Madison Vorva A few years back, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen were doing research to earn Girl Scout Bronze Awards. The two scouts had decided to research endangered orangutans and found that a major cause of the creatures' demise was habitat loss from palm oil plantations. You can imagine the girls' dismay, then, when they found out that Girl Scout cookies are chock full of palm oil.
Rather than continue to hawk habitat-destroying desserts, the girls, now 15 years old, are campaigning to get the destructive palm oil out of Girl Scout cookies.
The teens are taking on this campaign with a little help from Rainforest Action Network and Change.org.
Palm oil plantations are often produced by clear-cutting rainforest and peatlands in Southeast Asia. Not only does this deforestation destroy the habitat of orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and other endangered species, it also leads to conflicts between animals and people.
Palm oil production is also terrible for the environment. Deforestation is the source of about 20 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, and because peatlands act as carbon sinks, destroying them releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
After learning that the very cookies they were selling were contributing to these serious, global problems, Madison and Rhiannon wrote to Girl Scouts USA, but got nowhere. So they started Project ORANGS (Orangutans Really Need and Appreciate Girl Scouts) and enlisted the help of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Biological Diversity, Cultural Survival, Orangutan Foundation International, and Rainforest Action Network to get the Girl Scouts to pull unsustainable palm oil from all of their cookies.
This year, Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva won the first ever United Nations International Forest Heroes Award for North America. The UN proclaimed 2011 the International Year of the Forest, and as part of the celebration created a Forest Heroes Award. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) nominated Madison and Rhiannon for this award and could not be prouder to hear that they are winning the title for North America.
But the Girl Scouts USA still refuses to listen. One would think that with a mission to build "girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place," the Girl Scouts USA would applaud Madison and Rhiannon in their effort to address a serious issue and create some positive change. Instead, the two young activists have been largely ignored.
You, however, can help the girl scout. Sign Rainforest Action Network's petition to Kathy Cloninger, the CEO of Girl Scouts USA, and tell her that destructive palm oil has no place in Girl Scout cookies.
Rhiannon Tomtishen e Madison Vorva, hanno ora 16 anni, e le Nazioni Unite hanno assegnato loro il Forest Heroes Award per il Nord America, il premio "eroi delle foreste".
Ma l'associazione statunitense delle Guide, la Girl Scouts USA, si rifiuta di dar loro ascolto. L'obiettivo delle Girl Scouts USA è dare "alle ragazze di coraggio, fiducia e carattere, che rendono il mondo un posto migliore," e sarebbe logico pensare che abbiano sostenuto l'impegno di Madison e Rhiannon per risolvere un problema serio e creare qualche cambiamento positivo. Invece, le due giovani attiviste sono state completamente ignorate.
In sostegno a Madison e Rhiannon, il Rainforest Action Network propone di inviare una lettera al direttore dell'associazione Girl Scouts USA, Kathy Cloninger, per dirle che l'olio di palma non dovrebbe far parte degli ingredienti dei biscotti delle Guide.