AN ENVIRONMENTALIST from Crewkerne has been named a winner in the 2013 International Young Eco-Hero Awards.
Second-placed honours in the awards presented by US-based group Action for Nature went to Abbie Barnes, 16, who has been campaigning against the use of palm oil in products.
Abbie has helped the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil organisation in raising awareness and her efforts have been highlighted in posters the RSPO produced for conferences in Malaysia.
She wants to encourage the consumption of only sustainably produced palm oil or none at all.
She has made documentary-style videos in which she raises environmental issues such as palm oil production, animal abuse in circuses, over-fishing, and other topics including the ivory and fur trade, endangered species, and plastic pollution in the oceans.
After one of her films won a UK national competition organised by the Young People’s Trust for the Environment, she won a visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.
In 2012, she gave a presentation to 15 MEPs to encourage the mandatory labelling of palm oil in food and other products.
In 2014, thanks in part to her campaign, all foods in the UK will be required to state the type of vegetable oil they contain, enabling people to make more informed consumer choices.
Abbie also serves with Somerset Wildlife Trust by assisting its Watch Groups, which teach youth conservationist skills.
As a volunteer with the Ham Hill Rangers, she helps to maintain the natural landscape of Ham Hill Country Park, and assists with the environmental education of its volunteers.