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How to stop the unethical production of palm oil

If you haven’t yet heard how palm oil production is negatively impacting our environment, I’ll let Leo give you the low down…

So now that you’re caught up (thanks Leo), what can you do—short of becoming a famous Hollywood actor with a huge social following to whom you can shed light on such important issues—to stop unethical palm oil production?

Palm oil is found in approximately half the packaged products on Australian supermarket shelves, and as a nation we import around 110,000 tonnes of palm oil annually. This accounts for only 0.2% of global production.

With demand for this highly useful and versatile product growing every year, it is predicted that palm oil production will double to 240 million tonnes per year by 2050.

When farmed sustainably, the production and sale of palm oil can provide an important source of income for local communities, helping them to break the cycle of poverty. However, currently only 18% of the world’s palm oil production is certified as sustainable.

Orangutan mother and baby
Rainforest trees

The negative impact of palm oil production is increasing and ongoing

Sanctioned by local governments keen to bolster the country’s economy, palm oil production is directly linked to deforestation, habitat destruction, Indigenous rights abuses and animal cruelty.

Locally, the livelihoods, culture and identity of Indigenous peoples is lost as their lands are systematically cleared for commercial gain, fortifying the cycle of poverty. Globally, deforestation is a key contributing factor to climate change and exposes, displaces, injures and kills many jungle species.

The good news is that the certified sustainable palm oil movement is growing. Certified sustainable palm oil is grown on a plantation managed and certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Plantations are established on land that does not hold significant environmental value and growers are encouraged to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and the use of chemicals.

However, with no law in Australia requiring palm oil to be specifically labelled, the only way to know if a product contains palm oil (and if it is CSPO) is to contact the manufacturer directly and ask them.

Water reflection Borneo
Orangutan climbing

Isn't it just easier to avoid products that contain palm oil?

Yes and no. As it yields more oil from less land than any other vegetable oil, boycotting palm oil altogether will lead to an increase in the production of alternative vegetable oils.

So what can you do?

Making the commitment to buy locally sourced, fresh produce is the easiest way to make a big impact. You can also support companies who are dedicated to using only CSPO and petition your favourite manufactures to only use palm oil that has been certified according to the criteria of the RSPO.

As with most significant changes, every little step counts.

*With thanks to WWF for the stats.

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Five Rules for Eating in a Foreign Country

Whether you’re from Sydney or Sorrento, Brisbane or Broome, chances are if you are travelling domestically within Australia, you will be able to find a great meal in a great location for a suitable price.

Throw in a foreign language and an unfamiliar city however, and you’re immediately at risk of a rumbling tum (a travelling foodie’s worst nightmare).

So how do you find a truly memorable meal while travelling? Check out our top five tips…

1. Throw away the tourist guide

Similarly, don’t bother with the advertising material in your hotel lobby. Tourist guides are for tourists. We are food connoisseurs destined and dedicated to finding the best bites, the most memorable meals and finest fare. Get out and about (maybe pack a snack just in case), and find where the locals love to eat. You’re guaranteed an authentic meal immersed in the colour and culture of your destination.

2. Splash out (even if only once)

Sometimes there’s a good reason why something is expensive. We don’t mean a pair of Louboutins. You can’t eat shoes. We’re talking about that moment when you feel like all the world’s wonder is in your mouth. When you can’t help but make that annoying approving face while nodding enthusiastically at your fellow diners. Cost doesn’t always equal quality, but if you do your research you can find that luxe meal that’s worth its weight in gold.

3. Know the etiquette

Those who appreciate food as much as we do will know that it’s equally about the experience as the taste. For this reason, we recommend researching how your meal is to be consumed. There is nothing better than scooping up a mouthful of piping hot curry with naan bread in India. Conversely, there is no greater crime than double dipping a chip in New York City.

4. Join the queue

We’ve always been taught to wait patiently in a queue. Whether it be for the next turn on the slippery dip, the toilet or for our first morning coffee, if there’s a queue, it’s a pretty good indication that whatever is at the end is worth the wait. The same applies to dining. If the locals are queuing, suck it up and get in line. Alternatively, do your research and book ahead or simply call up and book for another night.

5. Order with your eyes

Are you proficient in reading Mandarin? Neither are we. So instead of agonising over a menu you don’t understand, take a surreptitious wander around the restaurant and spy on what everyone else is eating. When the waiter takes your order, simply point to the things that look the most delicious.

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Mountain trekking

Leave no trace on your next adventure

We all enjoy a good trip to the bush, have a favourite national park or hidden spot that we love to visit to escape the concrete jungle.

In today’s fast-paced world it is more important than ever to allow for these retreats. But with a greater need for escape comes an increased impact on our wild places. If we don’t consider how we affect our natural environment, we will soon find that our richness of flora and fauna will diminish. So the next time you swap bustling streets for the bush track, leave no trace!

What can you do to make a difference?

Food and rubbish

Food scraps attract animals and can lead to unsightly campsites, but also cause harm to wildlife as parts of packaging might be consumed or caught up. When you prepare food ensure you collect any scraps that may have fallen to the ground and store the garbage above ground.

TIP: Using a shopping or small garbage bag to line a drysack will ensure there is no leakage, will keep odours in and prevent animals feasting on your rubbish while you sleep.

Human waste

If your campsite provides toilet facilities be sure to use them. If none are available, bury your waste and any toilet paper in a hole 12–20cm deep and well (well!) away from campsites, tracks and water (at least 100m). Pocket trowels are easy to carry, affordable and do not take up much space. If any other sanitary items are used be sure to take them when you leave so as not to draw wildlife to the campsite.

TIP: You don’t need to pass on all luxuries when no toilets are available. Most toilet paper is biodegradable and can be kept dry with a nifty toilet roll holder. If you’re really shy, a toilet tent is also a great idea.

Paddy Pallin Osprey Drysack
Paddy Pallin Pocket trowel and trekking toilet roll holder


Some campsites may offer facilities for washing, but in most cases you will need to set up your own personal and dish washing stations. When washing yourself or your dishes, make sure you carry water 100 meters from the water source and use a small amount of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater and pop small scraps into the rubbish.

TIP: Only use biodegradable soap and dispose of any food scraps in a plastic bag before washing up.

Bonus washing tip

The label “biodegradable” on soaps does not mean you can use it in streams, lakes or rivers! The used water will need to naturally filter through the soil. This happens best if you spread it over a wide area at least 100 metres away from the water source.

TIP: Use a foldable bucket or kitchen sink to carry water into your wash site.


Campfires can add to the enjoyment and experience of camping, however they can have a lasting and sometimes dramatic impact on the environment. Check if fires are allowed in the area you’re camping in and, if permitted, only use well established fire rings. Avoid creating new fire-pits.

Keep fires small as wood is a natural habitat for animals, bugs and birds, a simple rule is if you can’t break the stick using your hands don’t burn it. Make sure you fully burn the fire down to ash and that it is extinguished before you leave the fire for the night or when breaking camp. It’s best practice to use a stove for cooking instead of an open fire and a lamp or headlight for illumination (or the stars).

Paddy Pallin Trek & Travel Toiletries
Paddy Pallin Aussink

Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe.

In his spare time, Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber who also enjoys dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking.

Currently, he is the National Account Manager at Paddy Pallin (to fund all of the above).

Dave Casey Paddy Pallin

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How hiking heals by Sarah Wilson

Hiking is my default travel raison d’etre. When you travel solo, you have to create an ultimate purpose.

Couples and groups of friends have shared experiences and the very process of negotiating and compromising becomes a motivating and guiding raison d’etre in and of itself. It creates boundaries.

When you’re on your own you can literally do whatever you want. So you have to reign things in and create a framework of purpose. It needs to be a framework that can stand up to the loneliness of moments, and the most angst-ridden existential meltdowns. Hiking does this. It also does more. As I say, it tames and heals any dis-ease, whether it be illness, angst, pain, longing, frustration or imbalance. Here’s how…

Hiking grounds us. Literally, in that it connects us with the earth. With dirt, rocks, trees and ants.

Hiking gets systems working as they should. Walking is the best thing ever for anyone with lymphatic issues. When I’m thyroidy, I hike and my swelling settles. It also builds up appetite in a natural way… Not in an overly taxing way. And it gets us out into fresh air.

Hiking gets us in touch with awe. For me, trudging over rocks and earth for hours on end puts things in perspective. Life feels big, I—and my pain—feel small. This heals.

Hiking lulls the mind. My mind chatter goes crazy at first—inventing, debating, scheduling—then it settles, slowly. It’s like my mind is rocked to sleep by the motion. After about 40 minutes it settles into a thoughtless, wordless space. I become aware only of the sounds, the smells… I’m taken away from my dis-ease. I’m comforted and comfortable. I can feel my angry inflammation settle, too. Oh, sweet nothing! It is in the nothingness that things are tamed.

Hiking gets us to love going slow. 
I can be in pain sometimes when I hike. I don’t have juice. But if I’m seven kilometres from home, I have no choice but to keep going. How? I go slow. I break it down. I find the perfect pace. The sweet spot.

And just this act—finding your sweet spot—is a key skill in healing dis-ease. To know how to find your sweet spot is a sign of true wellness.

People often ask me to recommend hikes that I’ve loved. Here are a couple to get you started:

Mount Amos in Tasmania. A friend and I did this at sunrise. We ambitiously thought it would be a walk in a (flattish) park. But we can now confirm: This walk is only for the experienced. There are several hairy bits, but the view is astonishing. Do it if your heart is not faint and you like an adventure.

Castle Rock in the Munghorn Gap Park. Just outside Mudgee, this eight kilometre return hike is spectacular.

About the author

Sarah Wilson is a New York Times best-selling author and blogger whose journalism career has spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online.

She appears regularly as a commentator on a range of programs including Channel 7′s Sunday Night, The Morning Show, Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise, Ten Network’s Good News Week and The Project, Nine’s 60 Minutes and A Current Affair.

Sarah is an adept social commentator, following a career that’s spanned politics, health advocacy, restaurant reviewing, opinion writing and trend forecasting.

Sarah is the author of the best-sellers I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life, and also authored the best-selling series of cookbooks from IQuitSugar.com.

Sarah lives in Sydney, rides a bike everywhere and when asked what her hobbies are cites “bush hiking”, planning her next meal and being fascinated by other people with real hobbies.

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Taking off in T-0 seconds: The (new) Adventurist

3-2-1-lift off! 

It’s all new and it’s all for you!

So you may have noticed a few changes to our eNews this month… Ok it’s a whole new eNews and we’re so excited to share it with you!

In the works for some time, it’s such a thrill to finally hit the send button on ‘The (new) Adventurist’.

With a new easy to read layout, we hope that you will be able to better enjoy our articles at work, at home and on the go. We’ve also secured new contributors, ready to share their inspiring stories with you.

To help you navigate to the stories you’re interested in, we’ve created four categories for our articles so you know what you’re getting:

Go Dream Discover Nourish

Our new eNews ties in nicely with the all new Inspired Adventures website set to launch very soon. Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime, here’s a quick snapshot…

Inspired Adventures new website screenshots

This week in 1879: Australia’s first national park

On 26 April 1879, Australia’s first national park was established. Gazetted as The National Park, it was renamed The Royal National Park in 1955 following Queen Elizabeth II 1954 Australia visit.

What is most interesting about the park is its cultural significance. During the period between 1860 and 1930, radical social changes concerning public recreation and perceptions of the natural environment were occurring.

As one of the pioneer national parks, along with America’s Yosemite and Yellowstone, The Royal National Park played an important role in the development of the national parks movement worldwide. In Australia, the park contributed to significant understanding about the cultural and natural history of NSW, and subsequent approaches to the park’s management demonstrate the increasing priority given to conservation.

Despite not initially fitting with today’s idea of conservation—rabbits, deer and foxes were originally introduced to the native environment, while mudflats and mangroves were replaced with ornamental trees and grassy plains—the park soon became a place where Sydneysiders could escape urban life.

At the turn of the 20th century, conservation became a hot and deeply debated topic. Continued logging in the park was heavily criticised and by the 1930s lobbying had begun for a National Parks Authority. The National Parks and Wildlife Service was created in 1967.

Fun facts:

  • Founded by Acting Premier of NSW, Sir John Robertson
  • World’s second oldest purposed national park (after Yellowstone)
  • First to use the term national park
  • Many argues it is the world’s first national park, given that Yellowstone was originally gazetted as a public park
  • Added to the Australian National Heritage list in 2006
  • Home to one legally sanctioned and several unofficial “clothing optional” beaches
  • Today, Australia is home to over 500 national parks

We would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which The Royal National Park exists, the Dharawal people.

ico-galleryphoto gallery

Plane etiquette (that’s right, it’s a thing)

Have you ever had that silent battle for the armrest with person next to you on a plane?

Has anyone ever taken so many sleeping tablets that they fall asleep before the plan taxied to the runway and didn’t wake up when you need to use the bathroom? Did you watch in horror as their drool made its way out of their mouth, down their travel pillow and onto your shoulder?

Sadly these scenarios play out all too often on planes; ironically, mostly on long-haul flights. While other forms of public transport are taking steps to reduce the public-ness of public transport—quiet carriages on trains and mobile phone-free buses—air travel is falling behind.

So to avoid further in-flight faux pas, we’ve compiled a list of the top sky-high misdemeanours and violations of aeroplane etiquette. Who are the worst offenders? And more importantly, are you one of them?…

The ‘chatty’ passenger

Whether talking on their phone as they board or exit a plane, or (even worse) chatting to you as you try to settle into a 15-hour flight, the chatty passenger is perhaps one of the worst. Now I know that adventures are equally as much about the people we meet as the destination we discover; however there is a limit to the length and depth a public conversation should reach.

Also extends to | People who play music or movies without their headphones in; people who play music or movies too loudly while wearing headphones; couples of friends who converse/laugh/argue the whole flight; people who maintain conversations across aisles or rows; people who believe staying hydrated equals enjoying 16 Singapore slings.

The ‘fragrant’ passenger

This doesn’t necessarily refer to only the less hygienic smelling passengers, but also the ones that believe one spray of Lynx deodorant is simply not enough and that they must douse their clothing in a sickly scent until they are rendered highly flammable (and therefore should probably not fly anyway). While there is a fine line between pleasant and suffocation, there is no excuse for no deodorant at all.

Also extends to | Anyone who removes their shoes exposing smelling feet or socks; those who enjoyed a delicious garlic-laced meal before boarding; those who release some cabin pressure of their own in the form of noxious gases.

The ‘kicking’ passenger

On some flights you may feel as though you are seated in front of a donkey. While livestock are generally transported below cabin, rude human passengers are unfortunately not. Now, we understand that long flights are uncomfortable and that stretching is an important part of in-flight health and safety. However this should not extend to consistently bashing the seat in front of you as you shift in your seat trying to get comfortable.

Also extends to | people who push their seat all the way back for the duration of the flight; people who repeatedly open and close their tray tables; people who place their feet between the back and bottom of your seat.

So now that the offending actions have been identified, what can we all do to avoid becoming one of the above? It’s easy! Simply sit back and relax into your flight, follow the suggestions of your cabin crew and be courteous to your fellow passengers. After all, you’re all trapped in a tin can flying 30,000 feet above solid ground. Let’s not make it any harder than it has to be…

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What does International Women’s Day have to do with men?

In short, the answer is everything. However one word will not make for a very compelling article, so let’s explore the idea.

In September 2014, Emma Watson (or Hermione, as most of us know her) launched the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign with a compelling speech in New York.

In it she detailed how she came to be a feminist and what the word means to her. She then went on to extend a formal invitation to men to participate in the journey to global gender equality.

Sadly a number of feminists took issue with this. Their qualm was the belief that men benefit from the power given to them by gender stereotypes. In a blog on Black Girl Dangerous, Mia McKenzie states that Watson “seems to suggest that the reason men aren’t involved in the fight for gender equality is that women simply haven’t invited them.”

She intimates that women have been trying to get men to care about the oppression of women, however they have never been overwhelmingly interested.

While it is important to respect all opinions, it is more realistic to assume that most men perhaps don’t understand (rather than don’t care about) the issues associated with gender inequality.

Ban Ki-moon equality quoteInternational Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity for both women and men to reflect on progress made in the fight for gender equality, to continue to call for change and to celebrate the acts of women who have campaigned for equal rights.

In fact, the theme for IWD 2015 is “Equality for women is progress for all”, a notion that highlights the shared benefits of gender equality.

The fact is if you’re born a girl, the odds are stacked against you. While in most developed countries women are encouraged to get an education, have the right to vote, have access to healthcare services and are entitled to work; in countries such as Sierra Leone being a girl means you are more likely to be sexually assaulted than to attend school.

In addressing the original question, men and boys can be advocates for change when they fully understand the issue we face. Feminism need not be an uncomfortable word. It inherently implies that together we believe that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties regardless of gender. It proposes a shared commitment in the fight against the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls.

As Watson states gender should be viewed on a spectrum, not as two opposing ideals. So this International Women’s Day, on 8 March, start a conversation. Ask yourself how you, your family, your community and our world can benefit from gender equality, and what you can do, no matter how small, to promote equal rights.

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