics. The trouble with it is that the cultivation of oil palm trees has caused massive enviromental harm, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for 85% of palm oil production in the world.

But scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the University of Malaya in Malaysia say they have an answer as to how we can wean ourselves off palm oil.

Seaweed is high in vitamins and minerals – but that’s not the only reason westerners should eat more of it

Edible seaweeds and algae – or sea vegetables – are a group of aquatic plants that are found in the ocean. Kelp, dulse, wakame and sea grapes are all types of seaweeds that are used in seaweed-based dishes. Seaweeds are a highly versatile and nutritious food source that can benefit our diet. Seaweeds are often rich in fibre and high in vitamins and minerals. This includes iodine and vitamin B12, which can be lacking in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Mel Lumby: The beautiful begonias of Borneo and beyond deserve our love and protection

Begonias, along with orangutans and many other rainforest inhabitants are in danger now. Will these precious jewels of the jungle be located by scientists, described, eventually named and shared, so that people can love and marvel at their incredible beauty? Or will the bulldozer get there first, destroying where they live, making way to plant oil palm plantations for cheap palm oil? Retired horticulturalist and animal advocate Mel Lumby will keep fighting for as long as she lives.

Celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by leaving the forests alone and #Boycottpalmoil to save imperilled Sumatran & Javan Rhinos

Indonesia manage to conserve two of the world’s five rhinoceros species. Both the Javan rhino Rhinoceros sondaicus and the Sumatran rhino Dicerorhinus sumatrensis still exist today, uniquely only in the country. Extractive industries and large-scale palm oil plantations have transformed the landscape of Sumatra. As a result, the Sumatran rhino’s populations were driven to theContinue reading “Celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by leaving the forests alone and #Boycottpalmoil to save imperilled Sumatran & Javan Rhinos”

Reasons to Hope: Palm Oil Alternatives Made Without Deforestation

Environmental organisation Milieudefensie have calculated that every second, around 169 trees are cut down in tropical rainforests. So the race is on to find a real solution to stop this! Right now, several new technologies are furiously competing with each other to create a healthier, lab-created alternatives to palm oil. Palm oil has been historically grown inContinue reading “Reasons to Hope: Palm Oil Alternatives Made Without Deforestation”

Anthropologist and author of ‘In the Shadow of the Palms’ Dr Sophie Chao: In Her Own Words

Dr Sophie Chao is an environmental anthropologist and environmental humanities scholar interested in the intersections of capitalism, ecology, Indigeneity, health, and justice in the Pacific.

Palm Oil Detectives is honoured to interview to Dr Sophie Chao about her research into the impacts of palm oil on the daily lives of Marind people and other sentient beings in West Papua.

​I wrote In the Shadow of the Palms because I wanted the world to understand how deforestation and industrial oil palm expansion are undermining Indigenous ways of being in West Papua.

Indigenous and local communities key to successful nature conservation

Indigenous and local communities are key to successful nature conservation and for protecting animals from extinction. Story via Eureka Alert and the University of East Anglia. Indigenous Peoples and local communities provide the best long-term outcomes for conservation, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and partners in France. Lead author,Continue reading “Indigenous and local communities key to successful nature conservation”

What elephants’ unique brain structures suggest about their mental abilities

Bob Jacobs, Colorado College Conservationists have designated August 12 as World Elephant Day to raise awareness about conserving these majestic animals. Elephants have many engaging features, from their incredibly dexterous trunks to their memory abilities and complex social lives. But there is much less discussion of their brains, even though it stands to reason thatContinue reading “What elephants’ unique brain structures suggest about their mental abilities”

Back from extinction: a world first effort to return threatened pangolins to the wild

The reintroduction of pangolins has not been easy. But it’s vital to prevent this shy, mysterious creature from being lost forever. Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked animals on the planet and are suspected to be linked to the current coronavirus pandemic. Pangolins are also one of the world’s most threatened species butContinue reading “Back from extinction: a world first effort to return threatened pangolins to the wild”

Chimpanzees once helped African rainforests recover from a major collapse

Most people probably think that the rainforest of central and west Africa, the second largest in the world, has been around for millions of years. However recent research suggests that it is mostly just 2,000 or so years old. The forest reached roughly its modern state following five centuries of regeneration after it was massivelyContinue reading “Chimpanzees once helped African rainforests recover from a major collapse”

The people versus Feronia: Fighting palm oil agrocolonialism in the Congo

This incredible comic was created by Didier Kassai with research by Judith Verweijen and Dieudonne Botoko Kendewa of the University of Sussex and the University of Sheffield. The comic was originally posted by Cartoon Movement. The comic is based on field research conducted around the Feronia palm oil plantation in Tshopo province in north-east DR Congo.Continue reading “The people versus Feronia: Fighting palm oil agrocolonialism in the Congo”

Want to avoid palm oil? You need a ‘palm oil free’ label

The most important factor determining whether consumers avoid purchasing a product containing palm oil is not how they feel about orangutans, the environment, or anything else for that matter. It’s whether they know what’s in the product. Melbourne Business School Research reveals that consumers’ ability to diagnose whether a product is made with palm oilContinue reading “Want to avoid palm oil? You need a ‘palm oil free’ label”

How do we protect the rapidly disappearing Javan Rhino?

With only 74 individuals left, the remarkable and beautiful Javan Rhino is on the brink of extinction and can be found on one of the most densely populated islands in the world – Java. Boycotting palm oil is how you can help them. Sunarto, Universitas Indonesia The Javan rhino was once found throughout many partsContinue reading “How do we protect the rapidly disappearing Javan Rhino?”

Ecocide: why establishing a new international crime would be a step towards interspecies justice

A movement of activists and legal scholars is seeking to make “ecocide” an international crime within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Stop Ecocide Foundation has put together a prestigious international panel of experts that has just proposed a new definition of the term. Heather Alberro, Nottingham Trent University and Luigi Daniele,Continue reading “Ecocide: why establishing a new international crime would be a step towards interspecies justice”

The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit

From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing how and why birds use vocal mimicry to further their own interests, as we discuss in Biological Reviews. Anastasia Dalziell, Cornell UniversityContinue reading “The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit”

A fascinating history of warrior turtles: from ancient myths, warships and teenage mutants

Ask anyone the identity of the world’s most famed turtles, and the answer is likely to be those legendary heroes in a half-shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninjas. Since first appearing in comic book form in 1984, the pizza-eating, nunchuk-wielding characters have shown the world the tougher side of turtles. Louise Pryke, University of Sydney PartContinue reading “A fascinating history of warrior turtles: from ancient myths, warships and teenage mutants”

More protein and good for the planet: 9 reasons we should be eating microalgae

Martina Doblin, University of Technology Sydney; Donna Sutherland, University of Technology Sydney, and Peter Ralph, University of Technology Sydney As the climate warms and deforestation continues at pace, the land we use for growing energy-intensive crops such as wheat corn, soy palm oil is becoming less productive. We need to find ways to feed theContinue reading “More protein and good for the planet: 9 reasons we should be eating microalgae”

Conservation activists suing Indonesian zoo could inspire global action on endangered species trade

In a court in rural Indonesia, an environmental group recently filed a lawsuit of global importance. Their case is against a zoo in North Sumatra that it’s alleged illegally exhibited threatened species, including Komodo dragons and critically endangered Sumatran orangutans. Images by Craig Jones Wildlife Photography. Jacob Phelps, Lancaster University The illegal wildlife trade isContinue reading “Conservation activists suing Indonesian zoo could inspire global action on endangered species trade”

Bonobo mothers meddle in their sons’ sex lives – making them three times more likely to father children

New research shows that for bonobos, sex really is often a family affair. What’s more, rather than being an embarrassing hindrance, motherly presence greatly benefits bonobo sons during the deed. Ben Garrod, University of East Anglia Along with chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus) are our closest living relatives. Restricted to a 500,000 km² thickly-forestedContinue reading “Bonobo mothers meddle in their sons’ sex lives – making them three times more likely to father children”