URJ Crane Lake Camp Acts on Climate
This week, the Chaverim and Olim campers (ages 13-15) of URJ Crane Lake Camp have been learning about the issue of climate change and exploring their personal impact on the environment. As is tradition at Crane Lake, each week of the summer focuses on a particular Jewish value, middot. This week, the value is bal tashchit, “do not destroy,” which has commonly been understood as, “do not waste,” in the context of our stewardship of the planet and our use of natural resources.
Starting this summer, in Crane Lake’s brand new dining hall, campers and staff have been composting all of their food scraps and learning about the importance of compost as a way of diverting food waste from landfills. As a special project this week, we have been weighing the leftover food from the meal every day at lunch to draw attention to how much food we throw out and to illustrate the difference we’re making by composting.
In Kesher, the Jewish learning session for Chaverim and Olim at Crane Lake, participating campers have spent this time understanding their responsibility to combat climate change on a personal, communal and national level. Earlier this week, these campers calculated their carbon footprints based on both their behavior at home and at camp. Adding up their use of energy, their consumption and waste habits and their living behavior, they discovered that in general, the way they live at camp is inherently less carbon intensive than their lives at home. As a result, they drafted a pledge committing to incorporate more of their habits at camp into their home lives. To sign their pledges, they each added a green paint footprint.
Yesterday, the Kesher students learned about how they can advocate for strong environmental policies and regulations. After an explanation of the Clean Power Plan, a rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants, the campers drafted letters to be sent to Administrator McCarthy at the EPA.