This summer the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, debuted a Sustainability merit badge in which Scouts work with their families to live more sustainably. The new badge can be earned as an alternative to Environmental Science to become an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking level of Boy Scout.
To earn the badge, Scouts must accomplish a variety of tasks in areas including water, food, community, energy, and stuff. He must hold a family meeting before and after completing the required tasks to discuss what sustainability means and what it means to be a sustainable citizen. He must explore the behavioral changes and life choices his family can make to live more sustainably.
On the goal behind the Sustainability merit badge, Scott Berger, chairman of the BSA Sustainability Leadership Team overseeing the badge’s development stated: “The idea is not just to conserve but to truly be stewards of our environment, our energy sources, and more—to think in terms not just of having enough for our lifetime but enough for future generations.”
For example, as an option, the energy tasks require:
And, the stuff tasks require:
It is also required to explore, research, and discuss two of the following: plastic waste, electronic waste, food waste, species decline, world population, or climate change.
With the Sustainability merit badge, the BSA have put forth a series of lessons everyone could follow and learn from. We should all take the initiative to “earn” this merit badge ourselves.
Parents could also use these lessons and require this exercise of their older children — boys and girls. The world would quickly become a better place if more children, together with their families, understand the big picture regarding topics such as water, food, energy, sustainable communities, and transportation, as well as waste reduction, species decline, overpopulation, and climate change.
Download the entire list of requirements for the BSA Sustainability merit badge and get started “earning” yours today.
Merit Badges image from BigStock.
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