Originally written by Jembo, a 22-year-old Scout from Cairo, Egypt
I live in Cairo, Egypt’s sprawling capital set on the river Nile. My neighbourhood is known for its narrow streets, crowded bazaars and mosques dating back centuries. As the sun beats down on the bustling streets below, I see heavy traffic with cars, buses, motorbikes and donkey carts all fighting for space, I hear car horns and market traders yelling and selling their latest wares, and the smell of car fumes is overbearing.
You wouldn’t think it but nature is all around me. It provides all the things me and my family need to live, from the air we breathe to the water we drink. Once I read on Facebook that if trees gave us WiFi we would stop chopping them down, but they only give us oxygen. Nature is so important to us in our daily lives; trees keep us alive, the soil gives us vegetables, fruits and proteins, rivers give us freshwater and oceans give us fish. Nature is the oxygen we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Isn’t that enough evidence to prove the importance of nature?
Nature is also beautiful and amazing. Sometimes when I’m tired of the busy city, I take my tent and cycle out. I camp in front of the sea or in the desert, where I can hear the sounds of nature instead of cars horns, where I can smell the fresh air, where I can see the colours of the sea and the warm sand, where I can find and replenish my soul.
Being a Scout has helped me understand why nature matters. Millions of people who live in cities might feel disconnected and unaware how nature impacts their lives. Now I’m more aware of the environment I’m doing my best to be eco-friendly. I cycle everyday (not for the fainthearted in Cairo!), I’ve stopped using single-use plastic, I turn off the light when I don’t need it, I’ve stopped printing unnecessary documents to save paper and I’ve stopped using the clothes dryer and dry my clothes in the sun (it’s clean energy and free!).
A couple of months ago with my Scout group, we put on our life jackets, jumped into boats and took part in a Nile river clean up. We collected more than 5 tons of plastic and rubbish! My friends and I created a campaign to make people aware about how bad and dangerous it is to throw plastic in the river. A few weeks after, we did another clean up but on a bigger scale this time, with more volunteers and boats. We even had a helping hand from the Minister of Youth!
One of my dreams is to visit Switzerland and see snow for the first time before it’s too late! Another of my dreams is for people to realize why nature matters to each and everyone of us, and for everyone to act so that we don’t destroy our planet anymore.
About the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM):
Scouting is the world’s leading educational youth movement, engaging millions of young people to be active citizens and create positive change in their communities. The World Scout Movement is made up of more than 50 million Scouts connected together through a global membership of 170 National Scout Organizations. For more information visit www.scout.org or follow the Scouts on Twitter @worldscouting