Dear Connie Lindsey , (president of the Girl Scouts USA)
My name is Sarah Ware. I’m a former Girl Scout of Troop 206. My mother was a dedicated troop leader for many years, and happily exhausted herself planning getaways at Camp Glen Spey, coordinating holiday caroling, volunteer days, and special meetings to earn new badges. Today I am still friends with the girls in my troop.
The Girl Scouts helped build my confidence, improved my relationships, and most importantly, gave me the impression that I am valued, and that I can make a change in this world. This is what I want to pass on to my future daughters.
Today I spent hours in the grocery store, making changes to my grocery list, exercising my consumer power to buy products that do not harm the environment. It was exhausting, frustrating, and rewarding.
I always support Girl Scouts selling cookies. It’s a nostalgic moment for me, and I believe in the program.
Courage. Confidence. Character.
When I got to the car and read the ingredients in the Samoas cookies, my heart sank. I felt deceived.
INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Soybean and Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel and/or Cottonseed Oil)
Not only does partially hydrogenated oil contain trans fat, which is linked to cancer, the type of partially hydrogenated oil that make up these cookies is even more concerning. Palm oil is used because it’s a cheap form of vegetable fat. That’s great for our pockets, but what does it do to the environment? Across the Indonesian islands, specifically Sumatra and Borneo, the farmers (and those that support them) are damaging the rain forest on such a large scale that experts expect the extinction of the orangutan in the wild by around 2020…unless they are stopped. Plantations such as these have ruined 90% of orangutan habitat.
I do love my Samoas cookies, but not enough to support the extinction of our distant relative, the orangutan. The orangutan shares 96% of mans genetic makeup.
Five million acres are cleared every year for these plantations. That's the size of New Jersey, my home state, where as a child I lived by the Girl Scout Law.
Where in the world can you find elephants, tigers, rhinos, sun bears, leopards, and orangutans living together, in their natural habitat? The Indonesian Islands. Every year their habitat decreases by five million acres. We are burning down forests to make way for plantations, and not only causing the animals to suffer from smoke inhalation, but we are hurting those families that live in urban villages.
The negative effects of these plantations continue to snowball. To reach these plantations, new roads are being built, giving poachers an easy free ride to hunt deeper in the rain forest.
It’s heartbreaking. In 2005 the Indonesian government announced plans to expand oil palm plantations, intruding into the last substantial areas of forest, including protected ones. Unfortunately corruption seems to overrule these “official regulations.”
The Orangutan could be extinct in as little as 12 years. We have to act fast. I’m asking you, and our fellow Girl Scouts to take my hand. We have the power to help the world.
“Girl Scouts of the USA is the premier leadership development organization for girls where young women discover their potential, connect with others, and take action in their communities and the world.”
Let’s unite as girls and women, mothers and daughters, sisters and aunts. Let's include our sons and brothers, our husbands and fathers, our uncles and pop-pops.
I understand that you are a part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. This is concerning, because this company is using cosmetic marketing to justify the expansion of plantations. No tropical oil is “green” or contributes to a “sustainable world.”
“No challenge is too big to tackle, and no one is too powerless to make an impact.” That is how VolunteerMatch describes your spirit. They go on to say that “Lindsey shows what’s possible when you turn your passion into action.”
If there’s anyone that could make a difference, it’s you. You have the power to educate young girls about the importance of consumer decisions. Educate them about palm oil plantations. These girls are our future. If we impress this upon them early on in life, we can make a huge difference in our world. Each purchase we make is a vote.
The Girl Scouts website says that each baker produces Girl Scout Cookie varieties without palm oil. I’m asking you to please, re-evaluate your stance on this critical issue. Alter your ingredients. Show the little girl inside me, and the little girls so dedicated to selling cookies that they stand for something bigger and better. Find a substitute for palm oil (and if you really wanted to reach for the stars, soybean oil as well).
Let’s show the world what we’re made of. Stop using palm oil in the production of Girl Scout Cookies and use ingredients that don’t harm our world. Let everyone know what the Girl Scouts stand for.
Courage. Confidence. Character.
We have the courage to stand up for what’s right. The confidence to support these values. And the character to make a difference.
I will do my best to be:
Honest and fair, friendly and helpful,
Considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and
Responsible for what I say and do, and to
Respect myself and others, respect authority
Use resources wisely, make the world a better place
And be a sister to every Girl Scout.
*Please send a letter to the Girl Scout Headquarters, asking them to stop using palm oil in their cookies!!* http://www.girlscouts.org/contact/email.asp
Interesting article about two Girl Scouts that refused to sell cookies to stand up for what they believe in. YOU GO GIRLS! http://hubpages.com/hub/Palm-Oil-and-Orangutans