Climate Camp, cleaning up the environment

Editor's note: We are launching a series of Day Camps (May 18, June 6, Aug. 15 and Sept. 5; contact Jim for more information. Our weeklong camp, July 20-24, now has a registration form.

By Rohan Gupta

You might not expect a teenager to really care about anything. That apathetic, moody image portrayed by the media doesn’t cut us much slack. But picture this, and stay with me, because it’ll seem weird at first. Picture your house. Now, 3 weeks later, you haven’t cleaned it, vacuumed, dusted, etc. You’ve been asked to leave your house, it’s deemed unsafe. Doesn’t sound fun, right? No matter you age, you don’t want to leave your place of residence ever. Especially not when it’s your fault. So why is the Earth any different?

Yeah, I do care that my place of residence is being slowly dirtied. Earth is humanity’s home, its birthplace. And the cause is pretty vain, comfort over survival. So what can a group of concerned people do to clean, or stop dirtying the Earth? Well, they can band together, for one!

There’s a place where I figured this out.

I met Mr. Jim Poyser, the leader of Earth Charter Indiana, when he came to present to our class. I hadn’t ever really given thought to the plight of our planet. I can’t bring myself to really respect just words, and opinions. I do, however, respect numbers. Mr. Poyser had plenty of those, and I really came to understand the plight of planet Earth. Before I knew it, I had e-mailed Mr. Poyser and gotten the dates for something his organization calls “Climate Camp.” It’s a place to meet like-minded people, interact, and share ideas.

Matt Shull from White Pine works with Rohan.

Matt Shull from White Pine works with Rohan.

It was a ways away from where I live, but we went to a place called the White Pine Wilderness Academy. It was a small place, at first sight. However, I walked through the doorway and saw that we were meeting in what I learned was called a “yurt”, a traditional Native American dwelling that was near the Academy. Inside the yurt was a buffalo hide, a work in progress. We did an icebreaker, a type of introduction game, and split off into groups. I went with Mr. Poyser to get more information about climate change itself. Afterwards, I went outside, and we played in the snow for a while, while the adults discussed what to do next.

After the educational activities were over, we finished up with a Lakota fire and sweat lodge being built. We learned how to split wood, and I learned how to start a fire. But it wasn’t just any old fire, using a lighter and fluid. I got to use a fire- starting bow, to put it crudely, and started a small fire just by using friction.

Check out a video about this camp.

At Climate Camp I learned a lot, and met a lot of people that I could and hopefully will collaborate with in projects in the future. There’s another one in May, and I’m definitely planning to attend. If you want to know more, Mr. Poyser is a great person to contact for information.

Climate Camp is definitely the place for people wanting to know and do more about and for the environment.

Andy Fry