CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Boy Scouts are trying to increase their level of sustainability from the ground up -- starting with using a reclaimed former coal mining property as the site of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is taking the Boy Scouts' commitment to conservation a step further in the next 100 years -- from stewardship to sustainability and from "leave no trace" to "leaving the world a better place." Monday's theme for the Jamboree is "Sustainability."
"It was important to the organization for sustainability to be a consideration in both design and day-to-day actions," according to an email from the Boy Scouts of America. "As a result, many of the designs in operation at the jamboree focus on conservation."
The centerpiece of the sustainability initiative is the Sustainability Treehouse in the Summit Center, the center of the Jamboree site that will welcome participants.
Standing at 126 feet tall, the Sustainability Treehouse features 4,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and generates energy through photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and geothermal energy.
Treehouse visitors have the opportunity to learn about nature and how they can incorporate "going green" into their lives within this living building.
The Sustainability merit badge has also been introduced at this year's Jamboree.
Scouts will learn about pollution, resource management, green chemistry and waste-reduction practices as part of the curriculum. They will be challenged to live in a sustainable manner and explore related careers.
Starting 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.
For the majority of The Summit site, the Boy Scouts are focusing their efforts on economics, environment, and people.
"The flow of money and growth are critical to business and can benefit quality of life. Continued job growth, shareholder value, and employee wages are ingredients to sustainability," according to a release.
"Natural systems support the life of all things. Bees pollinating crops, forests filtering pollutants from air, and wetlands purifying water are another form of valuable capital ... Our family and neighbors are the engine of our economy. Long-term health and welfare of people is intertwined with these other pillars of sustainability."