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a 13 year old girl speaks about palm oil

June 19, 2011

I’m just reading through the transcript of the public hearing in Melbourne on the Truth in Labelling – Palm Oil bill and am struck by the words of this amazing thirteen year old!

If you haven’t read my other pieces on palm oil, unsustainable palm oil is in about 40% of supermarket products. Unsustainable palm oil is produced,for the most part, by clearing rainforest and putting in plantations. It’s estimated that an area about the size of 300 soccer fields is cleared every hour, and one orangutan dies as a consequence every two hours. Ecosystems are destroyed and homes denied to tigers (who face extinction) and elephants (who as you might imagine take up quite a lot of space and can’t really afford to lose it) and many other species.

~~~

[A video is shown featuring Chloe and the Chair spots her in the crowd.]

Miss Nicolosi—My name is Chloe and I would like to grow up in a world where I can see orangutans in the wild and where they are not just known in zoos. I know hundreds of people who would agree with me because I have got a lot of people to sign petitions at my school. The moment I tell them what is actually happening they open up and you have the power to change this, you have the power to save thousands of orangutans yearly. And a lot of people agree that they want palm oil labelled in products. And since we cannot you should, and I think I speak for so many people when I say I want the choice.

CHAIR—Thank you for coming, Chloe. We might ask you to speak again later if you want to say something on record.

[Debate continues with arguments for both sides from Senators, Zoo Directors and other serious adults. The Chair once again turns to Chloe. (No matter how many times I talk about a Chair doing things I still find it quite amusing.)]

CHAIR—… Chloe, do you want to say anything else on record? We have your films, but do you want to say anything else to the committee?

Miss Nicolosi—Just that adults seem to have the sole purpose of this meeting about money. But we are really forgetting about the big picture of animals and the habitat being destroyed. The only thing we seem to be focusing on is money, but that is not what this is about. This is about trying to save such an important species in the wild, and to see them in the wild rather than just in our zoos.

CHAIR—Do any of the senators want to ask a question of Chloe?

Senator SIEWERT—How do you know so much about this issue?

Miss Nicolosi—I do research because I am just so passionate about this topic. I spend a lot of time at the zoo and when I go in to do filming, like I did recently, I researched before that as well. So I get a lot of information from the zoo website and other websites.

Senator SIEWERT—And how long have you been working on it?

Miss Nicolosi—About two years. I came in at the start about two years ago and I have just been learning ever since and learning about other impacts it is having.

CHAIR—Thank you for your time and thank you to your family also.

Senator SIEWERT—I have a policy position available!

Senator XENOPHON—Have you been up to Sumatra at all?

Miss Nicolosi—No, I haven’t.

Senator XENOPHON—Are you planning to go?

Miss Nicolosi—I hope so. That should be my goal really.

CHAIR—Thank you very much, Chloe.

~~~

Pretty amazing. There are lots of great moments in the transcript, but that one I’ve highlighted of Chloe’s is the one that brought me to tears (first). Sadly, despite Chloe’s efforts, the Truth in Labelling – Palm Oil bill was rejected by the senate. It’s going back next week and to have it passed, we need our Federal Members to support it. I’d love your help in telling Federal members of parliament that you want this bill passed. That we want labelling to show us when there’s palm oil in a product.

It’s as simple as writing to your Federal member and saying ‘I support the Truth in Labelling – Palm Oil Bill. Please support it.’ (That’s less than 140 characters in case your member is on Twitter…). You can find your member’s contact details here. If you’re not sure who your member is this will help. Feel free to tell them why you support it too. Conservation, health, heartbreaking 13 year olds, orangutans, almost extinct tigers, angry elephants invading people’s homes for a snack because their habitat’s being cleared… or just the right to know what you’re eating – that kind of thing.

That would be lovely.

L

UPDATE! The amazing Chloe has started a new petition encouraging Goodman Fielder, to make a commitment to moving to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil – please sign it here:

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2011 1:04 pm

    I’ve sent my letter! Great blog Lou! Thanks for rally the troops, pointing our how easy it is to write to your local senator and helping Chloe realise her dream! x

    • LouPardi permalink*
      June 19, 2011 1:06 pm

      Thanks you lovely! x

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