At Gainesville's Depot Park, a local non-profit organization marched to raise awareness about the dangers of palm oil. Here's a look into why marchers say palm oil production is something you could care about.
The Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant is a non-profit organization founded in Gainesville, and their goal is to help animals by showing everyday Americans how harmful palm oil cultivation can be.
Ron Chandler is the Co-founder and President of CIFAE and he said "We want people to be aware of how ubiquitous palm oil is in food products, cosmetics and so on and why its so important to find alternatives because of the harm palm oil cultivation does to habitat across Southeast Asia."
Julia Jeanty is the General Manager for CIFAE and she explained what products use palm oil you may not have known about. "Palm oil is a very destructive commodity its used in a lot of products like Oreos, Nutella, shampoo, conditioner, lipstick, all kinds of things its found in almost every product you can think of and its very destructive for the Asian elephants habitat."
Chandler described the way the cultivation process is so harmful "Basically they burn the rainforest to the ground and with all the animals in it and then they plant mono culture palm, they put high voltage fences around it that also kills elephants, tigers and orangutans and sometimes they even poison the periphery, really its an awful practice."
This march marks the launch of a global campaign.
Chandler said "This is to formally launch our global campaign against palm oil or to raise awareness about palm oil and alternatives to it, that we've actually started working on stop palm oil campaigns intermittently but this is to launch our full fledged program."
Tv20's Landon Harrar reported "You may have noticed there weren't too many people marching today but event organizers told me that was kind of to be expected, because that's how these events go. The first one like today in Gainesville won't draw the big crowd, but as more people become aware of the issues at hand then they expect attendance to rise."
They have plans to petition the United Nations to create elephant conservation areas in India to help the population survive.