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Outdoor Ethics

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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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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Michigan Scout Council Launches Innovative Sustainable Farming Program

In 1921, when Rota Kiwan Scout Reservation opened near Kalamazoo, Mich., Boy Scouting offered merit badges in agriculture, beekeeping, botany, dairying, gardening, and poultry keeping. For many Scouts of the era, a trip to summer camp offered a welcome break from chores on the family farm. (In 1920, America had three times as many farms…

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See The Locally-Sourced Inspiration Behind This Council’s Unique Program

This article originally appeared on Scouting Wire. Story by Jane Parikh of the Michigan Crossroads Council Cub Scouts at Rota Kiwan Scout Reservation are sowing seeds for the future through their participation in a unique local food project this summer at camp. The Seed to Life program was developed by Megan Yankee, Marketing Innovations Manager…

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Scout Service Project Helps Bring Life Back to Chesapeake Bay

Since the nineteenth century, Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population has plummeted to perhaps 1 percent of its historic levels. A harvest that once numbered in the millions of bushels has been reduced to a few thousand bushels per year. Of course, that precipitous decline is a problem for people whose livelihoods depend on oysters, as well…

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Counting the Cost of Embracing Sustainability

Most people—and virtually all business owners—have heard Titus Maccius Plautus’s maxim, “You must spend money to make money.” Less familiar is the maxim’s sustainability corollary: “You must spend money to save money.” While it doesn’t cost anything to recycle, adjust your thermostat, or commute by bike instead of car, many sustainability actions come with a…

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