Overexploitation Syndrome Using the Example of
Palm Oil

Palm oil is obtained from the fruit of the oil palm and, thanks to its high yield, is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. It has a range of uses, including in the production of food, cosmetics, biofuels and animal feed. However, there are many problems associated with palm oil production. Rainforests are cut down, entire ecosystems are damaged, harmful gases are released into the atmosphere and human rights are disregarded.

So why is palm oil so attractive to industry despite these circumstances? One of the reasons is its efficiency. Palm oil is an important, inexpensive and useful raw material to which few alternatives currently exist. Dilemmas arise not only at global level. We are also faced with difficult decisions regarding palm oil in our everyday lives. What can we do about it? Is it enough to look out for organic labels? What are the options for those who cannot afford organic products from the supermarket?

The pupils research and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of palm oil in order to obtain information, develop their own point of view and deal with the resulting dilemmas. The pupils‘ values and feelings also play a central role here.

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