The dirt, the smudge, the low down on Palm Oil and Drones

By Natalie Jonk

You might have noticed this week (hello, grand launch!) that we have advocated what could be the most epic tracking project in the world. And all right, we’re not the international space station, but we can definitely say that we are all for promoting a healthy global eye on the Earth. So, let’s dive right in on how drones, endangered species, and Borneo are all related to palm oil.

Believe it or not, palm oil is not a cosmetic necessity for some scaly hands. It IS however the ultimate cash crop for plantations in Malaysia Borneo. What do we use palm oil for? Excellent question! Palm oil is most commonly found as a substitute for trans fat in processed foods. In fact, it commonly gets written down in ingredients as a type of vegetable oil. Now, that doesn’t sound too bad with some sugar coating. However, the damage extends much further than your belly. Palm oil is the most ecologically destructive oil to harvest. And we mention this destruction in order to seamlessly transition into what Borneo and endangered species have got to do with palm oil.

Borneo is a tropical lush home for not only palm trees but also furry endangered animals (we’re looking at our orang-utans especially). With the lucrative business of harvesting palm oil rising, thousands upon thousands of animals are pushed out of their homes. We’ve seen campaigns everywhere that advocate for the halt of such destructive harvesting, but we would like to one-up the ante. Cue, dramatic introduction to drones.

DRONES. So, hear us out on the friendly use of drones. Pretty frequently in the news, they have a terrible reputation as a strong arm of war, but we’re harnessing the technology for good, to save some of our dear endangered friends. We’re using the drones to drop knowledge, not bombs. To track, not attack. And finally, to save, not destroy Borneo. There is so little research on what happens AFTER deforestation, that we’re going to need all hands, or should I say, eyes, on deck to help out our scientists track the ousted species in Malaysia.

Here is the campaign video!




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