Vice: Post-Antibiotic World / Indonesia’s Palm Bomb

We rely on antibiotics to treat everything from stomach bugs to skin rashes to bronchitis. In fact, we’ve been overusing them—and in doing so giving rise to new crop of dangerous bacterial infections that can’t be treated by anything we can get at the pharmacy. The more we use antibiotics, the more we help these superbugs build up their resistance. It’s an evolutionary battle, and the humans are losing. The projections are dire: according to some experts, antibiotic-resistant bacteria could kill 10 million people a year by 2050, surpassing cancer deaths.

With their backs to the wall, scientists are now racing to find new natural sources of anti-bacterial compounds. VICE’s Thomas Morton travels along as they search deep in the jungle and deep underground for the life-saving drugs we so desperately need.

Then: palm oil is used in almost all of the foods we eat and most of our household products—everything from packaged bread to cookies to toothpaste and soap. Production of palm oil has surged as a cheap alternative to trans fats. But as demand grows, growers in Indonesia are pushing farther and farther onto rainforest land, torching the forests as they go. The mass-burning of Indonesian jungles poses a major threat to wildlife, indigenous populations, and our global climate.

VICE’s Ben Anderson goes to Indonesia to see the realities of the palm oil boom up close.

VICE returns on Friday, February 5 at 11PM, exclusively on HBO

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