If you’re ever trapped on a deserted island surrounded by nothing except coconut trees, know that you’re not as doomed as you might think.
While far from deserted, the island of Sri Lanka has long known about the power of the humble coconut tree. Here, it’s called the ‘Tree of Life’ because Sri Lankans can – and do – use literally every single part of it.
“It’s the main ingredient for our culture and we protect it closely,” said Kanchana Weerakoon, president of Sri Lanka’s Eco Friendly Volunteers.
Sri Lanka produces 2.7 billion coconuts each year and consumes 75% of them domestically, which is why it’s illegal to cut a Sri Lankan coconut tree before it has matured. The Cabinet of Sri Lanka even has a Minister of Coconut Development, whose mission is to ensure the availability of coconuts and coconut products.