As Scouts, lots of time is spent outdoors and subsequently a close relationship with the environment is developed. Therefore, sustainability and using resources wisely is an important aspect to all Scouts. Since its inception, young people of Scouts have been connecting with the outdoors, learning from nature and taking positive steps for their local and global environments.
“As a Scout, you are the guardian of the woods. A Scout never damages a tree by hacking it with (their) knife or axe. It does not take long to fell a tree, but it takes many years to grow one, so a Scout cuts down a tree for a good reason only – not just for the sake of using (their) axe. For every tree felled, two should be planted”
Environmental education is an important aspect of the Scout program and key to developing global citizens. Scouts are provided with opportunities to experience and connect with the natural world through the nature & the outdoors element of the Scout Method that benefit both the individual and the environment.
Many studies have shown that exposure to the natural environment improve health and wellbeing and are a key factor in the development of young people. What is also known is the people who connect with the natural environment as young people go on to become more caring for the environment as adults.
A Scout cares for the environment by:
Protecting and improving biodiversity Scouts protect biodiversity by caring for plants, animals and their habitat. They ensure their adventures in the outdoors have a positive effect on the ecosystems they visit. Scout campsites and properties are managed so existing wildlife habitats are protected and degraded habitats are restored.
Learning about the environment and inspiring others Scouts join their communities in activities that encourage life-long learning about the environment. Scouts develop innovative education activities and inspire others to be involved with their journey to take care of our environment.
Enjoying and connecting Scouts take time to enjoy and appreciate the environment through passive and active pursuits. They develop connections to the environment with its beauty, drama and excitement.
Living sustainable lives by acting to reduce negative impacts Scouts aim to reduce their environmental footprint by acting to reduce, reuse and recycle waste, and minimise use of energy and water at Scouting events and in their daily lives. Scouts support the protection of our air and water by reducing the risk from harmful substances, minimising the use of non-renewable resources and embracing sustainable energy resources.
Thinking global, acting local Scouts adapt their activities at a local level to minimise impacts that change the earth’s natural processes. Scouts are creating a better world through activities that tackle our environmental, social and economic challenges. A knowledge relating to changes to weather patterns due to climate change issues is also learnt by our Scouts.
World Scout Environment Programme
The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) has developed three key principles that Scouts globally are encouraged to work towards:
The environment is central to the Scout Programme and a key element of developing good citizens of the world
Scouting provides opportunities to experience and connect with the natural world.
Scouts actively engage in educational programmes to make informed choices about the environment, people and society – choices that reflect the Scout Promise & Law.
WOSM has also provided five key aims for Scouts to work towards:
People and natural systems have clean water and clean air
Sufficient natural habitat exists to support native species
The risk of harmful substances to people and the environment are minimised
The most suitable environmental practices are used
People are prepared to respond to environmental hazards and natural disasters.
Scouts are encouraged to explore the principles and aims stated above; a step towards achieving the World Scout Environment Badge, one part of the World Scout Environment Programme.
Be prepared to connect.
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