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September 26, 2022

8/12/2022 10:55:00 AM
Palm oil alternative message nets personal response from President Biden

It’s always a good feeling to know you have been heard, no matter what your age is. When local fifth grader  Maya Wood got a letter from The White House, she was elated to find that President Biden had received her message and was responding to  what  Maya hoped he would hear.  Maya’s father Bryan, added that when his U.S. mail delivery notification showed an envelope with the seal of the White House,  even he got a little excited.

Maya wrote to Joe Biden last September. She told him about the problem with palm oil and that forest animals are losing habitat, as acres are being cleared for palm oil crops.  Palm oil is used for mass produced food items and other goods because it doesn’t “go bad’ or separate and has a lengthy shelf life.

Palm oil has been Maya’s focus since she viewed a podcast in fourth grade on destructive practices related to production of this oil.
As an animal lover she made it a mission to spread the word to alert people to look for alternative oils and is asking people to buy products that don’t contain palm oils or palm kernel oil.  

The orangutan and sumatran tiger populations especially are affected.

Last year, for her first double-digit birthday she set up a lemonade stand and gave-away muffins and a drink to anyone in the neighborhood who dropped by to say Happy Birthday.  They also got a handmade anti-palm oil flyer.  

Maya meets with a reporter wearing a T-shirt that has black lettering on a white background with a slogan warning about palm oil.  

For the past two years she has put up posters reminding people how palm oil hurts the planet.   The products depicted on the poster are very familiar items.  She has learned many snacks, packaged cookies, cereals,  even the family’s beloved Nutella spread, have palm oil in their recipe.  (They now use a different product, just as tasty and no palm oil.)

The Wood family tries to do more than avoid palm oil. Their Lindstrom home has a set of solar panels atop the sunny west facing roofline. The front yard has fruit trees, a veggie garden and berries growing where most urban landscapes would have clipped lawn with river rock cut-outs and ornamentals.

Maya enters middle school this fall and she looks forward to the possibilities to expand her outreach—and heads-up Governor,  she says you are next on her list of adults to educate.

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