Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Rabbi Klein: Are Chanukah Doughnuts Killing Tigers?

Food
Rabbi Klein: Are Chanukah Doughnuts Killing Tigers?

This year, as we celebrate Chanukah and we remember the story of the miraculous oil, it’s worth taking a moment to ask—what kind of oil are we talking about?

The Talmud states that the menorah, at the center of the Chanukah story, can only be lit with pure, pressed olive oil. We honor that miracle of one day’s worth of oil lasting for eight by making foods and candles with all sorts of oils. Unfortunately, some of these oils are far from miraculous.

Photo credit:
Shutterstock

Some of the oil used in our favorite Chanukah foods comes from palm oil. Palm oil cultivation is leading to the rapid destruction of rainforests across Southeast Asia, encroaching on the habitat of some of the Earth’s most beautiful creatures: Sumatran tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos.

If you buy your sufganiyot (doughnuts) at Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme, there’s a good chance it’s being cooked in or with palm oil that comes from destroyed forests.

It’s a real crisis. The palm oil industry already has destroyed more than 30,000 square miles of land, leaving behind only 400 Sumatran tigers in the wild. The burning of these forests is also sending billions of tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, making it one of the world’s largest drivers of climate change.

What’s really tragic is that palm oil can be grown without deforestation, but Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme lack basic practices that could ensure that they’re getting it from responsible sources.

Though these companies claim that they use palm oil from companies endorsed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), this industry-led group adheres to weak standards that still allow for deforestation.

For example, a new report by Friends of the Earth, Forest Heroes and SumOfUs chronicles how the IOI/Bumitama company, a member of RSPO, bulldozed orangutan habitat in Borneo to make way for palm oil plantations that reach the global marketplace (including Chanukah products sellers) through global agricultural products traders. That’s why companies like Nestlé have adopted stronger standards that eliminate deforestation from their supply chain.

Here are three ways you can make a difference:

1. Buy doughnuts, gelt and other Chanukah foods that don’t have palm oil from destroyed rainforests.

2. Burn candles, not rainforests, by using candles made of beeswax or paraffin rather than palm oil.

3. Ask Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme to adopt responsible palm oil sourcing policies by signing the petition at www.forestheroes.org. Additionally, if you buy from a local kosher bakery, ask them to make sure they aren’t using deforestation-based palm oil.

If one day’s worth of oil can last for eight days, then perhaps with our help, these threatened species can thrive once more.

Residents get in a car after leaving their homes to move to evacuation centers in central Vietnam's Quang Nam province on Oct. 27, 2020, ahead of Typhoon Molave's expected landfall. MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP via Getty Images

Typhoon Molave is expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday with 90 mph winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding and landslides, according to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. To prepare for the powerful storm that already tore through the Philippines, Vietnam is making plans to evacuate nearly 1.3 million people along the central coast, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Chipotle's "Real Foodprint" will tell you the ecological footprint of each menu item compared to the industry standard. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

How does your burrito impact the environment? If you ordered it from Chipotle, there is now a way to find out.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Are you noticing your shirts becoming too tight fitting to wear? Have you been regularly visiting a gym, yet it seems like your effort is not enough? It's okay to get disappointed, but not to lose hope.

Read More Show Less
Locals check out the new stretch of artificial beach in Manila Bay, Philippines on Sept, 19, 2020. patrickroque01 / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

By Sarah Steffen

A stretch of coastline in the Philippine capital, Manila has received backlash from environmentalists. The heavily polluted Manila Bay area, which had been slated for cleanup, has become the site of a controversial 500-meter (1,600-foot) stretch of white sand beach.

Read More Show Less
An illustration highlights the moon's Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there. NASA / Daniel Rutter

A pair of studies released Monday confirmed not only the presence of water and ice on the moon, but that it is more abundant than scientists previously thought. Those twin discoveries boost the prospect of a sustainable lunar base that could harvest the moon's resources to help sustain itself, according to the BBC.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch