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  • Writer's pictureShawntelle Augustine

Week 4: Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. What?

Hello Peace Camp Friends and Families,

To all my newcomers reading the Peace Camp Insider, I welcome you to this unique experience. Let's check-in. How are you feeling this week? What would you make if you could create anything with only recycled items? How would you build it? These are questions I asked myself this week as we moved into our theme yesterday. Our theme is Recycling and Repurposing. Some might be thinking, isn't recycling the same as repurposing? I thought when we recycle in the recycling bin; it gets reused. I am sad to tell you that this is not always the case. Most recycling you throw into your recycling bin doesn't get reused or repurposed. It is thrown into the landfill and takes decades to decay. As I was planning this lesson, it reminded me of a village in Japan that has over 20+ types of recycling and almost zero waste. If you have a camper that came to Peace Camp this summer, they know exactly which city I'm talking about. If not, I'll tell you. Kamikatsu is a small village in Japan that was forced to manage its waste intake in 2000 due to climate change. This did not happen overnight. The village as a whole had to be open to change. Initially, the people in Kamikatsu had to ask questions and take considerable risks to be zero waste. Because the village had knowledge and empathy for their people, they changed the environment. Now, the world has taken notice. I am proud to announce that California is the first state to ban plastic produce bags in the U.S., effective January 2023. This is a small step in the right direction. At Peace Camp, we decided to take recycling a step further.

We decided to use recyclables and repurpose them into an art project. As we become recycling experts, the main thing we explored is our peace word this week. The Peace Word of the Day is Asking Questions. Asking questions and listening to me go hand and hand. You need to hear or observe to ask questions. When you ask a question, it draws someone to listen and answer. My class dug deep into asking questions by playing "I Spy." I'm not going to lie; I had to ask many questions to guess what each person was looking at. I also appreciate my class asking me questions about the lesson. "Can we color today?" "What art activity are we doing today." "Can you help me spell..." are questions I get every week. I felt seen the more the campers asked me questions, even the questions I couldn't answer. What we do at SOLA matters not because we are tackling social issues in our community but because the campers who live in the community want to know more about how they can change it in the present moment. Please take a look at the fun we had.

There are many ways to repurpose and reuse items in your own home. You can use plastic grocery store bags as trash bags, water bottles as bird feeders, and old newspapers to create a pinata. To close, I will say one thing. You can not change something if you are not aware of it. You must be mindful of your body before you can be healed. To change how we inhabit Earth, we must be mindful of what's happening globally. The question I ask this week is, what are you doing to be environmentally conscious? We are one step closer to fulfilling a peaceful world.

Peace and Blessings,

Shawntelle A.

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