Abstract # 203:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL AND ORANGUTAN CONSERVATION EDUCATION WITH COLLEGE STUDENTS

M. B. Sarnowski and K. Matteson
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA
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     Palm oil production is an industry that threatens Southeast Asia’s biodiversity, including the endangered orangutan. As a result, there is increasing interest in promoting and purchasing sustainably produced palm oil products. Sustainably produced palm oil complies with globally agreed upon environmental standards that produce less environmental impact and damage to orangutan habitats. However, there is still a lack of public knowledge about this environmental issue. The goal of this project was to assess how education about this issue can affect environmental attitudes and actions. We offered community college students (N=43) information about sustainable palm oil through a video (approximately 5 minutes long) about sustainable palm oil and the benefits that this product can provide for orangutans. They were also offered a sustainable palm oil purchasing guide to consult while shopping. The students completed pre- and post-surveys to assess awareness and perception of the use of sustainable palm oil. Results showed a significant increase in awareness of sustainable palm oil following the exercise (Wilcox, p<.005). A majority of the students indicated that they would continue to shop with the aid of a palm oil guide in order to purchase items that contained sustainable palm oil. This project demonstrates how simple educational interventions can promote pro-environmental behavior and help protect the habitat of primates.