Cailie is a 21 year old activist from Wisconsin and a vibrant member of the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders group. The 4th addition to our current 7 part blog series focused on the Leaders, this blog reveals how Cailie’s passion for environmental and social justice motivates the work that she does in her community and on the Conflict Palm Oil campaign. If you live near the Green Bay, WI area and feel inspired by Cailie’s story, sign up to work with her by clicking the sign-up link at the bottom of the page!
Cailie Kafura, 21, Green Bay, WI
From a very young age, Cailie has been an environmentalist, striving to make the world a better place. She has always felt an inherent responsibility to care for the earth and all its inhabitants, and acted upon this feeling by volunteering at local zoos, animal shelters, and being an active member of environmental clubs throughout her childhood and young adulthood. She was raised in a household that valued and respected all forms of life, a perspective that helped shape the nature enthusiast she is today. As she grew older and more mature, Cailie became aware that not everyone shares this innate desire to protect and preserve the earth––that quite the opposite was the trend. In her first year of college, she truly came face to face with environmental and social turmoil, as she became aware of proposals for the world’s largest mine right in her backyard, massive amounts of food waste in dumpsters all around her campus, and the struggle of Indigenous communities fighting extreme extractive industries on their land. Although she was feeling like she was surrounded by tragedy and corruption, Cailie’s allegiance to the environmental movement did not falter, but rather it was solidified:
Despite the dreary forecast of corruption, greed, and a chance of hopelessness, my motivation comes from the like-minded souls that surrounded me. In my own community, the overwhelmingly passionate grassroots movement has halted the mine, rescued pounds of food from being wasted, and continues to inspire others to believe in the power of the people to be a catalyst of change.
Though Cailie is passionate about many causes, the issue of Conflict Palm Oil is exceptionally heartbreaking for her due to the multi-faceted nature of the conflict. The issue first engaged her interest when she came across a photo of an adult orangutan lying helplessly on the ground, with third degree burns caused by fires set on cleared forest lands to prepare the soils for palm tree cultivation. Although devastated, Cailie was not disheartened. Rather, she was immediately prompted to action and began educating her friends, family, and peers about issue:
After enlightening those around me about the Conflict Palm Oil issue, I saw the same passion light up in their eyes that was in mine when I first discovered the truth. Seeing this light in others has kept mine alight as I continue to fight for forests, human rights, and endangered species.
Cailie’s contagious energy, enthusiasm, and joy lights up the room. Entering her final year of college in the Fall of 2015, she is committed to leading the movement on holding corporations responsible for their actions on her campus, and will continue to be an instrumental presence in the fight against Conflict Palm Oil.
Do you live in the Green Bay, WI area and want to work with Cailie to fight Conflict Palm Oil? She’s gearing up for a Sara Lee company call-in event in Green Bay on August 15th, and she’s looking for passionate volunteers to join her!