Scouting Cooks Up Merit Badge Changes

The Boy Scouts of America was green when green was just a color, and our commitment to environmental stewardship has only deepened in recent decades as we have incorporated outdoor-ethics practices across the Scouting program.

This summer, Scouting’s environmental stewardship will take another step forward with the introduction of the new Sustainability merit badge. According to Chris Hunt, the BSA’s team lead for advancement, the badge will build on lessons Scouts learn in other environmental and conservation badges.

“Sustainability takes off from there by taking responsibility for balancing long-term environmental, social, health, and economic needs with progress and development,” Hunt said. “It further suggests that development, while meeting the needs of the present, cannot compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Although the badge is still in development, Scouts can expect to learn about pollution, resource management, green chemistry, and zero-waste practices. They will be challenged to live sustainably and, as in other badges, to explore careers related to sustainability.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Sustainability merit badge will join the list of Eagle-required merit badges as an alternate to Environmental Science. Scouts who earn both badges can count the second as an elective.

On the same date, the BSA will make the Cooking merit badge—which is undergoing major revision—a requirement for the Eagle Scout Award. That addition may not improve the environment, but it will certainly improve the attitudes of Scoutmasters who are tired of eating burnt bacon, undercooked chicken, and other less-than-gourmet camp meals!

Click here for all of the merit badges and their requirements.


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