Effective January 1st, 2014, the Cooking and Sustainability Merit Badges will become Eagle Required. This has been changed to “reflect a better balance of the needs of youth and our nation today and in the future.” Eagle Scouts will still need to earn a total of 21 Merit Badges, with 13 Eagle Required and 8 elective (currently 12 required and 9 elective).
Read more about this change on the Scouting Magazine Blog and read more below about the mechanics of this upcoming change.
Cooking and Sustainability Merit Badges
Transition to Eagle-Required List
Cooking Merit Badge to be Required for Eagle Scout Rank
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Cooking merit badge will be required in order to obtain the Eagle Scout rank. Regardless of when a Scout earned the Life rank or began working on Eagle, unless he fulfills all the requirements—with the exception of his board of review—before Jan. 1, 2014, he must earn the Cooking merit badge to become an Eagle Scout.
Cooking Merit Badge Targeted for Revision
During 2013 the Cooking merit badge will undergo a major revision. The process for implementing changes to merit badges is covered in the Guide to Advancement, topic 18.104.22.168, “What to Do When Requirements Change.” The changes to Cooking will first appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released during 2013. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2014, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765. The Guide then allows the following options for the period of time between the release of the revised pamphlet and the Jan. 1, 2014, effective date:
- If Scouts have already started on the merit badge, they may switch to the new requirements or continue with the old ones until the badge is completed.
- If Scouts have not already started on the merit badge, they may opt to use the new requirements and the new pamphlet.
- If work on the merit badge begins before Jan. 1, 2014, they may use the old requirements and old pamphlet until the badge is completed.
The Guide to Advancement, under the same topic, goes on to say, “There is no time limit between starting and completing a badge, although a counselor may determine so much time has passed since any effort took place that the new requirements must be used.” This will apply to Cooking as well.
Regardless of the Requirements Used, Cooking Will Count
Scouts completing the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank after Jan. 1, 2014, must earn the Cooking merit badge under either the existing requirements or under the requirements as revised during 2013. Scouts are not required to earn the badge under the new requirement in order to qualify for Eagle.
Sustainability Merit Badge Becomes Eagle-Required Option With Environmental Science
Upon its release during the summer of 2013, Sustainability becomes available as an option with Environmental Science as an Eagle-required merit badge. At that time Scouts may choose to earn Sustainability in place of the currently required Environmental Science. Scouts who have already earned Environmental Science may also earn Sustainability, but only one of the two merit badges would count as “Eagle-required.” The other, however, may count as one of the others necessary to reach the total of 21 required merit badges.
About Sustainability Merit Badge
The Sustainability merit badge, in essence, takes conservation and environmental science to another level. The protection, preservation, and management of wildlife and natural resources involved in conservation provide a foundation for what we call environmental science. The latter integrates physical and biological sciences such as ecology, biology, soil science, atmospheric science, and others in order to generate solutions to environmental issues. Sustainability takes off from there by taking responsibility for balancing long-term environmental, social, health, and economic needs with progress and development. It further suggests that development, while meeting the needs of the present, cannot compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
In summary the Environmental Science merit badge studies the following:
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Land pollution
- Endangered species
- Pollution prevention, resource recovery, and conservation
- Ecosystem—living and nonliving
- Environmental impact
The requirements for Sustainability have not yet been finalized, but initial discussions include the
- What is sustainability?
- Examining our current needs and our choices in meeting them, with attention to extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal
- Impact on our natural resources
- Problems we must address, including plastic, electronic, and medical waste; species extinction, and climate change
- New habits to adopt, including green chemistry, recycling, zero waste, and sustainability-conscious citizens
- Careers related to sustainability