Tag Archives: Girl Scout badge

Senior Sky Badge: Step Four of Five

The sky is a masterpiece. Every day it graces us with living art, whether through a glorious sunset, shifting cloud formations, or the stunning display of night stars. No wonder we take every opportunity to spend time outdoors. Girl Scout Seniors can earn their Sky badge at home with the help of GSCO’s Outreach Program.

Air quality is an important factor to our health and the health of the earth’s plants, animals, and overall environment. When you’ve completed this part of earning the Senior Sky badge, you will be an active participant in helping to improve the earths air quality.

In the United States, cities like New York City and Los Angeles’ poor air quality is known to be a health threat to the people who live there. This is primarily due to the high levels of vehicle traffic, which burns fossil fuels resulting in a high quantity of emissions that contribute directly to air pollution.

Since the COVID-10 pandemic has tragically but temporarily halted people driving en masse in these cities, something WONDERFUL has happened. The air in those cities (and around the world) is A LOT cleaner. Los Angeles’ air is 20-30% cleaner, and LA citizens enjoyed the most “good” air quality days the city has seen since 1995. According to NASA, as of April 9 2020, New York and the northeastern region has also seen a reduction of 30% in air pollution.

These improvements are the direct result of the reduction in vehicle emissions. Fewer cars on the road means less air pollution. But ,it isn’t only vehicle emissions that cause poor air quality. Electricity generation also significantly add to air pollution.

So, what can YOU do to help this trend of improved air quality continue when things get moving once again? There are many small steps each of us can take that add up to have a larger impact in the improvement of air quality.

Step One: Drive or ride in single vehicles less to reduce emissions.

As you learned above, vehicle emissions cause air pollution. Choose at least three of the options suggested below to help reduce the toxic emissions generated by vehicles.

Drive smarter and drive less.

  • Organize a carpool for going to and from acitivities. Reach out to your friends and family to arrange for some of you to carpool at least three days/week. You may also want to offer a ride to friends who are all going to the same place. One adult can drop off and another can take everyone home. Explore Park and Ride options for your other family members and encourage them to carpool also.
  • Walk or bike for short trips! Pledge to walk or bike for trips that are a distance of one-mile or less whenever it is safe to do so. Encourage your family and friends to join you.
  • Be a good neighbor: when you do make a quick run for bread or milk or even when doing your regular shopping, ask your neighbors if you can pick anything up for them. This will reduce the amount of people making trips and help reduce emissions.
  • Use public transportation when possible. Taking the bus, shuttle, or other public transport greatly reduces pollutants. In many major cities, there are thousands of people who choose not to own cars because the public transportation options are so convenient and efficient. Explore what safe public transportation might be available to you and discuss this option with a parent or guardian.
  • Get in and GO! Encourage the adults in your house to only let a vehicle warm up for two or three mins before driving. Vehicles that sit idling for extended periods contribute to air pollution.
  • Drive or ride in an electric or hybrid vehicle. You may not be old enough to drive yet, but when you are you can choose an electric, hybrid, and/or a fuel-efficient vehicle. You can certainly suggest and encourage the adults in your life to choose these types of vehicles when it’s time for a replacement. If an electric or hybrid is out of the question, at least encourage the drivers in your home to maintain their vehicles. Properly maintained vehicles generate less CO2 which will reduce pollution and greenhouse gases.

Step Two: Shop smart! Put your shopping dollars to work to help the planet and your community.

Every online order requires air and/or ground transportation.Getting the items you order from the online retailer to your door means that the item must travel in at least one, but likely multiple vehicles. We all love the convenience and selection of online shopping. However, this does contribute to air pollution. Consider making at least two of these swaps instead.

  • Shop local. Oftentimes our local boutiques and shops have wonderful selections that are of high quality. When shopping for clothes, gifts, and accessories, consider shopping from an individual retailer over shopping online. This benefits the planet AND your community by providing a source of income to the local store owner and employees. If you don’t find what you’re looking for right away, ASK, these shop owners often have a list of suppliers who may have just the right item for you.
  • Eat local. Choose produce, meat, and dairy products that are sourced as close to home, but at least within a few hundred miles of your home will have the greatest impact! The less distance goods (foods, toiletries, etc.) travel, the result is less air pollution and greenhouse gases that contribute to sky pollution. Farmer’s markets in the summer, and food co-ops that provide farm to fork selections are great options. If these aren’t possible for you, at least read labels when at the supermarket and choose the item that was grown or manufactured closest to you.
  • Eat vegetarian at least one night/week. Meatless Mondays are a healthy and delicious way to reduce greenhouse gases while exploring new recipes.

Step Three: Conserve electricity.

Electricity is often generated by power plants that burn fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).  These type of power plants contribute to sky pollution. Make some of these adjustments to your daily routine to help conserve energy and reduce emissions from power plants.

  • Turn off devices and appliances that you are not using. If you are not in the room, turn off TV’s, lights, and computers you aren’t using.
  • Unplug power cords when you’re gone during the day. One idea is to keep a power strip with multiple items plugged in, then simply unplug the power strip when these items are not in use.
  • Take shorter showers. Warm showers use electricity or gas to heat water in the hot water heater. Shorter showers will use less energy, and you’ll also help the planet by saving water. Try keeping your shower to five minutes or less most days. That’s about as long as it takes for two songs to play.
  • Explore and choose solar. Choose retailers and suppliers of goods that have solar and other green systems in place. There are many solar products on the market, including solar lamps and solar power sources, for charging cell phones or powering other small household appliances.

Bonus

Research and compile information about schools, businesses, and homes buying into solar power and solar rebates from local utility companies. Create a presentation, then ask to meet with facility managers at your school, job, or afterschool club to see if solar might be right for them as their primary source of power.

Badge Bonus: Plant trees.

Get a school club or neighborhood group together to perform this wonderful community service project. Volunteer with your local parks department or arbor day chapter and spend a day planting trees. Trees not only beautify our surroundings; they reduce greenhouse gases by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen during the process of photosynthesis.

Consider checking out these sites for scientific information about air pollution

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Senior Behind the Ballot Badge Step Three of Five

In a few years, you will be 18-years-old and able to vote. It is also a presidential election year, and a year in which Colorado chooses a new U.S. Senator, and all the seats we hold in the House of Representatives are on the ballot as well. In American history, women and 18-year-olds have not always had the right to vote (or run as a candidate for office), but now they do, and you will. It will not only be your right to vote, but a wonderful way to honor the women who fought for our right to vote in every election. Voting is also the best (and easiest) way to tell the government where you stand on the issues and whom you think is best able to make decisions that will affect you and your sister Girl Scouts. In the Senior Behind the Ballot Badge, we will explore the way people get elected to office, and the importance of voting both here at home and around the world.

Step One: Find out more about elections

Step Two: Investigate the Ins and Outs of Voting

Step Three: Get Out the Vote

The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the legal voting age from 21 to 18. Yet, in the 2016 election, less that 50% of voters under 30 cast a ballot. While this is the only age group to have election turnout increase since the 2012 election, it is still the age group with the lowest turn-out by far. Choose one or more activities to help increase the voter turnout of young Americans.

Research and create a poster. Explain the voter registration process you learned in Step Two, including the motor voter registration, which makes it easier for any American with a state issued driver’s license or identification card to register to vote. Include the other ways there are to vote, including a link to online voter registration.

OR

Make a Voting Calendar. It can be paper, electronic, in app form, or to be integrated into social media. Please include local, state, and federal elections for your county. You might also include nonpartisan websites and references where any voter can get truthful and unbiased information about candidates and issues.

OR

Educate! Get a sample ballot from a recent election, and use it as a tool to show young voters in Colorado how easy it is to fill out and return a ballot, who won in the last election, and how their vote is important. Include data on the winners, and how many people voted for each candidate or issue.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

 

Senior Behind the Ballot Badge Step Two of Five

In a few years, you will be 18-years-old and able to vote. It is also a presidential election year, and a year in which Colorado chooses a new U.S. Senator, and all the seats we hold in the House of Representatives are on the ballot as well. In American history, women and 18-year-olds have not always had the right to vote (or run as a candidate for office), but now they do, and you will. It will not only be your right to vote, but a wonderful way to honor the women who fought for our right to vote in every election. Voting is also the best (and easiest) way to tell the government where you stand on the issues and whom you think is best able to make decisions that will affect you and your sister Girl Scouts. In the Senior Behind the Ballot Badge, we will explore the way people get elected to office, and the importance of voting both here at home and around the world.

Step One: Find out more about elections

Step Two: Investigate the Ins and Outs of Voting

Learn the very easy, but important steps that are required to vote in Colorado by completing one or more of the activities below.

Research voter access. Research the history of Colorado’s law that mails every registered voter a ballot. How do you register to vote? Has this led to more voter turn-? Where can voters drop off ballots if they don’t want to pay for a stamp. How is voter fraud avoided? How can voters correct a mistake they made or replace a damaged ballot? Design a pamphlet or video with instructions on how to vote at home, and how to turn in your ballot, along with FAQs for how to fix common problems.

OR

Research voting technologies. Each county elects a Clerk and Recorder, whose job it is to run elections, and select the method by which the voters cast their ballots. Look at three different counties or states to see how voting technology choices differ from region to region. Are there still those that use the manual punch cards, or machines with manual buttons and a handle to pull once the full ballot has been voted? What role do computers play in helping voters cast their ballots, and helping the Clerk and Recorder’s Office count the ballots? What common accommodations are made for those who need assistance, such as people who are blind, can’t read, don’t speak English? How is fraud avoided? What are the challenges that people face with the technology that currently exists? What are the pros and cons to internet or smart phone voting? Share your findings with your troop, on the GSCO Blog, or on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo.

OR

Research Voter Registration. Research the requirements for being an eligible voter in Colorado? How old to you have to be? What does it mean to be a resident? What sorts of things cause you to lose your eligibility? What are the ways you can register to vote? Is the motor-voter registration access enough? Why or why not? What are the barriers to registration? What are the pros and cons to automatic registration once a person turns 18? Do you support automatic voter registration? Come up with a PSA to support your position and share it on the GSCO Blog, or on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

 

Girl Scouts at Home: Senior Collage Artist Badge Part Three of Five

Earn the Senior Collage Artist badge at home with the help of GSCO’s Outreach Program team! This badge is an opportunity make art as unique as you are, so get ready to see the creative possibility in everyday objects.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Girl Scouts at Home: Senior Collage Artist Badge Part Two of Five

Earn the Senior Collage Artist badge at home with the help of GSCO’s Outreach Program team! This badge is an opportunity make art as unique as you are, so get ready to see the creative possibility in everyday objects.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.