A Battle so Large, Even Girl Scouts Have Joined the Fight

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 8:34 PM

Five. That is the number of boxes of Girl Scout cookies that were given to, or bought for my household this year. Sadly, all five boxes were consumed before any of us even thought to look at the ingredients label. For my family, Girl Scout cookies are so widely anticipated throughout the year, that we wouldn’t dare risk reading what’s on the ingredient labels. Isn’t that what we all do with our favorite foods? What we don’t know won’t hurt us, right? Wrong.


As the destruction caused by creating and operating palm oil plantations has been brought to light, consumers are finding themselves checking the ingredients of their food labels a bit more carefully. What the majority are finding is disheartening. Nearly all our favorite snacks and household cleaning items are made with palm oil. Could it be, that consumers like you and I are keeping the palm oil industry in business? I think so.

Sure, palm oil is easily and quickly produced to keep up with the high demand that developed nations have created for it. But the damage that the palm oil industry has caused to plant, animal, and human life within the rainforest is devastating. As more and more rainforest is cut or burned to make room for the newest oil palm farming land, millions of plant, animal, and human lives are disrupted and, more often than not, destroyed. Orangutans have especially been affected by this rainforest destruction. Now, having made the endangered species list, they are seriously threatened with extinction before much longer.

When two Girl Scout teenagers started researching the endangerment of the orangutan species for a project that they were creating to earn their bronze Girl Scout metals, they found something that astounded them. Oil palm plantations had been contributing to the loss of orangutan life, and Girl Scout cookies had been contributing to the demand of the palm oil that was being produced at those very destructive plantations. They were devastated to learn that their cookie sales throughout the years had its own small part in destroying the rainforest and the life within it.

The girls wrote to the Girl Scouts headquarters to see if palm oil could be removed from all brands of their cookies or if they could be made with palm oil that had been sustainably produced. Sadly, their requests were denied. They claimed that palm oil is the only oil that will uphold the good shelf life of the cookies. Furthermore, they stated that it would be next to impossible to use sustainably produced palm oil because only about 6% of all palm oil being produced is done so sustainably. The girls have reached out to other groups and organizations for help, but realize that they are fighting an uphill battle. Both have stopped selling the cookies until they are palm oil free or contain sustainably grown palm oil. The devastation caused by oil palm plantations, is requiring even the Girl Scout troops to put up a fight. Sadly, it won’t be enough. If you interested in learning how you can help fight to end the destruction caused by palm oil plantations, visit: http://www.palmoilenvironment.weebly.com/.
Source for this article: http://ran.org/content/cookie-crumbles-girl-scouts-teens-launch-palm-oil-crusade

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