Environmental Crisis: What we learned from Covid-19
Hear it from some of our young advocates, as they reflect on the possibility of uniting for environmental action in the same unity we have witnessed during this global pandemic.
Co-authored by World Scouting’s Youth Representatives: Grecia Bárcena Calderón (Mexico), Jimena Ojeda Ramirez (Peru), Kazi Zubair Hossain (Bangladesh) & Takunda Trust Mahachi (Zimbabwe)
- This lockdown is not only reminding us of the urgency of taking action for this global pandemic, but also proving that despite all complications and differences, we can stand together to create a better world.
- The concept of Scouting was born in nature, progressively building young people's sense of personal responsibility towards the environment by letting them learn how their day-to-day actions impact the natural world.
- Environment and sustainability has been identified as one of the four key educational areas of Scouting, and this year on World Environment Day, Scouting launched its new environmental initiative, the Earth Tribe.
The global pandemic we are going through is among the many consequences of the mismanagement of natural resources, and the way we conceive our relationship with nature.
This global pandemic is a reminder of the urgency to build momentum for environmental protection and to reverse the threats affecting our planet and our future.
In the last months, we have seen and felt air quality improvement in many countries due to the shrinking nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. In some places like New York and other major metropolitan areas in the northeastern USA, air pollution levels dropped 30% compared to the same period in 2019. According to the World Economic Forum, China’s emissions went down by 40%, the equivalent of removing 192,000 cars and raising the possibility of better health status. On the other hand, animals started to repopulate big cities and people are understanding and rethinking the importance of biodiversity in daily lives. But what about other natural resources like water and soil pollution? Are we being responsible consumers? Are we ready to face a new reality where the natural environment is on our top priority to avoid global shocks like COVID-19?
This lockdown is not only reminding us of the urgency of taking action for this global pandemic, but also proving that despite all complications & differences, we can stand together to create a better world. The same solidarity is also needed to tackle the global environmental issues we are facing. Though these issues don’t have immediate impact like COVID-19, we can’t ignore the fact that these have prolonging and devastating effects on our livelihoods, health and economy which may take centuries to recover. This is what everyone, especially world leaders must perceive from the current situation that sustainability is a must and needs to be incorporated in all aspects of our lives.
Environmental education has been at the core of the Scout movement since its inception in 1907. The concept of Scouting was born in nature, progressively building young people's sense of personal responsibility towards the environment by letting them learn how their day-to-day actions impact the natural world.
As a result, environmental actions for Scouts have not stopped while we’re indoors, from creating face masks through 3D printing, delivering food for the elderly, launching awareness campaigns, to raising funds of more than $100,000 USD to support COVID-19 volunteering initiatives around the world.
Environment and sustainability has been identified as one of the four key educational areas of Scouting, therefore, this year on World Environment Day, Scouting launched its new environmental initiative, the Earth Tribe, made up of three challenges and badges: Champions for Nature, Scouts Go Solar and Tide Turners Plastic Challenge. Through this community, Scouts and non-Scouts will be able to take action and develop diverse projects on climate change adaptation & mitigation, biodiversity conservation, clean energy, disaster risk reduction and much more. With members all around the world eager to contribute to help the environment, Scouting is actively responding to make sure that the new normality is one where sustainability is at the forefront of our lives.
Remarkably against all odds, the whole world during this fight of the virus turned out to be united. Mutual information about the virus, medical equipment and ideas of fighting the virus are openly shared worldwide. Nationals are helping each other in fighting against the virus and somehow talking and fighting against this pandemic has brought the world together. The world has shown its ability to be united and fight for one common goal and taking action for the environment requires such world unity. A unity that the Scouting Movement has proven to have many years ago, is the unity that will help us thrive after this hard season.
Now more than ever before is the perfect time for such a shift as our lives have been reset. It has to be acted on with urgency before the world goes back into its previous path of harming the planet.