Feature: Seas Our Future

In this article, Environmental Reporters Daisy, Grace, Matilda, Emily and Maddison explain current increasing problems in the environment. It will entail palm oil and our local issue – plastic pollution.

To begin with, we will talk about palm oil. Though palm oil seems a further afield problem, if it were to run out it would impact the use of our everyday products. For example, big brands such as Colgate toothpaste, Flora butter and Kit Kat chocolate bars all use palm oil for their products.

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a vegetable oil which is extracted from certain fruits – such as Elaeis Guineensis an African plant. 3.5 to 7 billion trees are cut down every year in order to produce palm oil. This amount is not sustainable and could lead to a large chunk of our rainforest being cut down. This means that our oxygen levels with decrease in the atmosphere and consequently global warming will increase. Also it will effect habitats of many animals like monkeys.


To help with this environmental issue, a company named Ecosia (in Germany) have created a search engine where every-time you search a question it helps to fund plant a tree. This is important as it could be a simple yet effective solution to help keep our rainforests sustainable.

You can access this website by clicking here.


We spoke to a few of our Geography teachers to understand their thoughts on Palm Oil.

We asked: What are your views about palm oil and how we could help?

Miss Allam: “I think that Palm oil can be positive if production is on a small scale and sustainable for the environment. However, people are getting greedy and asking for more and more land causing negative impacts, so this quickly becomes unsustainable.”

Mr. Merelie: “Palm oil comes across as a negative, unsustainable product but really it can help poor countries gain money and still be environmentally friendly at the same time if they manage it selectively.”

Mr Banfield: “I think that palm oil is bad. However I have had discussions with another teacher who argues that palm oil is the best. They argue that it is a versatile product and helps poor countries as it is a ‘cash crop.’ However, linking back to my point, they have to do deforestation to get it. It takes habitats and puts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to cutting and burning the rainforest. Sustainable palm oil is the best option we have yet as there is no solution to get rid of it.”

Gary King, Mayor of St Austell: “The problem with palm oil is it is in so many products, so unless the Government get involved we don’t know how to stop it. It’s a difficult topic to stop and is very frustrating. I try to use products that don’t have it but it is hard to find alternatives. But spreading awareness can be a start.”

Penrice’s Metal Bottles

Palm Oil however is not the only threat to our environment. Plastic pollution is a growing issue that is destroying our world.

As well as spreading awareness of palm oil, we wanted to share some key facts, figures and ideas so that students can help offset the effect of plastic pollution.

The reach of plastic pollution is vast; for example, Cornish beach cleaners have found litter from other countries such as America. The main offenders in creating plastic bottles, bags and other single use products are China and Indonesia.

Due to the fact that many people don’t understand the damage they cause using a single use items the oceans are being polluted fast. An idea to make positive changes is to recycle as much as possible or you can refuse unnecessary plastic. You can replace everyday items with multiple use products like cloth bags, metal water bottles and metal straws.

However, Penrice Academy are already doing their bit and are trying to join St Austell’s plastic free initiative by providing every student with a re-usable metal bottle in the hope that they cut down on single use plastic.

We spoke to St Austell’s Mayor to find out more about the St Austell initiative and how we can do more. Listen to the interview below.