Scouting for Tomorrow's Environment at the Global Development Village
During the 21st World Scout Jamboree in the UK in August 2007, Scouts aged 14 to 18 had the opportunity to participate in workshops at the Global Development Village (GDV), where they could learn about issues confronting the world today and in the future and explore how Scouts can act as a positive force for change in these areas.
The World Scout Environment Education Task Team, in conjunction with an international team of volunteers, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Alcoa Foundation, developed four environment and sustainability workshops for the GDV on some of the most important issues for Scouts today and for the coming years. These topics included climate change, disaster preparedness, green living and renewable energy.
In groups of mixed nationality, between 18 and 25 Scouts at a time took part in each of the GDV workshops where they were introduced to the topics, shared their experiences in the area and then undertook activities to challenge them and explore the issue. A summary of the four World Scout workshops can be found below:
Scouts were introduced to climate change and their knowledge tested with a 'tic-tac-toe' competition quiz, asking about the causes and effects of climate change. The Scouts were asked to consider the impacts of their day-to-day actions with a colourful footprint quiz, highlighting what they could do to live more 'lightly'.
Looking at the impacts of air travel on climate change, the Scouts each calculated the carbon emissions they had generated by travelling to the Jamboree. This equated to the number of trees that would need to be planted, which were symbolised by small trees made by the Scouts and pasted to the walls of the Climate Change tent, with the forest progressively growing throughout the Jamboree. Scouts were encouraged to consider what they had learned about climate change and to make a pledge or 'climate change goal' which they wrote down to share with other GDV participants.
Natural disasters come in many forms and affect people in different ways around the world. These natural disasters were introduced to the Scouts with a fun 'which disaster am I?' game that had
Scouts mixing and learning simultaneously. A DVD was then presented to give Scouts a visual picture of the types of natural disasters and how Scouts have been involved in these in many countries in recent years.
Going through the contents of an emergency kit helped Scouts to think about what would be needed in an emergency situation and how early preparation can be a big help. This was then challenged with a disaster scenario where they had to imagine they were experiencing a natural disaster and decide what actions to take for a long-term disaster (drought), short-term disaster (hurricane) and immediate disaster (earthquake).
A flood warning was then issued for the GDV site, with water arriving in 15 minutes, requiring the whole team to be elevated off the ground. The Scouts sprang into action, lashing poles with ropes and constructing standing platforms and rafts. The workshop finished with Scouts considering what they had learned and how they could prepare an emergency plan for their homes.
Recognising that our actions in our day-to-day lives has an impact on the environment, the green living workshop focussed on thinking through how to live more 'lightly'. The Scouts had an interactive picture partner game, where they had a picture and had to find their partner with a similar themed picture, with one being better for the environment than the other (e.g. compact fluorescent light globe and an incandescent light globe).
Then the Scouts were off to the moon in their spaceship, however there was not enough room for everything to go. The Scouts thought through which of the items were essential and which were not really necessary, linking back to their own life choices. There were other presentations of a 'green living home' where Scouts identified what could be done for the household to improve on things like energy efficiency and water consumption. A pile of standard household garbage was presented to the Scouts for their consideration as to how they would separate it for recycling, compost or disposal to landfill.
After playing an interactive quiz game that had Scouts chasing each other, they were able to express their learning creatively. The Scouts decorated cotton bags with their personalised message for why and how they should care for the environment and live a more 'green' lifestyle.
The renewable energy workshop provided an opportunity for Scouts to consider the energy that surrounds them and how technology can be used to harness this in a renewable way. The Scouts took part in a quiz on renewable energy and searched for the answers on posters displayed around the tent. They then had a presentation of renewable energy and why it is important in protecting the environment.
A series of examples of renewable energy technology were set up for the Scouts to interact with. This included two types of solar cooker, one acting like a stove top, which boiled water for hot chocolate and the other like an oven which progressively cooked nachos with cheese or pies. Solar power was used to show how photovoltaic panels can power small devices, like a fan, beeper or light, a solar powered radio, solar camp shower and solar mosquito repeller were all on display, even a lighter using the energy of the sun. A small solar hot water service with digital counter demonstrated the principle of solar hot water. A wind turbine powered a light, fan and beeper and could be directly compared to the capacity of the photovoltaic panel for producing power at different times.
Scouts knowledge of the subject was tested with a team chasing game based on questions about renewable energy. There was opportunity for visitors and Scouts passing by to learn about the renewable energy technology on display.
Taking the message home
Each participant at the GDV workshops made a pledge, one thing they would do following the Jamboree, that will help make this world a little better. The pledges gave an indication of the interest Scouts had taken in the workshops, pledging to do things like prepare an emergency kit for their family, recycle more, find out about renewable energy at home, and plant their trees to offset their flight's carbon emissions.
The feedback received from the Scouts and visitors was very positive and it was clear the Scouts enjoyed the variety of activities that had been prepared during the workshops. In total, approximately 1,300 Scouts participated in the four workshops coordinated by World Scouting, an equivalent of 2,000 hours of environment and sustainability education.
The workshops were featured in an edition of the Jamboree Newspaper, 'One Word', along with other environmental activities available for Scouts throughout the Jamboree. The Jamboree Radio Station, 'Promise FM', interviewed the Renewable Energy workshop leaders, providing them with an opportunity to explain about the principles of solar cooking, renewable energy and the overall point of why we should learn more about caring for the environment. The supporters of the workshop were acknowledged and thanked during the radio programme. The hosts were very pleased to be able to try some of the hot pie that had been cooked that day using the solar cooker!
Many thanks to the support of the international team of Scout volunteers who developed and delivered the workshops, in cooperation with our partners.
The Alcoa Foundation and the World Organization of the Scout Movement have a partnership in developing Scouting and environment sustainability programmes for our members. This support greatly assisted in the delivery of the GDV workshops and is part of the overall programme development for environment sustainability at the world level. www.alcoa.com/global/en/community/info_page/Foundation.asp
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), provided support in developing the workshop content and providing resources for the workshops. This included the latest edition of Tunza Magazine for children and youth, featuring an article on Scouting for Trees around the world. www.unep.org
ID Cook were very supportive in providing advice and a wide range of demonstration solar products. This especially included a Sun Cook Solar Oven which demonstrated it's effectiveness by cooking nachos and baking pies. www.idcook.com/
Solar Energy Ltd provided the Prometheus cooker, which shaped like a satellite dish, attracted a lot of attention when boiling water using the sun's energy. www.solarenergyltd.net/