By Brian Hertz, GFC Alumni and former member of our sustainability team. Brian now works closely with GFC to develop recycling plans and his work has been vital in greening camp.
“What is the use of a fine house if you don’t have a tolerable planet to put it on?” – Henry David Thoreau
If you’ve opened up a Google search today, you’ve probably noticed that today’s “Google Doodle” shows the cycle of the four seasons, including hibernating bears, swimming fish, and blooming flowers. Today, after all, is April 22nd. Earth Day.
The first official Earth Day celebration was held in 1970 and is now celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world. Some reports even list Earth Day as the most celebrated secular holiday in the world.
Just because Earth Day is celebrated during the spring doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate the earth during the summer.
For the Kibbutznikim living on the Wise Academy Eco-Village, nearly every day is spent learning about our relationship to the Earth. Through service projects and tending the GFC Garden, the Kibbutznikim learn about how each of us contributes to the maintenance of our planet. During their camping trip and horseback riding sessions, they are immersed in the natural beauty of our world, and see the importance of protecting it.
For the past two summers, our Kibbutznikim have worked with the GFC Sustainability team to plan GFC’s own Earth Night celebration.
During the evening, campers participate in activities to remind them about the importance of spending time outside, reducing waste, saving energy, and being good caretakers caretakers of our planet. In the past, we have learned about Kibbutz Lotan and other sustainable Kibbutzim in Israel and about how much water we can save just by turning the water off when we brush our teeth. We’ve also eaten yummy dirt cups full of gummy worms (my favorite!) and learned about where our trash goes after we throw it away.
It is important that we take the lessons that we’ve learned at camp and bring them back home with us. Here are a couple of things that we already do at camp that you can do at home, too.
- Plant a garden: At camp, we have a garden that grows fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, and spices such as basil and rosemary. Most of these items will grow well in your backyard, too!
- Recycle: At camp, we recycle cardboard, paper, plastic, and aluminum. Find out what’s recyclable in your neighborhood and start collecting these materials. Don’t forget to REDUCE the amount of things that you buy and to REUSE things more than once, too.
- Use a Reusable Water Bottle: At camp, we make sure to carry our water bottle around with us to drink from when we’re thirsty after our soccer game or after climbing the Alpine Tower, and we use the same bottle all summer! Reusable water bottles aren’t just for camp. You can use your reusable water bottle at school or work, on the way to Temple or baseball practice, and even at home!