Solar News Weekender

Editor’s note: Starting today, the Weekender will be a regular feature of The Phoenix Sun. We’ll cover, briefly, stories that didn’t make it into our usual line up during the week. And/Or we’ll add updates to stories we did cover. Who knows, we may even add a crossword puzzle someday! (Note to self: call Will Shortz about donating solar-themed puzzle.)

Clean Energy: As American as … Girl Scouts?

Yep. Girl Scouts, Clean Green PowerGirl Scouts in several Massachusetts chapters can now earn the equivalent of a merit badge for learning and teaching others about renewable energy.

The program was developed by a coalition of a state government department, a public utility and a renewable energy trade group, with an advisory panel of Girl Scout leaders.

The “Clean Green Power Program” can be adapted for use by girls K-12, and covers basic scientific knowledge (electricity and light, climate change) and environmental themes specific to the local area.

The Resource Guide is available here.

So, you might ask, what about the boys? Don’t they care about the environment, too?

I’m glad you asked. Indeed they do care.

Boy Scouts, EnergyThat’s why the Boy Scouts have their own Energy Merit Badge (on the left). To earn it, boys have to be able to explain the technology, cost, environmental impacts and safety concerns of five energy sources, chosen from this list.

  • Biomass digesters
  • Cogeneration plants
  • Fossil fuel power plants
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal power
  • Nuclear power
  • Solar power
  • Tidal, wave or ocean thermal power
  • Wind power

Not quite the same as the Girl Scouts, though. There’s no emphasis on “clean” or “green” to this merit badge. But, not to be outdone, the boys have other, explicitly greener, badges. Most important, to qualify as an Eagle Scout boys must earn an Environmental Science Merit Badge, described here.

The requirements for this Merit Badge are pretty rigorous.Environmental Science

If you can’t explain the difference between a species being on the threatened list as opposed to the endangered list; if you don’t know your point source pollution from your non-point source variety; if you don’t know which came first, the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act — sorry, you don’t get the badge.

There are documentary research and field observation components to earning the Environmental Sciences badge as well.

There are “green” merit badges all the way up to becoming an Eagles Scout. Of course, scouting, both for boys and for girls, is largely a nature-oriented activity. (Wouldn’t John Muir have made a great Den Leader?! Unfortunately, Walt Whitman, who would have made a wonderful Den Leader, would have been banned from the Boy Scouts for being a homosexual. Maybe Walt could have led a Girl Scout troop; they consider sexual preference a personal matter.)

Below are a few “green-tinged” merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts:

Nature

Nature

Reptile & Amphibian Study

Reptile & Amphibian Study

Soil & Water Conservation

Soil & Water Conservation

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Sneak Peak:

Pres. Carter’s solar water heaters find a new home at the Smithsonian

From the White House to the Nation's Attic

From the White House to the Nation's Attic

Former Unity College (Maine) Interim Sustainability Coordinator, Aaron Witham, prepares a Jimmy Carter solar panel to ship to Washington,DC.

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