Environmental Education through Scouting
The environmental problems facing mankind has today moved to centre stage. The awareness of the importance of keeping the environment clean and healthy, of not threatening the survival of habitats and species in order to satisfy the needs and "wants" of the present generation, has soared in recent years. Everyone’s involvement to save the environment is, therefore, essential.
For the Scout Movement, care for the environment has its roots from the time it was founded in 1907. In the words of its founder, Baden-Powell, "nature study is the key activity in Scouting and Guiding... and will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy...Try to leave this world a little better than you found it". On reflection, these were indeed words of a visionary.
World Scout Environment Programme
Today, there are many more environmental challenges than when Scouting started. It is, therefore, more important than ever to keep the environment element central to Scouting, to make Scouting a positive force for change. Hence, the birth of the World Scout Environment Programme, which provides support for Scouts to engage in environmental education activities, learn about nature and the environment, and make informed choices about the environment, people and society -- choices that reflect the Scout Promise and Law. Through environmental education and action, Scouting can really make a difference. It has and will continue to.
Scouts and Environmental Projects
Examples of environmental projects undertaken by Scouts are as follows:
Trees for the World
A major environmental programme that has developed from the Messengers of Peace Initiative is the Trees for the World project by 10 Scouts from nine National Scout Organizations in the Interamerican Scout Region. With the support of social media, they managed to set up a global environmental initiative to promote environmental practices and tree planting together with community members. To date, they have the support of 33 countries in the six Scout Regions, who are replicating the same model of "training the community and planting trees". More than 66,000 trees have been planted.
Mangrove Tree Planting - Saving Indonesia's Coast
Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, working hand-in-hand with the community at Semarang City, launched a project to restore the deteriorating coastal ecosystem of the city by planting mangrove trees across 85 hectares of land.
Cleaning Pesanggrahan River
About 400 young people including 100 Scouts from Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia in South Jakarta carried out cleaning and restoration work at Pesanggrahan River. They planted trees and educated the local community on the negative effects of littering and the importance of following eco-friendly guidelines.
Around the world, environment-related organisations have developed various programmes to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and Mother Earth.
WWF together with Earth Hour.org celebrate Earth Hour from 8.30pm-9.30pm (local time) on the last Saturday of March each year, during which non-essential lights are switched off; Earth Day Network commemorates Earth Day on 22 April; United Nations Environment Programme celebrates World Environment Day on 5 June, among others.
As global active citizens who aspire to create a better world, Scouts support these events. On 28 March, World Scouting will be celebrating Earth Hour. The work on "change climate change", the theme of this year's Earth Hour, however, goes beyond switching off lights for 60 minutes from 8.30pm. That is only a symbolic action. "Change climate change" can only happen if and when caring for the environment becomes our lifestyle.
Your “Change Climate Change” Action
So, what will your environment-related action be to "Try to leave this world a little better than you found it' -- switch off lights when not in use, buy products that can be recycled and recycle them, choose products that have less packaging, reduce the amount of waste in our homes?
Share with us your actions on scout.org and/or social media channels namely Facebook and Twitter. Remember to hashtag your posts with #worldscouting #environment #earthhour
Let’s "change climate change" for a Better World!