24 Scouts joined us on the morning of 2 September 2017 as they attended the first 2D1N Explorers’ Camp under the World Scout Environment Programme (“WSEP”)!
The World Scout Environment Programme seeks to create an awareness of personal responsibility for the environment. The badge is carried out in two stages: Explore and Reflect and Take Action.
The Explorers’ Camp explores the five aims of the program through a variety of experiential or participatory activities that enable the participants to connect with the subject, learn about it and think about how we interact with it.
The five aims of the WSEP:
|People and natural systems have clean water and clean air.|
|Sufficient natural habitat exists to support native species.|
|The risk of harmful substances to people and the environment are minimised.|
|The most suitable environmental practices are used.|
|People are prepared to respond to environmental hazards and natural disasters.|
“You can’t do everything, but you can do a lot.”
Prior to the camp, participants were asked to come prepared with reusable/non-disposable food and beverage containers as part of our bid to reduce usage of disposables. In addition, waste produced from the camp was also recorded as to keep track of our overall carbon footprint. While that definitely posed slightly inconvenience, we hoped to convey that changes can sometimes be inconvenient, but always imperative.
The Scouts were split into three patrols which were named the Sunda Pangolins, Hawksbill Turtles and Buffy Fish Owls respectively.
Do you know why were these animals selected as patrol names? These three animals are a few of the endangered species in Singapore!
People are prepared to respond to environmental hazards and natural disasters.
Quiz Time: How many minutes does it take for a fire/rescue team to reach an incident site? (Answer Below)
The camp kickstarted with a visit to the Central Fire Station where participants were brought on a guided tour of the station. This is where they learned the importance of community preparedness. For instance, while a fire rescue team is usually quick to a burning scene, the damage and potential loss of lives can be minimised further if civilians take active roles, e.g. learning the P-A-S-S (Press, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) technique for fire extinguisher use.
Answer: It takes 8 minutes for a fire rescue team to arrive at an incident location and 11 minutes for an ambulance.
People and natural systems have clean water and clean air.
The camp later continued with a trip to Fort Canning Park. Besides rich in heritage, Fort Canning Park also offers interesting flora and fauna that one can indulge in, right in the heart of Singapore.
While Singapore is usually the last country that we think of when it comes to scarcity, water security is a real and pressing issue regionally and globally. Participants were also prompted to think about how recreation activities can affect the quality of water. For example, what is the impact of litter in relation to water?
Sufficient natural habitat exists to support native species.
We took the opportunity to introduce the Leave No Trace Seven Principles to the participants. While minimum impact travel and outdoor recreation practices must be flexible and tempered by judgment and experience, the general rule is to consider the variables of each area in terms of culture, wildlife, vegetation, soil, climate, and use that it receives. For these participants who are experienced campers, what should they take note of when going for their next campfire? That is a question that we implore the participants to think about.
The most suitable environmental practices are used.
Beyond the usual 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), participants were introduced to a new concept: the 5Rs (Refuse, Repair, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
Instilling critical thinking is one of our goals. A mini-debate was held where participants were given the following topics. The topics were crafted such that they aimed to challenge common assumptions and potential blind spots.
“Plastic is good.” versus “Plastic is bad.”
“Singapore is doing a good job recycling.” versus “Singapore can do a better job recycling.”
“Paper cups are more detrimental to the environment.” versus “Styrofoam cups are more detrimental to the environment.”
Examples of topics that were discussed
The risk of harmful substances to people and the environment are minimised.
We ended the evening with three insightful films where we explored how human action could detrimentally impact biodiversity and eventually, human lives.
One of the short documentaries (above) explored a real story where Hawaii, home to some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth, is slowly being poisoned by five of the largest corporations in the world. Communities in Hawai’i are concerned about the long-term impacts of these chemicals on their health and the health of the land, water, and ocean.
We started Day 2 on a high note with a visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. By then, participants were given mini tasks and discussion sessions that amplified what they learned from Day 1. We closed the Explorers’ Camp with 24 participants full of zest, ready to become the change-makers of tomorrow.
“Knowledge is potential; action is power.”
– Tony Robbins