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Heart of America Council Begins Greening Its Campsites

“We shall never achieve harmony with the land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.” Thus wrote Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), the father of the land ethic, which describes an ethical, caring relationship between people and nature.…

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Baby Steps, Becoming Sustainable, and the Boy Scouts of America

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That wisdom certainly applies to sustainability. It’s all but impossible for an individual, a family, or a BSA council to fully embrace sustainability overnight. Instead, we start with baby steps—recycling aluminum cans, perhaps, or trading out incandescent…

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Sustainability: Good for the Planet, for Business, and for Scouting

At first glance, Knorr soup, Dove soap, Lipton tea, Hellman’s mayonnaise, and Dirt is Good laundry products seem to have little in common. But they share three important characteristics: They are part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living portfolio, they are the company’s biggest products, and they (along with Unilever’s other sustainable brands) delivered nearly half the…

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Touching the Elephant of Sustainability

A familiar parable from the Indian subcontinent describes a group of blind men examining an elephant. One man touches the elephant’s tail and thinks it’s like a rope. Another touches the elephant’s side and think it’s like a wall. The man who touches an ear imagines a huge hand fan. Feeling a leg convinces the…

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Save the Planet, Earn a Medal

At the end of a 10K race, most people are probably happy to hit the showers. But some people—those who’ve been bitten by the running bug—are just getting started. They consider 10 kilometers to be little more than a warmup for a half-marathon, a full marathon, or even an ultramarathon. The same thing is true…

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Moving From Wasteful to Zero Waste

Denise Coogan generates more trash at home each week than her entire office has generated in a dozen years. And her office isn’t some eco-friendly coffee shop or organic farm. Instead, it’s Subaru’s 3.8-million-square-foot assembly plant in Lafayette, Ind. The plant and its 3,700 workers produce 300,000 vehicles a year but virtually no waste. In…

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A New Certification Program Supports Organic Farmers in Training

Walk down the natural-foods aisle at your favorite supermarket, and you’ll see labels touting all sorts of promises: Fair Trade, sustainably grown, natural, free range, heart healthy, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, no artificial anything, Certified Organic, and Certified Transitional. Certified what? Certified Transitional is a new accreditation protocol dreamed up by Kashi to help farmers transition…

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Surprising Ways to Save—and Waste—Water

When it comes to water usage, Americans tend to slurp rather than sip. Like Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain,” we blithely splash around in puddles as if we have more water than we know what to do with. As a result, Americans use—and waste—far more water than most other countries. In fact, only…

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How Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center Is Embracing Sustainability

Ask a dozen people what sustainability means, and you’re liable to get a dozen difference answers—and each of them may be correct. That’s because sustainability is about a lot more than just recycling. Yes, it’s about saving the planet, but it’s also about taking care of people and making sure organizations have long-term viability. The…

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Hometown USA Award rewards Scouts for efforts to Keep America Beautiful

Always leave a place better than you found it. For more than 100 years, Scouts have followed that doctrine everywhere they go. It’s in our DNA. And it’s why the Boy Scouts of America has teamed up with Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit devoted to ending littering, improving recycling and beautifying America’s communities. The embodiment of that partnership is the Keep America…

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