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Environment Charter Supporting Activities

What is a charter and why do organisations have them?

A charter is a document that defines the direction and boundaries for an organisation.  The Scouts Australia Environment Charter provides Scouts with a description of our responsibilities to the environment in which we live and conduct Scouting activities.

This version of the charter has been developed by the National Environment Team with input from Leaders and youth members. It replaces an earlier charter with some updated terminology but similar intent. It should be used by all Sections of Scouting to guide decisions that affect the environment.

Exploring what the charter means?

As with all Scouting activities, exploring what the charter means could involve stories, games, discussion, activities in the community or Scout events. What follows is a selection of possible activities and resources to assist Scouts in understanding the charter.

Key words

The Australian Scout Environment Charter contains several key words:

  • biodiversity
  • sustainability
  • impacts
  • learning
  • action
  • local
  • global
  • renewable and non-renewable resources
  • connecting
  • environment

Understanding their meaning may provide a starting point.

Discussion ideas

Perhaps the simplest way to develop an understanding of the charter is to translate the concepts into everyday actions or situations.

  • Consider what we are currently doing to protect and improve biodiversity or live sustainable lives. What do we need to stop doing? What action will we take next time we run an activity, go on a camp …?  The charter could be used as an environmental checklist for your next activity. How would you use the elements in the charter to plan a night at the hall?
  • Discuss how we could learn more about the environment. What activities or community groups could we work with that would help us to learn? Would these kinds of activities help us to inspire others to take action? How can we inspire others in the community, scouting and our families?
  • Consider the connections between global environmental issues and actions that can be taken at a local level.
  • Why is it important to enjoy the environment? Explore ways humans enjoy and connect to nature. Try having these discussions outside – in the environment.

Ways to run a discussion:

  • Use a ball and throw or roll it to Scouts standing in the circle. Ask them to provide an answer to the question (no one speaks unless they are holding the ball). This is good for sharing ideas with younger Scouts.
  • Have Scouts form small groups of 3 or 4 to discuss the question, then a member of the small group can report back to the larger group. This helps quieter Scouts have a say.
  • When one Scout provides an answer to a question, ask another to add something (either in agreement or disagreement). Continue asking others until at least five Scouts have contributed to each question.
  • Have Scouts work in small groups to write questions they might ask politicians, business or event managers about environmental issues/considerations in an interview style. These questions can then be answered by other groups and trigger ongoing discussion.

Games

CO2 game – this game and other suitable activities  can be found in the World Scout Environment Programme Resource Book

Rubbish sorting – have your own mini War on Waste, sort household rubbish into different types of recycling, compostables and landfill. Discuss ways to minimise (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle). Could also explore the lifecycle of the products – where do they come from? Where do they go? Are there alternatives? Relate back to the charter.

Biodiversity bingo – using a prepared sheet, that contains pictures of plants, animals and their homes (eg. hollow logs) found in the local environment, Scouts tick off which ones they can see during a walk.

Stories

Best beak in Boonaroo BayA Youtube video reading of the book is available at Opa’s Corner Storytime
The Lorax – book and film available. Find some great activities at www.lemonlimeadventures.com
Some online books available at: www.library.envirostories.com.au

Activities/visits

You might like to investigate:

  • nature walks
  • Clean Up Australia Day
  • tree planting
  • unstructured play
  • waste-free picnic
  • worm farm

Also, check out www.worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org – a website packed with free printables, lesson plans (not too school-like) and a free online course for educators about the Sustainable Development Goals