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  • Writer's pictureGood Stewards Network

Climate Change and Camp Cancellations

Image description: Unhealthy air from Canadian wildfires (WKRC)

Camp has always been a serene sanctuary. The unmistakable cheers from the campsites reverberate through the valley during the sunlit afternoons, while the harmonious voices raised in praise resonate from the chapel at twilight. However, this year, an eerie hush has fallen upon many camps. Much like countless other things in the era of the toxic air, camp has been irrevocably changed. In recent years, wildfires have become more frequent and intense, blanketing vast regions with thick smoke, affecting air quality, and causing widespread disruptions. Following the wildfires in Canada, many parts of the US are having to deal with the repercussions of poor air quality, and camps are having to cancel for the summer.

For many children, attending summer camp is a rite of passage, a chance to gain independence, forge new friendships, and explore the great outdoors. The sudden cancellation of these cherished experiences has left many young hearts disheartened and disappointed. Parents, too, are grappling with the reality of altered summer plans, as the excitement of sending their children to camp is replaced with concerns for their well-being.

The disappointment goes beyond just missing out on fun activities. Camps often serve as a haven for personal growth, character development, and learning new skills. Losing this valuable opportunity can be really challenging for campers and their families.

Wildfires release fine particles of soot containing dust, heavy metals, and organic chemicals (also known as PM2.5) into the atmosphere. The consequences of breathing in soot can be quite severe and life-threatening, particularly to the more vulnerable, like those with respiratory illnesses, pregnant women and their babies, children, and the elderly. Poor air quality can dramatically increase the risk of respiratory issues and diseases like asthma, COPD, heart attacks and strokes, and severe allergies. In addition, PM2.5 exposure contributes to shorter lifespans, dementia, autism, and ADHD. Pregnant women and their babies are also at heightened risks of low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality due to this pollution. This unfortunate trend has led camp organizers to grapple with difficult decisions, putting the health and safety of campers and staff at the forefront.

Are you concerned with the amount of smoke you have breathed in from summer wildfires?

  • Yes

  • No

While we may not have control over the current circumstances, we can unite in our commitment to building a more sustainable and resilient future. Together, we can ensure that the magic of summer camps will thrive once again, offering generations to come the cherished experiences and memories that define this beloved tradition.

Let us unite as we combat air pollution for a safer world for God’s creation. Here are a few ways to do so.

  • By reducing our personal energy consumption, which not only lowers energy costs but also minimizes emissions stemming from fossil fuels.

  • By exploring alternative energy providers and considering a switch to renewable energy sources. You can reach out to solar providers to discuss the possibility of installing solar systems on your home or rental property.

Advocating for effective government policies is equally crucial. By supporting pollution safeguards and advocating for economic and societal incentives that limit emissions on a larger scale, we can contribute to positive change. One significant step in this direction is voicing your support for the U.S. EPA's newly proposed carbon pollution standards, which aim to restrict emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants. Your comments can make a difference in shaping these policies for the better.

Despite the challenges we face, we remain hopeful as we are all God's children and entrusted with the stewardship of His creation. As stated in Genesis 2:15 (NIV), we are meant to care for and cultivate God's garden. Today, let us unite in fulfilling this divine responsibility and actively defend the precious gift of God's creation. Together, we can create a sustainable and thriving world for future generations.


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