Watch, chat and tweet along with the BSA’s Sustainability Summit

sustainabilitySustainability has been a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s DNA since the Conservation merit badge was introduced in 1911.

In the century-plus since, the BSA, which relies on green spaces for its life-changing experiences, has been a leader in keeping those green spaces around for future generations.

That’s why this week in West Virginia, Scouts, Venturers, volunteers and professionals are meeting with corporate leaders and environmental experts to discuss all things sustainability. The candid, nothing’s-off-limits conversation will reveal best practices, discuss sustainability challenges facing the BSA and explore potential solutions.

But I haven’t told you the best part.

This isn’t some closed-door meeting. Sessions will be streamed live online at That means you can participate by watching, chatting and tweeting during the event.

How to be a part of the conversation


You can watch the Sustainability Summit at this link.

I’ve included the full schedule and six must-see moments below.


You can chat along while you watch the Sustainability Summit at this link.

Sustainability Summit organizers will be monitoring the chat conversation and fielding questions from those watching remotely.


If you’re joining the conversation on Twitter, you’ll want to include the hashtag #SustainableBSA with your tweets.

That will ensure your comments are seen by participants at the event and those watching along at home.

Sustainability Summit organizers will watch for your questions and comments on Twitter, as well, and respond live whenever appropriate.

Watch later

Not free to watch the livestream, um, live? Want to rewatch certain parts with your Scouts, perhaps while teaching Sustainability merit badge? There’s good news. Everything will be available for replay viewing.

When to watch

As you can see in the full livestream schedule at the end of this post, the three-day event is packed full of incredible sessions. Each and every session is worth your time.

But I wanted to point out some of the must-see moments I’ll be tuning in for. They include the release of the BSA’s first-ever Sustainability Report, talks with Eagle Scouts who visited Antarctica and the Ecuadorian Amazon, and a conversation about the ways in which faith and sustainability can coexist.

6 Must-See Moments in the Sustainability Summit Livestream

You won’t want to miss any session, but these six stood out to me. With each one, remember to watch, chat and tweet.

All times are Eastern.

  1. Release of the BSA’s first-ever Sustainability Report (8:15 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28)
  2. Hornaday Awards Luncheon, with guest speaker Robert Birkby, who wrote the BSA Fieldbook (12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28)
  3. Talks by NESA World Explorers: Eagle Scout Alex Houston, Antarctic explorer; and Eagle Scout Laurence Gumina, Amazon explorer (8:15 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29)
  4. A conversation about how faith and sustainability can align, hosted by Rabbi Peter Hyman (11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29)
  5. “Lunch with a Lunatic Farmer,” with guest speaker Joel Salatin (12 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29)
  6. Sustainability Awards, where camps, companies and individuals get honored for their work in sustainability (7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29)

Full Schedule of the Sustainability Summit Livestream

All times are Eastern.

Monday, October 27

8 – 9 p.m. Opening remarks: John F. Stewart, BSA Sustainability Director Keynote presentation: John Picard, CEO, John Picard and Associates

Tuesday, October 28

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. Welcome: John F. Stewart, BSA Sustainability Director, Opening remarks: Wayne Brock, BSA Chief Scout Executive

8:45 – 10:15 a.m. Leadership for Sustainability and Change 1: Cynthia Scott, Ph.D., MPH

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. Sustainable Leadership Focus: Tom Easterday, EVP, Subaru

11:15 – 11:45 a.m. Leadership and Vision Interview with Tom Easterday and Hayes Barnard

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Sustainable Leadership Focus: Hayes Barnard, CRO, SolarCity

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Hornaday Awards Luncheon

Flag ceremony, Pledge of Allegiance, and invocation

Featured speaker: Robert Birkby, outdoorsman and author

2 – 2:50 p.m. Sustainability and Youth Culture, Kathleen Gasperini, SVP, Label Networks

3 – 4:30 p.m. Leadership for Sustainability and Change 2: Cynthia Scott, Ph.D., MPH

Wednesday, October 29

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. NESA World Explorer Alex Houston and Sir Robert Swan

8:45 – 9 a.m. NESA World Explorer Laurence Gumina

9 – 9:30 a.m. Youth Leadership Panel Discussion

9:30 – 10 a.m. Sustainability Leadership in Scouting Roundtable, Hosted by Zach Carson, BSA Sustainability Consultant

10:15 – 11 a.m. Keynote presentation: Creation Care—Serving God and Saving the Planet, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, speaker and author

11 – 11:50 a.m. Caring for the Environment and Growing in Faith Roundtable, Hosted by Rabbi Peter E. Hyman, National Jewish Committee on Scouting

12 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch with a Lunatic Farmer, Featured speaker: Joel Salatin, farmer and author

2 – 2:20 p.m. Leadership and Legacy, Featured speaker: John Lanier, Director, Ray C. Anderson Foundation

2:20 – 2:45 p.m. Sustainable Leadership Focus

3 – 4 p.m. Best Practices in BSA Properties, Brian Glass, BSA Architect; Dave Cornell, BSA Architect; and Zach Carson, BSA Sustainability Consultant

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. BSA Sustainability Long-Range Planning, Scott Harmon, BSA Sustainability Consultant

7:45 – 8:30 p.m. BSA Sustainability Awards


  1. I would hope that we do not get too wrapped up in the “sustainability” craze.

    No one denies the goal of “Leave No Trace” is a good, but in the long range, unachievable goal. Man, by his nature, leaves a trace [I mean “man” in the non-gender-specific sense, of course] – he gathers food or harvests animals, he builds shelter, he builds a fire to stay warm (either gathered wood, mined coal, power plants, drills for gas, etc.).

    We all are for conservation. If we can recycle what we can, it is good. If we don’t waste natural resources, that is good. However the unintended consequences of some of these actions cause waste in other areas.

    We are, for instance, told to thoroughly wash out soft drink cans and bottles before recycling them. In the interest of recycling glass, aluminum, and plastic, we waste a tremendous amount of water.

    We add ethanol to gasoline, saving gas (supposedly), although it requires more energy than it saves to formulate the ethanol, and we raise the price of corn, a staple of foodstuffs in many third world countries…and the ethanol will ruin the carburetors of some small engines (edgers, for example).

    We require compact fluorescents, yet have all sort of haz-mat procedures for cleaning up the miniscule amounts of mercury released when they break (procedures which are never followed).

    I am just saying that some of these things can be carried too far by fanatics. Look at what damage has been done to economies in the name of Anthropogenic Global Warming, a concept which 32,000+ scientists have rejected – even the founder of the Weather Channel indicates it is hogwash. Some people have made a great deal of money out of this hoax.

    The object is to minimize the deleterious impact on the environment. While none of us wants “Disneyland Death Valley” or a fast food mall on the top of Half Dome, many of the “sustainable” crowd are anti-human, pro-gaia freaks who would severely limit access to the backcountry for all but a few (them and their “environmentally-conscious” friends).
    As Woody Guthrie’s song states,
    ”This land is your land, this land is my land,
    From California to the New York Island,
    From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters,
    This land was made for you and me.”

    This land IS our land – take care of it, but don’t limit the access to it for the elite. and don’t lets something like the UN’s IPCC make policy for us.

    While we want to keep the country, especially the wild areas as pristine as possible, understand that common sense must be used in the application of these principles, and that we should be ever aware of the unintended consequences of our actions.

    • Can, if you choose thumbs down, do me the courtesy of explaining why the thumbs down? It could be a learning moment for me, or it might actually start a deeper dialogue on this subject.

      The point that I’m trying to make is that the “sustainability” buzzword is often a way of imposing your view on someone else and shutting them down, because no one wants to be seen as against “sustainable” actions. But actions one person views as “sustainable” may actually have unsustainable consequences.

      • Carey, I hope you take the time to join in the conversation on the Livestream. Sustainability is all about Scouting and is just about being a good Scout.

    • Everything in nature (Trees, Deer, Grass, etc.) leaves a trace. The point of leave no trace isn’t to literally “leave no Trace” but rather to leave as little a trace as possible.

      I disagree that the “sustainable” crowd are “anti-human” they just not “turn the world into concrete” people.

      The ‘Elite” outdoorsman, generally, aren’t the ones that want the wilderness for themselves. But the ones that would rather get people out to the backcountry and have them fall in love with it like they have.

      • I understand that scouts should be for Conservation – The Outdoor Code:

        As an American, I will do my best to:
        Be clean in my outdoor manners.
        Be careful with fire.
        Be considerate in the outdoors.
        Be conservation minded.

        emphasizes such.

        Mike in his comment said as much, and much more eloquently

        And Alex, I was alive when Joni Mitchell recorded the song “Big Yellow Taxi” which had the memorable line

        “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot”

        – I’m not for paving the world, although congrats on a credible try for trying to set up a straw man.

        In that song, there was reference to “They took all the trees, and put ’em in a tree museum / And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em”. This refers to Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu, which is a living museum of tropical plants, some of which are rare and endangered. [See ] Seems like the “”put[ing] ’em in a tree museum” was a conservation effort, but was put down as ant-conservation!

        Sustainability is simply a new buzzword, as though conservation just occurred to someone, and they wanted a sexier word.

        I remember when I was in the computer department at an oil company. and someone came up with the idea that we should have a “Quality” program. Of course, up to that point, we had been emphasizing quality, but without the capital letter, because that was the way to work – it was easier and simpler to do it right the first time. But someone had gone to a seminar, wanted to go to a government sponsored dinner (this was when the Baldridge award was in the news a lot), and so came back with the idea that we had to implement a QUALITY PROGRAM, when, in fact, to paraphrase Barbara Mandrell, “We were quality when quality wasn’t cool!”.

        The Scouts were “Sustainable when Sustainable wasn’t cool”. We have always been there. Let’s not buy in to the latest fads. Someone might consider that the caramel popcorn or the chocolate popcorn isn’t “healthy enough”, and soon we’ll have to start selling broccoli, cauliflower, and arugula [note to National – that is sarcasm, not a suggestion ;-}>]

        Carrying it further, what if someone decides hiking “injures the wilderness” and we can only hike through virtual reality goggles and a stairmaster (powered by wind or solar, of course!)? [note to National – rhetorical question]

  2. Carey, you are spot on. We use to call it conservation. Be conservative in the use of the land, treat it well and it will treat you well. When I was a Scout you not only had to do service hours but you also had to do conservation service hours at camp. I spent many hours working on trails and erosion prevention along stream beds at Scout camp. Somewhere along the line that requirement went away.

    Carey’s point on sustainability is to think about the second and third order of consequences that a particular action will bring. For example when I was a Cub Scout McDonalds put their Big Macs in cardboard containers. Then the Green crowd complained that we were wasting trees so around the same time BSA went to the watercolor handbook of the 70s McD’s started using Styrofoam containers to hold their Big Macs. Oh but wait. The sustainability crowd then realized that the Styrofoam wasn’t as biogradable as they thought. And what do we use today??? That’s right, cardboard again. Some will argue the technology changed so we could go back to paper. I would argue that the free market place would have found the most economical way of making the product which includes recycled material. But the push to “save trees” was the cause celeb of the time. Today we think conversation is buying a fluorescent bulb. So much so that we have “Greenies” make a law, yet the LED bulb was coming on to the market making the fluorescent bulb obsolete.

    The “sustainability” crowd will have you believe that solar energy is the way to go because it is sustainable. Yet the technology has proven elusive. It doesn’t generate nearly the amount of electricity needed to power the grid. So what is the second and third order effect? Half a billion dollars lost to a company like Solyndra, and areas where the sun reflection is so high that birds flying overhead are vaporized and pilots are blinded
    ( We won’t even discuss how many birds are getting chewed up in windmills now.

    Land conservation is certainly a part of being a Scout. Just as being a good steward of our environment. But we should be very careful of buying into the propaganda of the latest green movement re-named “sustainability” and we should always ask about the second and third order of effects a particular action will take.

Join the conversation