BSP at the Forefront of Saving Our Ecology

Manila Bulletin, April 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

BSP at the Forefront of Saving Our Ecology


SOUTHEAST Asian refugees who passed through the Philippines often narrated stories about their experiences of living in a country devastated by war and strife.

One such story told by a refugee from Vietnam is about the experience of water scarcity in reeducation camp. One shower would be shared among many persons. The inmates would line up in a circle, and as the circle turned around, each person had three turns under the faucet. At the first turn, each person had ten seconds to wet himself, before the next person pushed him to move on. At the second turn of the circle, he had ten seconds to soap himself under the water. At his last turn, he had a final ten seconds to wash off the soap. And while one person stood showering, someone would be sitting and scrubbing his clothes with the run-off from the bathing person!

This story illustrates the point that humans can actually live and survive using only a small amount of resources. Unfortunately, we often only learn to conserve when there are hardly any more resources left to use. When we are affluent and have resources in abundance at our disposal, we think that the planet was made for us to consume with abandon.

The famous author Dominique LaPierre relates that after spending two years in the slums of Calcutta gathering material for his book City of Joy, he became strongly aware about the consumption and wastage in Western-style living, and as a consequence of this experience he changed his lifestyle. One example he mentions in the book is using a bar of soap until it becomes too small to hold. Previously he would discard a cake of soap after using it just a few times.

No one likes to hear bad news. But as Scouts living by the motto "Laging Handa," we are required to be aware of the ecological, the social, the political, the economic environment. The physical ecology of the planet is being destroyed at a rapid rate. This is reality. The world that we have borrowed from our children we are now recklessly squandering. This will have immediate and dire effects against the survival of the human species.

In the Philippines, the human activity of waste production and disposal now constitutes a massive social and environmental hazard, and contributes in large extent to the problems of deteriorating sanitation, ecological degradation, and tourist demoralization, especially in the National Capital Region and its immediate environs.

The Scouting program, by tradition and also by its very nature as a program of outdoor-based education, is dedicated to the preservation of the physical environment. It is also dedicated to the ideal of patriotism. The Boy Scouts of the Philippines, as the national implementing organization of the Scouting program, enlists in its membership a huge portion of the nation's youth, and holds the intention of recruiting the nation's entire youth population. The BSP must, therefore, be a major force in the effort of ecology awareness, ecology training, and conservation.

The organization of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines shall resolve to henceforward actively pursue and promote the principles and practices of environment-friendliness in general, and specifically the principle enunciated in the phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Replace, Resell" and to encourage its leaders and members and the general public to do the same. …

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