NYT Mag | Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe.

NYT Mag | Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe.

The fields outside Kotawaringin village in Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, looked as if they had just been cleared by armies. None of the old growth remained — only charred stumps poking up from murky, dark pools of water. In places, smoke still curled from land that days ago had been covered with lush jungle. Villagers had burned it all down, clearing the way for a lucrative crop whose cultivation now dominates the entire island: the oil-palm tree.

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