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Boy Scouts to require ‘sustainability’ merit badge

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The Boy Scouts of America will another way for scouts to earn their environmental credit by adding a merit badge for “sustainability” in July 2013 as part of the group’s requirement to advance to the level of Eagle Scout.

The sustainability badge aims “to teach Scouts about climate change, species extinction, resource extraction, green chemistry, recycling, and zero-waste manufacturing.”

The announcement was made by the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board last October, according to Scouting Magazine, and the new merit badge will become an option for scouts after their 2013 Jamboree.

Scouts will be given the option of earning an environmental science merit badge or a sustainability merit badge to satisfy the requirements to become an Eagle Scout. The requirements to earn the sustainability badge haven’t been finalized yet, but Scouting Magazine’s Bryan Wendell writes:

“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.”

An important part of the concept, Wendell continues, is “development, while meeting the needs of the present, cannot compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Wendell also writes that while the sustainability merit badge has no official requirements, initial talks have included “habits to adopt, including green chemistry, recycling, zero waste, and sustainability-conscious citizens,” careers related to sustainability, waste disposal and other similar topics.

The Boy Scouts of America said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation: “In an effort to reflect a better balance of the needs of youth and our nation today and in the future, Sustainability, a new merit badge, will join Environmental Science as an Eagle Scout option after its debut at the 2013 Jamboree in July. The total number of merit badges required for the Eagle Scout Award will remain at 21.”

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