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The Green Life: Two Girl Scouts on a Mission to Get Palm Oil out of Cookies

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March 15, 2011

Two Girl Scouts on a Mission to Get Palm Oil out of Cookies

Thin Mints The brightly colored boxes that encase sugary indulgences such as Girl Scout cookies and Kellogg's cereals aren't exactly synonymous with eco-food choices. However, thanks to the tenacious work of two 15-year-old Girl Scouts, one undesirable ingredient may soon be struck off the label: palm oil.

After learning about the deforestation and habitat destruction that occurs in Southeast Asia to produce palm oil, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen were appalled. Their beloved cookies were threatening all kinds of wildlife, but especially orangutans, the very subject of their Girl Scout project research.

With the endorsement of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the girls wrote a letter to Kellogg's and received a response earlier this month. It said the company would begin offsetting its deforestation with GreenPalm certificates and would look into buying sustainable palm oil.

An interview with Public Radio International, a partnership with Rainforest Action Network, and viral demonstrations of online support have followed. But these Girl Scouts, who have been working on this for more than two years, aren't done yet. They hope to not only get Girl Scouts USA to change their tune, but are also targeting Cargill, a palm-oil industry leader.

The moral of the story? Be careful what happens when you teach girls to "make the world a better place."

--Rosie Spinks

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