Setting the Stage
Show students a map of Southeast Asia, indicating Myanmar, the location of this story. Explain to students that they will be viewing a photo essay that depicts the human costs to local villages from palm oil production.
Explain to students that palm oil is a very common ingredient in products used by many of us every day. It is used in almost half of all packaged goods, according to Rainforest Action Network (RAN), and can be found in the following processed foods: ice cream, cookies, crackers, cereals, breakfast bars, potato chips, baby formula, as well as dry and canned soups.
Ask students: What do you know about palm oil? Introduce students to this interactive resource, "From rainforest to cupboard: the real story of palm oil," from The Guardian. Explore this resource with students to get an overarching understanding of palm oil from its origins in the rainforest, to plantations, to the marketplace, and, finally, to the consumer's home.