Heard it from a Scout: How we can take a LEAP for the environment
No matter who we are, where we live or what we do, we interact with the environment daily. For children, nature is often a playground. For some adults, it can be a place of silent refuge. Regardless of one’s relationship with the outdoors, we should all Learn, Enjoy, Act and Protect nature. I like to think of it as taking a LEAP for the environment.
As a Scouts Canada youth member, I have learned about humanity’s dependence on a clean environment in order to live well. We need clean air to breathe, water to drink and soil to grow nourishing food. Our existence relies on our natural environment.
While they are important practices, learning about the effects of pollution on the environment or participating in the occasional park cleanup are no longer enough to reverse our negative impacts on the environment. For instance, if we continue using plastics at the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050, according to a recent World Economic Forum report.
Taking nature education beyond the classroom can lead to a better appreciation of the many complex and diverse ecosystems around us. Visit a conservation area, enjoy a guided hike or participate in a tree planting initiative. As we say in Scouts: learn by doing.
Nature should be enjoyed. Sadly, smartphones and the internet have made it harder to enjoy nature each day. I challenge everyone to step away from their screens and reconnect with nature. Why not take a hike through the woods, swim in a lake, canoe on a bay or ski across a snowy field? In my opinion, nature is where we can have the most fun.
Einstein once said: “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.” In fact, research shows that relaxing and immersing yourself in nature helps you accomplish tasks and improve mental health.
Act and protect
Immersing yourself in nature can lead to action. To really make a difference and reverse the effects of pollution, we must change how we think and act. Consider this: What do we really need to live comfortably every day? What can we do without to protect the environment?
It is easy to give back to nature while enjoying it. On your next hike or nature walk, why not bring a garbage bag to collect litter along the trail, switch to reusable containers for snacks and carpool to the trailhead? If we all make small but meaningful changes in our everyday lives, we can work toward larger change. By changing some of the little things we do to live comfortably, we can protect the environment every day without too much effort.
I like to think of nature as a dish: It is great to use, but you have to clean it afterward to enjoy using it again. Eating off of a dirty plate can be a health risk, just as living in a polluted environment can be harmful to us and wildlife. Without sustainable, protective and preventative actions, we won’t be able to enjoy nature in the future.
As a Scout, I like taking on a greater role in caring for and protecting the environment. Scout groups across Canada lead large-scale projects like planting trees through Scouts Canada’s Scoutrees program, and organizing shoreline and trail cleanups.
We can all improve our “environmentality” and be more environmentally responsible to ensure a safe world that future generations can enjoy. We are all connected through the natural world, and every little bit helps to protect its beauty.
If we all take the LEAP, we can make a difference without even realizing it, enjoying ourselves along the way. Let’s LEAP into nature!
"Heard it from a Scout" is written by members of Scouts Canada’s Youth Spokesperson program. This post was authored by Kaelem Moniz.