Sunday, July 27, 2014

The first-ever Climate Camp

It's two days after the close of the first-ever Climate Camp and my mind is full of images of this extraordinary week. I hope you don't mind I dump some of those images into this blog, as it will help scratch the itch of the need to begin to process what this experience meant.

I bet our campers, nearly 20 kids, aged 9-17, are going through a similar process.

Nearly everyone I talk to has a camp experience in their past. I believe the characteristics are similar, whatever the specific content of the camp: the awkward beginning where no one knows each other, the immersive experience of the camp, and the bonding that inevitably occurs. 

Climate Camp co-coordinators Mat Davis, Kristina Hulvershorn (with the Peace Learning Center) and myself were committed to not overbook the schedule. I hope we accomplished that!

For the record, Climate Camp was July 21-25. It was a day camp, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except we went later for our Friday showcase -- more on that, below. It was a partnership between the PLC and our Earth Charter Indiana youth program, Youth Power Indiana.

We ate vegan all week long, thanks to Indy Urban Acres, Georgetown Market and Second Helpings — whose availability to our camp was through the American Culinary Foundation, Indianapolis chapter. Our campers learned the connections between personal consumption, pollution — mostly fossil fuel pollution — climate change, and solutions for positive growth.

Enough words, in this case pictures DO tell a better story than I can express in prose.

We began our camp with a hike thru the beautiful Eagle Creek woods, where Peace Learning Center is located.

One of our first activities was to connect personal consumption with the concept that our consumer impact on the earth can be perceived as an act of violence. We did a "roots of violence" interactive lesson.
Mat Davis, right, addresses the campers.

Matt Shull, left, visited from White Pine Wilderness Academy, talking with campers about nature, animals, primitive skills and wilderness connection.

The paparazzi descend upon deer scat.
One constant theme of the camp was that nature wastes nothing. Nature in fact turns waste — poop! — into energy, and nothing is lost in the cycle. To that end, we studied the materials economy:

The materials economy works on a lineal path that creates waste and habitat destruction. Aiding in this area of study was a showing of Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff."

With the help of Big Car, we developed a t-shirt, modeled here by Maddie.

Campers each got their own t-shirt. As you can see the back of the shirt lists projections by the majority of climate scientists, regarding a near future of 2035. Along with a few solutions, too!
How do you visualize a pound of CO2? Why, with balloons of course! Here, Lucy, Alden and camp counselor Alexis Litz from Hanover College, work on the balloons.

On Wednesday, campers took to their bikes for a tour of The Nature Conservancy in downtown Indianapolis.

Next stop was Second Helpings. Second Helpings chefs prepared our lunches — and our Friday dinner — with a vegan approach. Our lunch at Second Helpings was amazing.

On the Cultural Trail to the Indiana State Museum, home of the annual Eco Science Fair and Going Green Fest. Some of our campers utilized the new Pacers Bikeshare system. 
Group portrait atop the Eskenazi Health Skyfarm, where food is grown for patients and staff.

This Skyfarm blew all our minds, that a hospital would put a farm on its roof!

Another stop that day was to visit the Indiana Statehouse. Jesse Kharbanda, left, from the Hoosier Environmental Council, talks with campers about climate change and policy.
Tyler Gough, of Indy Urban Acres, talks to the campers about the food he grew that contributed to our vegan meals over the course of the week. Indy Urban Acres grows thousands of pounds of food for Gleaners Food Bank, to help feed those whose who are food insecure.

Tyler talks about heirloom tomatoes, his favorite!

Tyler in the hoop house, where he can grow food year round.

This gives you an idea of what we ate during Climate Camp.
Chef Thom England, Culinary Instructor at Ivy Tech, shows us around the Culinary Arts building. There, chefs learn all sorts of sustainability actions.

Lunch at DUOs Cafeteria continued our effort to feed campers locally sourced vegan food.

The balloons are taking shape! 28 balloons = one pound of CO2.

Jonathan and Noah served as emcees for our Climate Showcase at the end of our camp. We had poetry and song and theater and visual art.

The campers created a play that day, fossil fuel vs. renewable energy. Happy to report that renewables ultimately won the battle!

Aspen, one of our older campers (17; not pictured here), created a compelling performance art piece, combining a music video about human negative impact on the planet, with projections from our t-shirts.
This performance art piece was particularly effective at both sending the warning signal regarding the destructive path we're on as well as pointing toward a way forward that helps heal our relationship to this only planet we have.

I was in tears watching these kids stand and stare at us in the audience with these placards of horror. They are asking us for our leadership in this quest to reduce human impact and enact a new, lighter, more conscious way of being, so that the future they face is not so harrowing.

To say Climate Camp created hope to all assembled is a profound understatement. The next generation of leaders stand before us, ready to make a livable world for all.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing week the kids had! Ansel said that Climate Camp changed his life! I know that this program is making a positive impact on our community!

    ReplyDelete