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Environment & Science

United Nations honors Girl Scouts for new eco-friendly cookies

Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr Creative Commons

With Girl Scout cookie season in full swing, the hills are alive with the delicious taste of Samoas, Thin Mints and of course, the ever so delicious peanut butter and chocolate confections known as Tagalongs (pardon my drool).

America’s beloved cookies have been given an eco-friendly upgrade this year, courtesy of two Michigan Girl Scouts, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen. When the girls learned that cookie ingredient palm oil was a primary cause of illegal deforestation in Asia and bringing orangutans to the edge of extinction, they were understandably bummed. But they also wanted to do something about it.

Starting Project Orangs back in 2006, the girls’ efforts have resulted in the Girl Scouts reducing their usage of palm oil to a bare minimum now, with the goal of using only sustainable products like canola oil by 2015. Starting this season, cookie boxes will come with a GreenPalm label to spread the word.

For their efforts, none less than the United Nations have awarded the pair with the first-ever International Forest Heroes Award for North America.

“This is the first time on record that GSUSA has changed our practices related to the activities of the youth we serve,” said Amanda Hamaker, the Girl Scouts manager of product sales in an interview with MSNBC. "The girls identified an area where GSUSA clearly needed to provide leadership, and we are delighted to have found a way to do so."