Before we heard about climate change, global warming, and the Green Party, the Boy Scouts of America were not only holding the fort down in their activities in being responsible for keeping the Earth clean, but have been an activist force in making sure politically that it stays clean.
In the year 2000 we were faced with a real serious situation where a local college where I live was going to sell off the land where there was a nice lake and land near town and turn it into a bunch of condos. More of what Truman called “concrete America”. The city was in on the deal and was just about to give the green light to developers when a bunch of us put together a broad based coalition of grassroots conservatives, Green Party people, moderates, the not-in-my-backyard crowd, and many others. We all got together and realized that if we did not make waves at the Monday night city council meeting then we will have lost something precious. So we plotted.
Monday night came and we packed the place. Everyone stood up one by one at the microphone and for hours and hours gave reasons why the city should buy it and make it a park. Despite the big and small influence aimed at the council I felt that we were not really getting any traction. Sure, arguments were made, but the bottom line was the bottom line. I was starting to really get discouraged. A friend of mine leaned over to me and said, “They are a little late”. I said, “Who?” She said, “You will see. And when they get here the council will have no choice but to put it up for a vote in November and then the people will decide”. She was beaming ear to ear like she had a secret weapon that would head this horrific sale off at the pass.
All of a sudden like shining liberators they walked in in single file dressed in their uniforms so sharp that they creased and sliced air. Yes, you guessed it: it was the Boy Scouts of America with their Troop leaders ready to testify one by one how much that lake area and good old God’s green earth meant to them for their activities. They got up one by one, including their scout masters in total sincerity, looking straight into the eyes of the council saying, “Please don’t take this area away from us”. You could literally see the city council deflate in defeat as the press took pictures of the scouts, knowing that if they ignored this plea, when election time came around these city councilmen and women would loose their job having to face the respectable middle class voter.
Well, the council said, “We will leave it to the people to decide and vote for it in November”. And do you know what? The people decided to keep the area. Now it is a park. And what a grand park of enjoyment it has been for the last 12 years. There is swimming in the lake, picnic tables, trails for walkers and joggers, you name it. There are many, many accounts of the Boy Scouts doing this all of over America. As far as I am concerned they earn those badges and the greening of America never looked better.
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