Hey, way to go, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen! These are two young Girl Scouts who are showing what it takes to be real young leaders and good citizens.
According to the Ann Arbor News, these two 12-year-olds gave up on selling Girl Scout cookies after learning that the cookies are made with palm oil, which comes from Indonesian plantations that threaten the orangutan’s natural habitat. What started out as a research project on orangutans aimed at earning their Bronze Award has since turned into a two-girl campaign against palm oil production.
Rather than selling Girl Scout cookies this year, Madison and Rhiannon chose to sell magazines to raise funds for their troop. They’ve done more than that, though: they’re also giving presentations at area schools and set up a Website designed to educate other kids about endangered orangutans and the palm oil industry. They even had famed primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall sign their petition against palm oil when they met with her at a recent Jane Goodall Institute Regional Roots and Shoots conference in Chicago.
The two girls even dare to argue with the Girl Scouts’ defense of its cookies. The organization says its bakery sticks with palm oil from land that hasn’t been deliberately deforested for plantations, and that it’s looking for ways to use as little palm oil as possible. But Madison and Rhiannon have stuck to their guns, choosing not only to avoid Girl Scout cookies but any other goodies made with palm oil.
I’ll give the Girl Scouts organization credit, though: it’s invited the two girls to talk with Scout leaders about palm oil before next year’s cookie sales. Who knows? Next year, maybe many more young girls will be following in Madison’s and Rhiannon’s footsteps.