004) Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Ended Up in Everything - and Endangered the World
 

Over the past few decades, palm oil has seeped into every corner of our lives. Worldwide, palm oil production has nearly doubled in just the last dozen years: oil-palm plantations now cover an area the size of New Zealand, and some form of the commodity lurks in half the products on U.S. grocery shelves. But the palm oil revolution has been built on stolen land and slave labor; it has swept away cultures and so devastated the landscapes of Southeast Asia that iconic animals now teeter on the brink of extinction. Fires lit to clear the way for plantations spew carbon emissions to rival those of industrialized nations. Jocelyn C. Zuckerman will talk about the years she spent traveling the globe and report on the human and environmental impact of this plant for her recently published book, Planet Palm.