Over the weekend someone sent me news that the Boy Scouts are adding two merit badges to the list of badges required for Eagle. One is the Cooking badge which I thought was already on the list. The second is the new Sustainability merit badge which scouts will have to earn, OR continue to earn the environmental science badge which is currently required for Eagle. It’s a choice between those two. The new Sustainability badge requirements aren’t public yet, but on the BSA blog (at least this looks like their official blog), “Bryan on Scouting” posts this:
Sustainability merit badge FAQs
Upon its release during the summer of 2013, Sustainability becomes available as an option with Environmental Science as an Eagle-required merit badge. At that time Scouts may choose to earn Sustainability in place of the currently required Environmental Science.
- If a Scout earns Sustainability and Environmental Science, do both count toward Eagle?
- Scouts who have already earned Environmental Science may also earn Sustainability, but only one of the two merit badges would count as “Eagle-required.” The other, however, may count as one of the electives necessary to reach the total of 21 required merit badges.
- Can you give me a general description of what Sustainability MB will cover?
- The Sustainability merit badge, in essence, takes conservation and environmental science to another level. The protection, preservation, and management of wildlife and natural resources involved in conservation provide a foundation for what we call environmental science. The latter integrates physical and biological sciences such as ecology, biology, soil science, atmospheric science, and others in order to generate solutions to environmental issues. Sustainability takes off from there by taking responsibility for balancing long-term environmental, social, health, and economic needs with progress and development. It further suggests that development, while meeting the needs of the present, cannot compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
- What subject areas will Scouts be studying?
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Land pollution
- Endangered species
- Pollution prevention, resource recovery, and conservation
- Ecosystem—living and nonliving
- Environmental impact
- What are the requirements for the merit badge?
- The requirements for Sustainability have not yet been finalized, but initial discussions include the following topics:
- What is sustainability?
- Examining our current needs and our choices in meeting them, with attention to extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal
- Impact on our natural resources
- Problems we must address, including plastic, electronic, and medical waste; species extinction, and climate change
- New habits to adopt, including green chemistry, recycling, zero waste, and sustainability-conscious citizens
- Careers related to sustainability
On another of Bryan’s blog posts he says this about the change in Eagle requirements:
“Why the change? The goal is to “reflect a better balance of the needs of youth and our nation today and in the future,” according to the BSA’s resolution. Personally, I like it. Keeping up with the ever-changing world means questioning the way things have always been done.
Sustainability becomes more important as our population increases while resources decrease. And a boy who reaches Eagle without skills in cooking and healthy eating habits hasn’t become fully “Prepared. For Life.” in my opinion. I think the BSA’s board got it right on here.”
I wonder if careers related to sustainability will include jobs at the U.N. and in government where you can force people to change their lifestyles. From the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, we read this verse in section 104 which is a contradiction of the sustainability movement.
“17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”
I would rather have seen the merit badge called Stewardship and have it just discuss the role of individuals in taking care of our resources that we have a role in, rather than have requirements fitted to a known global agenda and how you can potentially impact other people’s lives. We are agents unto ourselves and there are enough resources to provide for everyone on this planet and more. Others need to learn to be agents and good stewards by being given freedom to learn, not the dictates of anothers conscience.
If you don’t know much about the sustainability movement, read this: