Ann Arbor Praises Forest Heroes

This week’s issue of The Washtenaw Voice, the student publication of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, featured not one, but two letters to the editor in support of the Forest Heroes campaign. The letters, written by Ann Arbor residents Rebecca Brewster and Julia Goodhart, responded to a recent Voice article covering the Forest Heroes campaign.

I’m writing in response to your recent article, “Can Kellogg’s Tony help save other tigers?” about the Forest Heroes campaign’s mission to stop rainforest destruction for the purpose of harvesting palm oil. Here they are:

Screen_Shot_2013-10-28_at_11.51.11_AMStudents, parents, advocates and community members across Michigan have joined together to act for change. The issue at hand is Kellogg’s partnership with Wilmar International, an Asian agribusiness named the least sustainable company in the world.

Wilmar is clear-cutting forests in Indonesia to gather and sell palm oil to their partners worldwide. Kellogg’s, through its joint venture with Wilmar, is responsible for destruction of one of the most bio diverse ecosystems in the entire world.

As Michigan consumers, how can we support a locally based company that contributes mass amounts of damage to an international neighbor?

We cannot call ourselves responsible citizens of the world if we do not stand up against these corporate giants and urge them to harvest palm oil sustainably, which can be done on already degraded forest land.

We have all been told there are a million reasons to save the rainforest: saving the homes of the Sumatran tiger, orangutan, and indigenous people, protecting viable plants and resources, reducing pollution in southeast Asia, and salvaging one of the largest carbon sinks in the world.

For all the times you’ve heard them, the reasons are still just as important. All you have to do is find yours.

Rebecca Brewster
Ann Arbor

Thank you Washtenaw Voice for covering the Forest Heroes campaign protest in your article “Can Kellogg’s Tony help save other tigers?”

Kellogg truly has an incredible opportunity to make a difference with this partnership, because Wilmar International controls over 45 percent of the global palm oil industry. A change in policy and procedure would be huge.

In reality, the financial cost of sourcing palm oil through deforestation may be small but the social cost is unfathomable. It has huge implications for our global climate change. Precious rainforest species are being driven to the brink of extinction.

Additionally, the palm oil industry when sourced through deforestation has a history of human rights violations and even neighboring countries are suffering the effects of the pollution in Indonesia.

But here’s the kicker: Palm oil can be sustainably sourced. It can even be grown on degraded land. Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company, has already made the change.

Kellogg and companies that rely on deforestation are simply shifting the cost away from themselves and forcing it upon others – future generations, rainforest species, and the peoples of Indonesia and its neighboring countries.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Julia Goodhart
Ann Arbor

On October 28, 2013

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