“The Girl Scouts’ activities are occurring against a backdrop of growing climate change activism among young people both in the U.S. and abroad. Increasingly, teenagers and children — mindful it will be their generation left to cope with the most severe consequences of climate change — are taking to the streets and the halls of Congress to protest adults’ inaction.“
Margaret Goodman, a retired foreign affairs expert who is now in her 70s, has never forgotten the positive impact the Girl Scouts had on her life.
“I loved it because I love the outdoors,” she said. “We hiked, and camped and canoed whenever we could. We were a bunch of kids who never got tired of playing outside, and I still haven’t.”
Goodman said she developed her love and respect for nature largely as a result of her scouting experiences, and she believes that the values girls learn from scouting — especially caring about the fate of the planet — stay with them forever. Thus, it came as no surprise that scouts have begun to turn their attention to climate change, the most urgent crisis of our time, encouraging young girls to learn about to learn about the issue and take steps cut pollution.
“The Scouts change regularly to reflect the times,” Goodman said. “After all, they were about girls being independent and adventurous back in 1912.”
The Girl Scouts’ activities are occurring against a backdrop of growing climate change activism among young people both in the U.S. and abroad. Increasingly, teenagers and children — mindful it will be their generation left to cope with the most severe consequences of climate change — are taking to the streets and the halls of Congress to protest adults’ inaction.
On Capitol Hill, more than 100 young activists with the Sunrise Movement recently swarmed into the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), calling upon him to support a Green New Deal and account for the money he receives from the fossil fuel industry. Democrats have been targeted too : Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) was confronted by a group of young climate activists in her San Francisco office, and later criticized for talking down to them after a video of her refusing to support the Green New Deal went viral.
Overseas, thousands of students in Europe and Australia have been walking out of classes to protest climate inaction during the past few months, calling upon their governments to declare a state of emergency on climate. Swedish teen Greta Thunberg’s earlier solo protest outside the Swedish Parliament inspired the mass walkouts.
Although the Girl Scouts’ climate activities are largely educational, the organization has long encouraged girls to tackle issues that are important to them. Many scouting programs are designed to teach girls leadership skills and expose them to fields where women are underrepresented. The well-known cookie drive, for example, is meant to teach girls about business. Scouts are now learning about the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, which include earth sciences and the environment, and by extension climate change.
“Girl Scouts also enables girls to address issues that they themselves are passionate about, so many Girl Scouts have taken action to address environmental topics through their projects,” said Jennifer Allebach, vice president of girl experience at Girls Scouts of the U.S.A. (GSUSA).