How can you justify your addiction to Girl Scout cookies? By knowing that you’re saving orangutans. Girl Scout cookie producers have pledged to sustainably source palm oil, which will help save orangutan habitats. Boxes made by these producers have either a GreenPalm logo or Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) logo, which “signifies that 100 percent of the palm oil used in this product has been certified by the RSPO. This supports farms that are growing palm oil using sustainable practices, respecting human rights and preventing deforestation,” according to girlscouts.org. This is critical, because the forests where palm oil is grown are home to orangutans who have suffered significant habitat loss. “In Indonesia, the palm oil sector was the single largest driver of deforestation between 2009 and 2011, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s forest loss. Orangutans face extinction in Borneo due to habitat clearing, which is underway across Indonesia and Malaysia,” according to a 2013 Greenpeace article. If unchanged, 75 percent of Southeast Asia’s forest cover will be gone by 2030, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Girl Scout cookie producers who have committed to sourcing sustainable palm oil are doing their part in protecting the home of orangutans. Therefore, by supporting these business, we are supporting their cause. It may even inspire more companies to do the same. Girls Scouts of the USA...Read More
All eyes seemed to be on Virginia during the general election the other week. The media celebrated Democrat Ralph Northam’s upset over Republican Ed Gillespie in the gubernatorial race. Headlines about the defeat flooded news sites and social media as people rallied behind Northam and called his success proof of both a Democratic resurgence and the power of voter participation. The tide is finally turning for Democrats after the systematic shock of last year’s presidential election. At least that’s what the media and amateur political pundits (a.k.a. everyone on Twitter) would lead people to believe. As a Virginian, it was amusing to see Virginia in the spotlight and hear so many people’s opinions on the race. As a conservative, it was even more amusing to see their reactions, which ranged from reinvigorated Democrats to distressed Republicans. Although heralded as a monumental achievement, the win was hardly news to those familiar with Virginia politics. As explained in the The Washington Post, Virginia’s last “Republican U.S. senator was elected in 2002, last GOP governor in 2009 and last Republican presidential candidate in 2004. Virginia over the past few decades has transitioned from solid red to blue.” So yes, Virginia, there is an elephant in the room. In their excitement to declare a victory, Democrats overlooked the painfully obvious context of it: Virginia has been a blue state for years. A Democrat...Read More
Jill Teitelbaum, guest columnist What’s in a name? According to a growing number of people, some names can cause emotional distress warranting their removal. As such, there has been a recent push towards removing Confederate names and memorials across the country. The latest case involves a public school in Jackson, Mississippi. Davis International Baccalaureate Elementary School is set to be renamed Barack Obama Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary School beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. The school is named after Jefferson Davis who was president of the Confederacy and a vocal supporter of slavery. According to the Civil War Trust, he was a slaveholder and operated his own cotton plantation in Mississippi. It’s understandable that people would be made uncomfortable by his memorialization by a school period, let alone one whose population is 98 percent black. Removing the names of Confederates is well-intentioned and replacing them with the names of progressive role models is laudable. However, the staggering costs associated with these changes requires a serious look at their feasibility, and more importantly, their opportunity cost. Although the exact cost of the Davis name change is unclear, the costs for similar initiatives across the country range from $100,000 to over $1 million. For many of the schools involved, the amounts proposed to rebrand them could be desperately used elsewhere. Mississippi is hardly an exception. According to the state Department of...Read More
Calm. Collected. Eloquent. These words may bring to mind many orators and leaders, but they certainly don’t bring to mind a certain fiery and impulsive one: President Donald J. Trump. Whether someone supports President Trump or not, most will agree that he’s not afraid to speak his mind. His unfiltered thoughts, most clearly displayed through his personal Twitter account, manage to excite and enrage hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously. Apart from revealing his hotheadedness, and that even presidents misspell words, there are two special, underappreciated aspects of this: Transparency and engagement. Trump’s mistakes and outbursts show authenticity. There...Read More
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