It is not often that you combine summer camp with saving the planet, but that is what is happening Colorado these days. Reducing pollution is the name of the game at the moment, and any group that reduces their carbon footprint by reducing pollution, and offsetting for anything they can’t reduce, is to be applauded. Colorado Summer Day camps group Avid4 Adventure are doing just that by calculating the volume of carbon their camps emit into the atmosphere, and then finding ways of reducing it and offsetting what cannot be eliminated or reduced.
Avid4 provide summer camps for kids aged 5 and up and introduce them to activities such as kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, white water rafting, mountain biking (the right way) and horseback riding among others. Great for kids raised in towns and cities that don’t get much chance to take part in these activities.
To date the program has resulted in:
A reduction in coal consumption of 17 tons, or the weight of 42.5 mini vans
A reduction in emissions of 33 tons, or the weight of 238 male African elephants
To help achieve this they:
Purchase carbon offsets from payments made by families that drive to camp
Offer discount camp coupons to those that use public transportation to get to camp, use car pool, walk or cycle to camp. They then get their camp cheaper for being carbon friendly.
Staff members get an RTD Ecopass, bike discounts and company vans for car pooling.
Not only do the kids get a great summer camp, but their summer activities have less impact on the planet, and they also learn to be eco-friendly. These small eco-warriors and their families learn about the resources that on their own doorstep when they want to repeat their camp experience, as the vast majority do. This cuts gas consumption by introducing them to local adventures where they previously would have driven great distances. Saving on carbon emissions and on cash – gas is getting no cheaper, and will continue to rise!
Avid4 Adventure are demonstrating what can be done with a little initiative, and the benefit of their approach lies not so much in the carbon they save, which is considerable since their goal is to make their camps carbon negative, but in the education and example provided to the children enjoying the facilities. They leave each summer camp more aware of what they can do themselves to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Whether you agree with the global warming theory of carbon emission or not, this can only be a good thing. The nation’s children should be made aware of the problems the planet is facing and what can be done to relieve them, if only by a tiny amount. Lots of tiny amounts can add up to a pretty large whole.
It is important that many other camps and schools follow the example being set by Avid4, whose pioneering environmental conscience is certainly working in terms of their carbon footprint. They also provide family trips and multi-day camps that are designed around the logistical needs of parents, and introduce the outdoors to the schools rather than having to bus children to the outdoors.
They operate a Leave No Trace outdoor ethic, so the countryside is left as they found it. This also educates the kids to respect nature, and the younger element also enjoys half days of art, yoga and music and movement.
There is little doubt that this group are not only doing their share of reducing carbon emissions, but also demonstrating to our children the importance of this, and also how to respect nature and the outdoors in general. If more follow them, particularly the schools, we can be sure of leaving this planet in good hands.