Coffee and Bananas and Chocolate! Oh, my!

Four of the big contributers to rainforest destruction are coffee, bananas, choolate and lumber. Rainforest Alliance and Rainforest Relief are two great organizations that are working hard to make it easier on cosumers to buy rainforest-friendly alternatives.

The Rainforest Alliance has a certification program for many common products that usually contribute to rainforest destruction such as, bananas, coffee, chocolate and wood products. The "Rainforest Alliance Certified" seal assures that such products are environmentally and socially friendly. It's a great idea to make it easy on cosumers to make sure they are buying rainforest friendly products.

So if you see the above seal, buy up, and support companies who are practicing environmentally friendly business!

Rainforest Relief has some great information under their "What to Avoid and Alternatives" section. They are starting the Forest Banana Project to help smaller, environmentally friendly, banana companies compete with some of the bigger brands.

Banana Companies that use rainforest destructive methods:
Del Monte

Chocolate Companies that use rainforest destructive methods:
Hershey Food Corporation
ADM Cocoa - Archer Daniels Miland Company
The Bloomer Chocolate Co.
Guittard Chocolate Company
Russell Stover

Rainforest Friendly Chocolate Alternatives:
Green & Blacks
Rapunzel Pure Organics, Inc.
Newman's Own Organics
Endangered Species Chocolate Company
Cocoa Camino
Neuchatel Chocolates
Gysi AG

The Chocolate Alchemist Limited

Rainforest Friendly Chocolate

Biting Back Bar

Artist: Jessie Boyko

Jessie Boyko was recently in New American Paintings 2008 Mid-Atlantic Edition. She paints washy colorful scenes of wildlife. She has a really great sense of color and has some interesting and unique color palettes. I really love how some get so drippy and seem so free flowing.

Play Dead by Jessie Boyko

Pit Stop by Jessie Boyko
I love this one.

Death by TseTse Fly by Jessie Boyko

Arctic Kingdom by Jessie Boyko
Another great one!

Tapestry by Jessie Boyko
This one is my favorite.

Girls Scouts Protest Palm Oil

Girls Scouts Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen

When, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, both age 12, learned about the problems palm oil caused for orangutans, they refused to keep selling palm-oil containing Girl Scout Cookies. It is very impressive for such young girls to stick to their beliefs and stand up to such a big organization. Even when Lisa Raycraft, the director of funds for the Girls Scouts, said how vital cookie sales were to the Girl Scouts and when ABC Bakers, the cookies baker, claimed they would use as little palm oil as possible - the girls were still not satisfied and would not take part in selling the cookies. Instead the girls started their own website to educate people about orangutans and the problems with palm oil.

Because of their efforts to protect orangutans, Madison and Rhiannon got the opportunity to meet renowned primatologists Jane Goodall (pictured above). They even got Dr. Goodall to sign their petition against palm oil. They became part of Roots & Shoots, an environmental program for youth started by Jane Goodall.
The girls are going to be able to give a presentation about the effects the palm oil industry has on on orangutans before the start of next years cookie sales. Hopefully, the Girls Scouts organization will learn a lesson from these girls and stop using products with palm oil as fundraisers. Since cookies sales is such a girl scout tradition - they should convince ABC bakers to use a different oil in their cookies or go to a different baker.

Until then, we should all be inspired by these girls - and think twice before buying our next box of thin mints.

extra notes:

The full story.

Please note the popcorn that boy scouts sell as a fundraiser also contain palm oil. I was really angry about it when I first realized that but didn't have the heart to tell the eager young scouts.

ABC Bakers is not the only producer of girl scout cookies. There is also Little Brownie Bakers, I checked their nutritional facts and they have Palm Oil in every one of their cookies.**

We contacted the girls through their website and hope to send them both one of our "Peace, Love and Orangutan" shirts.

** Sometimes the ingredient is listed as "palm oil, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or
cottonseed oil with TBHQ for freshness" which means it may or may not include palm oil. Soybean oil isn't any better for the environment. Production of soybean oil is leading to major deforestation in the Amazon and South America.

Illustrator: Vicki Gausden & Bears

Vicki Gausden is an freelance illustrator who makes some really fun, free-spirited drawings. Many of her drawings are of all different types of animals. She also develops characters and children's books, many of which have themes of conservation. I especially love her drawings of bears and her newest character Polar Bear Pete.

Polar Bear Pete Christmas Cards by Vicki Gausden
view more here

Polar Bear Pete Traveling by Vicki Gausden

A page from the Polar Bear Pete book by Vicki Gausden
In the story Polar Bear Pete travels the globe looking for a new home.
Check out some more pages from the story here.

Grin and Bear it by Vicki Gausden
I love this postcard. I think its so cute. She even includes almost all the different species of bears plus a few bonuses (Teddy and Koala).

The eight species of bears are:

-Black Bear

-Brown Bear (includes subspecies Grizzly, Kodiak, etc.)

-Polar Bear

-Spectacled Bear

-Sloth Bear

-Moon Bear or Asiatic Black Bear

-Sun Bear


To learn more about bears visit the Great Bear Foundation's website.

Good News for Sumatra

One of Daughter Earth's main focuses is to help protect the wildlife and habitats of Sumatra. We donate funds from most of our shirts to SOS Orangutan's tree replanting project. Sumatra has a very unique biodiversity and is one of the worlds quickest disappearing forests.

A few days ago WWF sent out a press release Successes in Sumatra Bring Hope for Wildlife. The governors of Sumatra all came together in a meeting and are committed to restoring and protecting their natural resources. They are expanding Tesso Nilo National Park to more than twice its original size. They are fighting with paper industry giants to protect their land. The future of Sumatra's forests is looking up.

Some of the Amazing Animals of Sumatra...

Sumatran Rhinoceros
This critically endangered rhinoceros that once roamed all of southeast Asia has only 6 substantial populations remaining, 4 of which are on the island of Sumatra. There are thought to be less than 300 individuals Sumatran Rhinos left in the world.

Sumatran Otter or Hairy Nosed Otter
This otter is so rare that it was actually thought to be extinct in 1998 because there had been no sightings of it for so long. In 2005 it was rediscovered and since they have found few tiny populations of the Sumatran Otter.

Sumatran Tiger
The critically endangered Sumatran Tiger is one of the rarest subspecies of tiger who lives only in Sumatra's forests. There are less than 500 Sumatran Tigers remaining in the wild.

Malayan Tapir
Because of its large size the Malayan Tapir has no natural predators. It is still in threat of becoming extinct because of human activity like deforestation for agriculture.

Slow Loris
Not only does the Slow Loris suffer from habitat loss like the rest of it's Sumatran neighbors, it also suffers for being too cute. Yes, too cute, the Slow Loris is the victim of the terrible wildlife trade because people think they are so cute and would make a nice pet. For more information on the suffering Loris's face when they are made a part of the pet trade visit ProFauna Indonesia.

Sun Bear
While the conservation status of the Sun Bear is currently unknown due to insufficient data it is also considered vulnerable because of its loss of habitat.

Rhinoceros Hornbill
This unique looking bird is found only in the highest rainforests in Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Malay peninsula.

Sumatran Elephant
The Sumatran Elephant is a critically endangered subspecies of the Asian elephant. It is smaller than there cousin the Indian elephant and found only on the island of Sumatra. There are thought to be between 2000 - 2700 Sumatran Elephants remaining in the wild. Over 80% of there habitat has been lost to agriculture.

Bornean Clouded Leopard
The Bornean Clouded Leopard was just newly listed as its own species in May 2007 when scientists realized its DNA differed greatly from the mainland clouded leopard. The Bornean Clouded Leopards lives mainly in Borneo and Sumatra.

Agile Gibbon or Black Handed Gibbon
This endangered gibbon primarily lives on the island of Sumatra.
See Daughter Earth's new Gibbon Shirt, which will be available soon, below.

Sumatran Rabbit
The Sumatran Rabbit is critically endangered and lives only in the Barisan Mountains of Sumatra. This rabbit is so rare that there have only been three sightings since 1972.

Silver Leaf Monkey or Silvered Langur
One of the many primate species residing in Sumatra.

Sumatran Orangutan
The Sumatran Orangutan, is the rarer of the two species of orangutan and is critically endangered. There are less than 8000 individuals remaining in the wild.

Want to help?
Here are links to some of the great organizations working to save Sumatra's forests.

RSPB - Save the Sumatran Rainforests Campaign

Wolrd Wildlife Fund's projects in Sumatra

Sumatran Orangutan Society: Tree Replanting Project

ProFauna Indonesia

You can also buy Daughter Earth products who proceeds benefit Sumatran Rainforests.

This "Daughter Earth" shirt, "Rhino Crossing" and "Peace Love and Orangutans" shirt are currently available at

Daughter Earth by Daughter Earth

Rhino Crossing by Daughter Earth

Peace, Love and Orangutans by Daughter Earth

These three new shirts, benefiting the Sumatran Forests, will be available by mid November at

Save Sumatra's Forests by Daughter Earth

I Heart Trees by Daughter Earth

Gibbon by Daughter Earth

UPDATE: Another article on the Slow Loris trade.

Eco-Mochilas and Cotton-top Tamarins

I first learned about Proyecto Titi's Eco-Mochillas project when I heard Rosamira Guillen at the 2007 Wildlife Conservation Expo. Mochillas are traditional bags made in Columbia. Proyecto Titi redesigned the bags to be made with plastic bags. This means no more plastic bags in the forests or on the side of the roads. The people who share their villages with the Cotton Top Tamarin can now make a living producing Eco-Mochillas (pictured below). Plastic bags have become a form of currency in these villages. The women in these villages are now able to support there families by making Eco-Mochillas. The women go door to door to collect bags and spread knowledge of why it is so important to protect the Cotton-top Tamarin. Villagers now learn to appreciate and cherish their special neighbors.

Eco-Mochilas available for purchase from Proyecto Titi.
Click here to purchase your own Eco-Mochila.

Growing Up

My favorite animal planet series "Growing Up" is now available on DVD. It's a series about orphaned animals being raised at sanctuaries. They are available with four episodes per disc for $9.99 - 12.99.

Growing Up Wilderness
Growing Up: Black Bear
Growing Up: Sitka Deer
Growing Up: Moose
Growing Up: Coyote

Growing Up Arctic
Growing Up: Polar Bear
Growing Up: Seal
Growing Up: Walrus (one of my favorites)
Growing Up: Penguin

Growing Up Safari
Growing Up: Rhino (another favorite)
Growing Up: Zebra
Growing Up: Hyena
Growing Up: Giraffe

Growing Up Wild Cats
Growing Up: Lion
Growing Up: Tiger
Growing Up: Cheetah
Growing Up: Black Leopard

Growing Up Gift Pack
The "Growing Up DVD Gift Pack" includes all four listed above plus Growing Up: Primate which is not available separately. Growing Up Primate includes Growing Up Orangutan my absolute favorite!

What is missing?

Growing Up Grizzly narrated by Brad Pitt was released in 2001 and has used copies available.

Where is Growing Up: Panda, Growing Up: Clouded Leopard and Growing Up: Grizzly 2 (With Jennifer Aniston)? Unless they are included in the entire set it does not seem like these are available for purchase.