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packsaddle

Merits of a Sustainability Badge

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OK, I didn't move the previous thread on this topic but I would have if I had read it recently. I agree with SM_Travis and I hope he picks back up with this thread instead.

I'm opening this thread for those of us who want to actually discuss Scouting and the merits of this new badge.

AND, in the spirit of the absolute power which has corrupted me absolutely, if anyone tries to hijack this one with political references, I'll delete your posts WOFA. Scout's Promise.

 

Look, I was enjoying the original thread and hoping to see more on-topic discussion. I teach courses related to this topic. I was really saddened to see it taken over by 'you-know-who-you-are' about 'you-know-what'. Try to keep this one on track, please.

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It's difficult to have a very meaningful discussion of a "sustainability" merit badge without knowing the content that will be included.

 

Since Packsaddle claims Xpertise in this area, perhaps he might like to suggest some content he thinks would be worthwhile.

 

 

 

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Does anyone have any information (or even an educated guess) as to what the requirements of this badge might be? It appears that the official "unveiling" will not occur until next summer after the Jamboree.

 

There is a description of "sustainability" on my favorite source of sometimes-correct information, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability

Note to Seattle Pioneer (based on a comment in the other thread), it does mention economics, and I think economics is implied as part of the whole concept.

 

But I'm not sure exactly how you get a meaningful set of requirements out of that.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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I wish I knew the content as well. But if I had to suggest something, the top of my list would contain the topic of 'net energy analysis'. This can be applied to anything and IS applied to energy sources under the concept of EROI or Energy Return on Investment. The idea is related to an economic cost/benefit analysis but the currency is energy rather than dollars.

That would be a start.

 

Some other useful topics might include recycling, transportation alternatives, renewable energy/fuels. This list could be quite long.

If you want to read something that is thought-provoking, read a short paper entitled, 'Eating Fossil Fuel'. It's online and you can find it using Google. It isn't what I would call a definitive analysis but it does consider many of the right concepts and components. The conclusions are scary to some people.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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I am not sure a scout with a First Aid merit badge should ever get confused with a Fellowship trained surgeon, or a scout with an American Labor merit badge as a Union Negotiator. What they are are youth with more than just a glossed over view of the topics. How much further they go depends on the youth. I would expect the same of the Sustainability merit badge. INtroduce the concept, explain it and how much do you want 12-13 year olds to know? Other than its a concept that sure raises hackles

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Sustainability MB? Really?

 

Man that has to be a really jump-up-and-down fun time.

 

I've been on the receiving end of that crap for years now. It's like 6-sigma and CQI ... takes a load of resources, doesn't work and kills companies.

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WasE61, I think the concern is related to your 'jumping'. Or to put it differently, is the content for this badge going to be the product of some thoughtless fad or is it going to be a thoughtful exercise on how to make rational decisions? If it's the latter, it should be compatible with the business environment. The private industry I started my career with had a motto that they could not sustain the industry if they destroy the very resources they depend on...sustainability. Later during my stint with the federal government working on Army bases, the Army suddenly realized that their use of some bases was destroying the land to the extent that it was dangerous for soldiers to train there...and that they MUST restore those systems for the long term outlook. Again sustainability. That was from the top guy.

So while I recognize that a term like 'sustainability' can be promoted thoughtlessly and with shallow thinking, it can also be a deeply meaningful and vital concept at a wide range of levels and for a wide range of interests.

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Thanks Packsaddle.

 

I agree that it's pretty hard to have a meaningful conversation without more info. Maybe I am giving BSA too much credit, but if this is Eagle required (at least as an alternate) I would think they are going to make this a real merit badge somewhat equivalent to Environmental Science. I would be surprised if it becomes fluff or political like some people are afraid of.(This message has been edited by SM_Travis)

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I'm buying into fad....based on it's implementation thus far in my industry.

 

Resource sustainability is an interesting concept. It probably won't work, since the resources primarily in play in the modern world are not renewable, therefore not sustainable.

 

Most the practice of sustainability that I've seen so far has to do with sustaining growth in sales/profits/shareholder value...lots of pretty Powerpoints at every quarterly meeting....

 

But hey, I'm a cynic. LOL

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Though it's been awhile since I was a scout, I can say for certain that the Sustainability MB would immediately take the blue ribbon for The Most Boring MB of All Time. And that's saying something, given some of the snoozer MBs that already exist.

 

If one is excessively worried that scouts may not understand the importance of Sustainability, then tweak the Environmental Science MB a bit and that should more than suffice. It's been more than 3 decades, but I recall sustainability-like discussions (though we didn't use the word sustainability) during my En. Sci. MB journey.

(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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Why do we need an alternative to Environmental Science, is it too hard?

I understand why we have alternatives to Swimming and Lifesaving MB (although I don't agree).

How about alternatives for some of the other required merit badges? I mean First Aid is kind of hard, lots of stuff to remember.

If we're going to add required merit badges or create alternatives let's go with the ones that focus on the outdoors.

 

Hope I'm not too far off topic, I guess I'll know if I get deleted.

Instead of threats why not create a Straight Forward forum where it's known that straying from the topic gets you deleted?

 

 

 

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I think the question about Environmental Science is a valid question. I would add that the entire Environmental Science merit badge would benefit from an overhall and if that process incorporated the topic of sustainability that would be just fine.

I am a MB counselor for Environmental Science and my observation has often been that boys will opt to 'take' this MB at summer camp where they are assured of an easy pass. It is one of my major criticisms of summer camp merit badge 'classes' in which unqualified teenagers 'counsel' for merit badges such as this one or other nature-based badges or even others like citizenship and communications. Often they 'tutor' their own peers, sometimes even their neighbors with whom they otherwise would be competing on some video game.

Sorry for the rant.

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No doubt a sustainability Merit Badge will be able to explain the following phenomena:

 

U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.

 

Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.

 

The boom has surprised even the experts.

 

"Five years ago, if I or anyone had predicted today's production growth, people would have thought we were crazy," says Jim Burkhard, head of oil markets research at IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm.

 

 

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019502329_apususoilboom.html

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That phenomenon, if not addressed in the MB Pamphlet might be addressed in the recommended reading.

 

Maybe the reading recommended above (Eating Fossil Fuels) in this thread will make the Sustainability MB recommended reading list. It could introduce Scouts to the writings of an author who is very concerned about such issues and who (according to Amazon.com and other sources) "has written about class war, sustainability, direct action and the environment. He is also an anarchist activist and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In 1999, he was one of the organizers of a hunger strike to provide medical care for political prisoner Leonard Peltier."

 

We can learn some of what the author of "Eating Fossil Fuels" has to teach us about oil prices and markets in an article he has published in The Anarchist Library http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/dale-allen-pfeiffer-peak-oil-and-the-working-class Therein he explains for us why oil prices go up.

 

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