We have just wrapped up two weeks of Climate Camp here in Indianapolis, or as co-organizer Kristina Hulvershorn says "the most tiring and wonderful two weeks of the year."
It may have been extra special for me, as a ECI staff person and a parent because my kid was *finally* old enough to attend! She had such a great time, despite her getting underfoot a lot. By the end, she was hugging councilors, new friends, and Jim like they were her best friends in the whole world. Climate Camp is magic.
Week 1, we welcomed lots of new kids, and returning campers had a chance to act as councilors. These campers enjoyed field trips and games that have come to characterize Climate Camp, all while learning some of the sustainability basics and also some pretty sophisticated ideas about zero waste, urban gardening, energy efficient buildings, bees, and climate science. They visited the Nature Conservancy for a tour and pollinator count, they ate Three Carrots, rode IndyGo, and groups toured Indy Urban Acres, Piazza Produce, Public Greens Microfarm, or Paramount School's gardens.There was a "council of all beings" where campers faced the future as animal beings they selected. They hosted a Showcase of artwork, dioramas, presentations, and music/dance for parents on Friday.
Week 2, the "All Stars" returning campers and experienced climate advocate students from Oaklandon Elementary went into more depth on climate science with Dr Gabe Filippelli (IUPUI), public policy with Matt Skuya-Boss (Beyond Coal), conflict resolution with Peace Learning Center's Restorative Justice conference, bees with Kate Franzman (Bee Public), organizing principles with Lauren Kastner (ECI Board Member), being in the movement with Stanley Njuguna (ReInvestIU), conservation with Erin Baird Wade (IWF), and Indianapolis' plans for the future with Katie Robinson (DPW, Sustain Indy). They reviewed their past testimony, IPL's testimony, and Lawrence campers practiced for their hearing in September.
They even launched a new band, who wrote an original song about climate change. You can watch some highlights on this short video!
We were busy, we were hot, we cleaned up trash along the White River and counted pollinators with KIB and Indiana Wildlife Federation. We ate vegan food, solved problems together and looked things up. We came up with new projects we will share soon.
We clapped for "Little Warriors" at the Indy Film Fest and Director Sam Miro and the camp councilors who are now movie stars.
We were reminded over and over of the "wisdom of youth."
In the words of All-Star Climate Camp Councilor Madilyn Brooks, "Long live the kids, no matter how old we get."