When the Patriots Path Council called to invite Back2Tap to their Jamboree celebrating 100 years of Boy Scouts, I didn’t really know what to expect. Preparing for the “jambo,” I began to wonder whether any boys would visit a table presenting the evils of bottled water when they could be spear throwing, mountain boarding, bullwhip cracking, or watching an army tank run over a car.

In spite of having about 175 cool activities to choose from, a couple hundred of the 4300 scouts and leaders did find time to spend at the Back2Tap table this past Saturday. Every single boy and leader listened intently, asked questions, and seemed genuinely excited about our campaign for getting back to drinking tap water and using reusable bottles. This was definitely the best crowd I’ve ever worked with as an exhibitor. I also learned a lot – from the challenges of having private well water to the best type of carabiner.

Interestingly, even these outdoorsy community-minded folks who had reusable bottles clipped to their belts weren’t familiar with the astounding facts about bottled water waste. Many of them told us that if people knew about the:

• 140 million disposable bottles going to landfills everyday,
• 700 years it takes for plastic to decompose,
• 4 ounces of oil it takes to make each disposable bottle,
• 1000 times greater cost of bottled water, and
• more stringent regulatory oversight of tap water compared to bottled water,

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they would be persuaded to drink tap water from reusable bottles instead of bottled water. Most people just don’t know about the hidden costs of their consumer choices. To illustrate these impacts, we had a sequencing activity where scouts put the 18 steps in the Life Cycle of a Disposable Plastic Water Bottle in order (see photo). Impacts on the environment were obvious at many steps in the Life Cycle. Before leaving, they were also able to take our Bottled Water IQ Test to see how much they had learned.

Obviously, there is a lot more work to do getting these facts and concepts out to people. Most of the scouts and scout leaders left our exhibit table eager to spread the Back2Tap message with the rest of their troop and with their communities. This is exactly the type of help the Back2Tap movement needs because it is not a message that large multi-national corporations with large advertising budgets is going to sponsor. It will take community leaders like scouts, teachers, PTO members, municipal volunteers, and green activists spreading the word, community by community. To find out how to help foster the Back2Tap movement, visit our community page.

Congratulations to the Patriots Path Council and the participating scout troops for organizing such an exciting and inspiring event. It was an honor to meet and talk with so many of you – thank you for sharing your opinions and suggestions with Back2Tap.