5 Ways Girls Scouts Are Fighting to Protect the Planet
It’s part of a century-long tradition.
Being an environmental advocate has been a core part of Girl Scouts culture ever since founder Juliette Gordon Low began writing Girl Guides in the early 20th century.
In recent years, however, this call to action has taken on greater urgency as the threats facing the planet intensify.
Whether it’s climate change, deforestation, plastic pollution, or ocean acidification, Girl Scout troops across the country are fighting for political action and coming up with environmental solutions.
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In Central Texas, a Girl Scouts troop came up with an innovative way to sell their iconic cookies while raising awareness about the oceans.
To buy a box at a special event, people placed an order and then girls dove to the bottom of a scuba tank to retrieve the cookies.
Throughout the process, customers were informed about plastic pollution, coral reefs, and more.
“People take the ocean for granted, [but] it is the main provider of our air and ecosystems,” a Girl Scout from the troop named Alex, age 12, told Global Citizen over email.
“The ocean life is also disappearing fast,” she added. “Many things in everyday life rely on the ocean.”
People are also spurred to change their habits to become more environmentally friendly.
“People have learned about how many objects in their houses end up in the ocean,” Alex wrote. “Others have learned the importance of finding alternatives to wasteful items.”
That focus on plastic waste lines up with the theme of this year’s Earth Day — to stop plastic pollution.
Other troops around the country are confronting this issue head-on as well.
One group in Virginia, for example, created an interactive display to showcase the problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. One section features a rendering of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating gyre of plastic waste that’s bigger than Texas.
Other troops are focused on other issues affecting the environment in both their communities and beyond.
A troop of 2nd and 3rd graders in Miami learned that DDT — a toxic chemical — was contaminating local water supplies. After campaigning for multiple years, they managed to secure $1.7 million in funding for a clean-up program.
Rajvi, a Gold Award Girl Scout, followed the news of how the years-long drought in California was affecting farmers and developed a device that measures soil moisture, which enables better water conservation.
"An impact doesn't have to come from a huge crowd-- it starts with one person."- Rajvi Ranka, #GSGoldAward Girl Scout and #NYWOD17#MondayMotivation— Girl Scouts (@girlscouts) December 4, 2017
Learn how to create positive impact at any age with these resources: https://t.co/0FGpBJH3cd#GIRLagendapic.twitter.com/YNA5IIMArl
The troop in Central Texas is also taking part in efforts to restore local ecosystems by identifying and removing invasive species.
More broadly, the Girl Scouts organization is teaming up with outdoor apparel and equipment brand North Face to add 12 new environmental badges — including mountaineering, backpacking, and trail running — for members to earn to foster deeper connections with nature.
Ultimately, these efforts are about showing how environmental decline can be reversed if enough people take action.
“We are educating on [these] issue[s] in multiple ways,” Alex from Central Texas said.
“We also raise awareness through our social media,” she added. “Scuba can be used to raise awareness in the dive community or anyone else interested.”
Global Citizen partners with the Girl Scouts to empower youth activists. You can take action on this issue here.