Who would've thought? The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recently introduced a "Sustainability" Merit Badge. The Boy Scouts have had some unfavorable reviews, as of late, but, they have been working toward change and, besides, we are here about sustainability. In other words, kudos to the BSA for looking toward the future, yet again, and working to pass along ideals and information our children will be able to carry on into their adult lives. The hope is the children will pass along the information to those around them, and, eventually to their children. That's one heck of an information superhighway!
The BSA has, generally, been on a pretty decent forefront of activities impacting the world around us, offering merit badges in areas such as "Environmental Science", "Architecture", and "Energy", but it is truly a nod in the direction we need to be headed by adding this new merit badge in "Sustainability".
The first of the requirements for the "Sustainability" merit badge is to "write in your own words the meaning of sustainability. Explain how you
think conservation and stewardship of our natural resources relate to
sustainability. Have a family meeting, and ask family members to write
down what they think sustainability means...". This is an interesting concept, which is, as an assumption, meant to fuel conversation about sustainability. It is a noble deed and an idealistic foresight into getting people talking about what sustainability means to them. In the next set of requirements, the scout is required to implement a reduction/ research plan involving such topics as "water" (usage reduction), "food", "community", and "stuff", which includes "plastic waste", "food waste", "species decline", "world population", and "climate change". Not an easy undertaking for anyone, really!
It seems a grand plan for the BSA to take on environmental issues, but they are looking to the future; either within their ranks, or in the world-at-large. By educating and nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards, the BSA is, in essence, setting a tone for what is to come. The hope for current stewards of all that is ecological is the dawn of a new consciousness, regarding where we are headed. The BSA seems to understand this hope, and has made it a priority. Many organizations similar to the BSA might find this task defeatist, but the BSA has embraced the task and, again, pushed the envelope of what our children need preparation for.
Though the BSA has had ups and downs, they still continue to ride the front of the wave of innovation. They do not shy away from the job in front of them, all the while pushing our youth to be shining examples of modernization. The Scout Oath is "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." To this, we tip our hats to the BSA and the scouts at working that credo into the realm of sustainability!