Belgian Scouts and Guides rally for the climate
On December 2nd,2018 during the launch of the COP24 summit, the biggest demonstration for the climate in the history of Belgium took place in Brussels. Several non-profit organisations initiated it, including the 5 Scout and Guide associations of Belgium. Between 65.000 and 75.000 people, of which a great number of Scouts, Guides and other young people, marched together for the climate, calling political leaders and governments for action.
Scouting is an educational movement. A Scout protects life and nature. Our founder Baden-Powell once wrote « Try and leave this world a little better than you found it ». That makes at least three reasons to act, as Scouts and Guides, for the climate today. In Belgium, the 5 Scout and Guide associations got involved in the organisation of « Claim the climate Brussels », inviting their leaders and members to participate to the demonstration.
On December 2nd, 65.000 to 75.000 people joined the capital, Brussels, using climate-friendly means of transport : train, bus, bike, carpooling… The national train company also delivered a « green ticket » with a discounted price to every traveler in Belgium that day, and all public transport was free in Brussels. Many children and families took part in the march, walking or biking from Brussels North Station to the largest park in the city. And many of them wore a Scout scarf because they had responded to the call of their Scout or Guide association, among other youth associations.
Zero Waste camps and free public transport
Besides taking part in Claim the Climate, the Scout and Guide associations in Belgium have been empowering their members in taking effective action for the climate and the environment. Every summer, more and more local groups are organising Zero Waste camps, changing the ways of transport, food supply and waste treatment in order to reduce as much as possible the negative impact of human activity on the environment.
Since the summer of 2017, Scout and Guide groups from several associations have also been enabled to use public buses for free in southern Belgium during weekends and school holidays. This agreement forged between the associations and the public authorities encourages the use of this more climate-friendly means of transport in the context of Scout activities. Discussions are underway with the national railway company in the prospect of encouraging Scouts and Guides to travel more by train, hopefully with the same kind of financial incentive.
Scouts and Guides in Belgium, as everywhere else, believe that tomorrow can be better… And act toward it daily by contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, constantly prepared to take personal and collective action for the planet.
This article has been written by the federation of Guiding and Scouting in Belgium