Teens up for UN award for their Girl Scout cookie campaign
The 2 teens' efforts led to the Girl Scouts of the USA announcing a switch toward sustainable palm oil by 2015 as an ingredient in its cookies.
Wed, Feb 01 2012 at 6:45 PM
YOUNG ACTIVISTS: Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, both 16, are nominated for the inaugural International Forest Heroes Award. The girls are now pressing for Girl Scout cookies to be baked with other kinds of cooking oil altogether. (Photo: Marit & To
Two teenagers from Michigan campaigning to get Southeast Asian palm oil out of Girl Scout cookies are in the running for a new United Nations conservation award, their sponsor said Wednesday.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, a environmental group based, said Monday it put forward the names of Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, both 16, for the inaugural International Forest Heroes Award.
They are among 15 finalists from 14 countries nominated for the prize honoring grassroots forest conservation efforts, to be presented at a closing ceremony for the International Year of the Forest in New York on February 9.
Tomtishen and Vorva's interest in palm oil grew out of their concern from the age of 11 for endangered orangutans and their shrinking rainforest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia, where much of the world's palm oil originates.
Last year, their efforts led to the Girl Scouts of the USA announcing a switch toward sustainable palm oil by 2015 as an ingredient in its Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos and other fund-raising cookies.
Undaunted, the girls are pressing for Girl Scout cookies to be baked with other kinds of cooking oil altogether, if not palm oil originating from deforestation-free sources such as degraded lands, the union said.
In an email to AFP, Sarah Roquemore, outreach coordinator for the union's tropical forest and climate initiative, called the teenagers "true spokespeople for tropical forests that inspire us all."