May 28, 2007
The recent Environment Justice Camp held at the University of Victoria, May 13-19, was a refreshing alternative to this negative attitude, offering positive environmental solutions…
As global warming gains its place in the media spotlight, it is all too easy to think climate change has already gone too far, and that it will be impossible to fix the apocalypse we have created for ourselves. The recent Environment Justice Camp held at the University of Victoria, May 13-19, was a refreshing alternative to this negative attitude, offering positive environmental solutions that can be implemented with a focus on spirituality.
The intergenerational camp brought together Anglicans from across the country, from a 17 year old of rural Newfoundlander, to Indigenous elders from Vancouver Island and even a couple from Australia. Despite regional differences, campers shared one purpose: to make positive changes on the environmental front.
Co-directors Peggy Wilmot and Ken Gray worked hard to give the week a distinctly “camp” feeling, differentiating it from other conferences that often focus on fact-based presentations. Stemming from this was an experience that examined environmental issues from a very holistic perspective, including a spiritual one.
Participants were divided into immersion groups, each focusing on a different aspect of environmental stewardship, such as transportation or coastal waters, and traveled across the island engaging in a variety experiential learning opportunities, from understanding what it takes to built a cob house, to acting as shore-keepers doing species analysis.
Daily spiritual reflections focusing on the principles of environmental justice augmented the more practical aspects of the camp, as did plenary activities including attending a production of “Well”, a play examining relief efforts from a spiritual context.
Bringing together over seventy vibrant participants provided an atmosphere where creative ideas were free flowing, and consequently developed a national network of Anglicans who can both share their experience with their home parishes, and work together on future projects. It was a refreshing experience to hear the conversations over a pint at the local pub, not about last night’s hockey game, but about light rail transit in Victoria or water table degradation. It’s at moments like this that one realizes if we work together, the process of “mending creation” isn’t impossible after all.
This is the third year the justice camp has run, and each year attendance continues to grow. The camp was generously supported by a grant from PWRDF, and also was attended by several PWRDF youth council members. Please visit www.justicecamp.org for additional information.
*Eric Traficante is currently an intern with justgeneration.ca, the PWRDF youth initiative