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Trees for lunch. Tigers for supper. is exhibited in ARTIS-Park, close to the Heimans Eik. This oak tree has been around for about 275 years. It was planted before ARTIS even existed, making it one of the oldest trees in Amsterdam. The fact that it has been kept for such a long time is extremely unique.  


The oak tree was named after Eli Heimans, a Dutch naturalist. He was one of the founding fathers of nature conservation in the Netherlands. Following his death, a foundation was established based on the belief that numerous changes are necessary to ensure that wild plants and animals have a future. We must encourage a fundamental change in the food industry and ensure that sufficient room is created for our environment. This does not solely apply to the Netherlands, but is of great importance across the globe.


Heimans beliefs are still valid today: trees are important for our world and we must preserve them in their environment. Elsewhere in the world trees are sacrificed for our gain.



Trees and the need for palm oil


The natural habitat of endangered species like the orangutan, tiger, reticulated python, rhino and elephant consists of contiguous areas full of mangroves, tropical rainforests and primeval forests. Every year millions of hectares of these old forests are cleared at a rapid pace to make room for new plantations. One of the main causes of this type of deforestation is our growing appetite for palm oil; the world’s most commonly used vegetable oil.


Palm oil is cheap, a widely applicable commodity and can be found in 60% of our daily groceries. Think: cake, pizza and peanut butter, and don’t forget shampoo, candles and biofuel. In fact, the Netherlands - a tiny country - is one of the world’s biggest consumers of palm oil.

The consequences of these oil palm plantations are disastrous. Biodiversity is disappearing, entire ecosystems are disrupted, local communities are driven away from their own land, reports of child labour on oil palm plantations are increasing, soil and water are poisoned by artificial fertilisers and pesticides, soils erode and a huge amount of greenhouse gases are released.



King of deforestation


The biggest percentage of palm oil is extracted from plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesia wins first prize for deforestation and is the third largest emitter of C02 gases in the world. It seems clear that deforestation contributes to some of the biggest problems this and future generations have to face: global warming and rising sea levels.



Trick or trees


Become acquainted with the endangered Asian elephant and reticulated python right here at ARTIS. We want to create room to let nature, rather than drive it to extinction. We want to create a future for our children and grandchildren on a clean and healthy Earth. Let’s care for trees. Let’s instigate a change in our consumption behaviour and start choosing palm oil free options.

19 April / 02 September 2018 at ARTIS Amsterdam

Initiative of ARTIS and MOAM Amsterdam

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