My Wolf scout and I sat down together to read stories from this book, in order to fulfill the last requirement he needed to earn his Wolf badge. (Wolf scout requirement 7e: “With an adult, find three stories that tell how people are protecting our world. Read and discuss them together.”)
If you’re looking for one-stop shopping to fulfill this requirement, this is the book for you. Twelve stories aimed at young readers bring to life a variety of issues facing human beings on this planet, and Earth-friendly ways to remedy those issues.
We read about a woman who brought solar power to remote areas of the Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona. She had been raised on the reservation herself and lived without electricity until she was in the fourth grade.
We read about a Champion Masked Wrestler from Mexico who used his fame for selfless purposes. He helped with a campaign to clean up the Tijuana River – badly polluted with sewage, pollution from factories, and garbage from local residents – which runs right through town. He got the children involved, encouraging them to spread the word to their parents and other adults to keep the river clean.
We learned about an ingenious method of purifying sewer water using nothing but plants and natural bacteria. (My son was very impressed by this!) Without using chemicals or tons of electricity, sewer water becomes clean enough to drink. (Though few people would want to. Ick.) The inventor built his “eco-machine” in the form of a water sculpture, installed at a school in Canada, so students could watch as their own water got recycled. What he did for a village in China was pretty amazing too.
What I liked about this book (aside from the age-appropriate reading level) was how each story somehow involved children. The stories were accessible to my child and interesting to both of us.
As you probably know, encouraging responsible stewardship of the environment has long been a trademark of the BSA. While environmentalism has become a political hot topic in recent decades, it doesn’t have to be about politics for our boys. Whether you’re an avid environmentalist or believe global warming is a sham, there’s value in these kind of requirements in the cub and boy scout programs. We teach our children to take good care of the planet for the same reason we teach them not to litter. It’s just the right thing to do.
Do you have teenagers interested in this theme? For current stories of individuals impacting our world (at a much higher reading level), check out TIME magazine’s special issue “Heroes of the Environment” which comes out every Fall. Find current and past issues at your local library, or check out the TIME Magazine 2009 Heroes of the Environment online.