Cookie Crumbles for Girl Scouts, as Teens Launch Palm-Oil Crusade
While Earning an Award, They Learned Why Orangutans, Thin Mints Don't Mix
Wall Street Journal Article By JULIE JARGON"To earn their Girl Scout Bronze Award four years ago, Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva set out to study orangutans.
Instead, they wound up investigating Thin Mints, Trefoils and Samoas.
What they uncovered soured them on the sweets and has put the Michigan teens at odds with Girl Scouts of the USA. Now they're on a march to change the recipe for Girl Scout cookies.
Their target: palm oil, which can come from places the primates live.
Girl scouts Rhiannon Tomtishen, left, and Madison Vorva
The girls, who have been scouts since they were five, have rallied troops across the country. Scouts sold 198 million boxes of cookies last year, but now some say they're done. Scouts and leaders have criticized their nonprofit organization on Facebook and Twitter.
"My troop is up in arms," says Nicole Bell, a Lansing, Kan., leader and former scout. "They do not want to sell cookies next year."
The Girl Scouts organization says its bakers have told them there isn't a good alternative to palm oil that would ensure the same taste, texture and shelf life. "Girls sell cookies from Texas to Hawaii and those cookies have to be sturdy," says Amanda Hamaker, product sales manager for Girl Scouts of the USA.
Rhiannon, 15, and Madison, 16, both high school sophomores, met in sixth grade. Having already earned a slew of badges, from horseback riding to pets, they decided to work together for their Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can earn.
Inspired by Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees, the girls sought to raise awareness of endangered orangutans. They learned that orangutan habitat in Southeast Asia is disappearing, partly because some rain forests have been cleared for palm oil plantations." continue story here Palm-Oil Crusade