If you think activism is fruitless, think again. In 2006, to achieve their Bronze Award, Girl Scouts Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva formed ORANGS (Orangutans Really Appreciate and Need Girl Scouts), and educated youth groups in their community about the endangerment of Orangutans due to the deforestation of their natural habitat, the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. While researching, they discovered that their beloved Girl Scout cookies contained -- gasp -- palm oil! Why is this important? Because to make those delicious Thin Mints, thousands of acres of rainforest are cleared in order to build massive plantations to produce the ingredient.
So the girls set out to make something happen. Tomtishen and Vorva's activism resulted in over 70,000 emails to the CEO of GSUSA requesting that the cookies be made rainforest-safe. Thanks to their efforts, GSUSA announced that it will purchase Green Palm certificates and work towards the use of RSPO-certified palm oil by 2015, as well as work to reduce the amount used in its cookies.
On October 18, the teens from Michigan will be awarded with the Brower Youth Award, which honors young environmental leaders from North America. We're proud of you girls! And we will never bite into another Trefoil without thinking of you or some smiling Orangutans.