The planet is our home
Once upon a time there was a group of young adults with different backgrounds, cultures and languages. Far, far away from home they went to a place with cold showers, no meat, many ticks, no electricity, eating leftovers, cold nights and the most important thing; no Wi-Fi. Why would a group of young adults struggle to survive for eight days in a row by their own choice in this situation? Maybe because life is about taking chances, growing and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Twenty-five individuals of different organizations from the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Latvia, Romania and Macedonia went on a international exchange. The place where the camp is, is called Welna and it is surrounded by nature. But we are not here just to relax and hang out, we are here to get more knowledge, inspiration and experience from each other about nature and sustainability. Even though we are from different countries we all felt like home here in the Netherlands. We are walking on the same earth and we have the same responsibility to take care of our beautiful planet.
Every country prepared one workshop each with different topics; society, re/up cycling, food, minimalism, how to start a movement, etc. We started with the food workshop, were we got to know that 30-50% the produced food that is supposed to be on our plate is thrown away. That is an awful number since when we know that every 3.6 seconds someone dies because of hunger (most of the time it is a child under 5 years old). There are small things that we all can do to reduce this number like bringing your shopping list, dumpsterdiving, taking smaller portions, only buy what you need, ask for doggybags in a restaurant, do not be blind by the expiring date and instead go by smelling, looking and tasting.
We spend some time reflecting about recycling and upcycling. Recycling could be done by for example by going to second hand shops, reusing bottles and bring your own bag to the grocery store. Another idea is upcycling; turning old things into new things for another purpose in a creative way. There are millions of ideas to find on Pinterest, Google and Instagram by searching on #DIY (Do It Yourself).
We’ve had a workshop about food what we can find in nature. We learned about plants, grasses and berries you can eat. Main rule: You can eat everything from nature, but some things you can only eat once. We were surprised by what was possible and we made a whole big tasteful lunch by using ingredients that we found in nature: soup, pesto, salad, humus, herb butter and blueberry pie.
We learned the theory about how to start a movement. A movement is not only about having a leader, there is so much more to have in mind. We had a task to make recipes with ingredients for starting a movement. For example we had one recipe that contained; a goal, communication, followers, inspiration, passion, trust, teamwork, courage, involving people, spreading the message, knowledge and using facts. Then we had all the tools to start a movement. The next step was to put the movement-theory into practice. Our challenge was to start a movement in the town Nunspeet about sustainability. Our goal was to involve the people in Nunspeet and challenge them to think about their relation with sustainability and nature. We started with an empty tree made out of recycled carton, which was filled at the end of the day with many ideas how to make simple changes in your everyday-life to make it more environmentally friendly. We were throwing trash at some plants to see how people passing by would react by being a witness of a crime, etc. Nunspeet is a small town, where there is not many foreigners visiting, so in the beginning it was hard to get people involved, but once we got our first followers, more people were interested in getting involved. We had just started a movement! See this movie for more inspiration about starting a movement!
Besides the workshops we visited a ecological farm and helped out with feeding the animals, cutting wood and cleaning the stables. We shared the camping place together with another international camp who were building treehouses. Two days we went to the treehousecamp and helped them out building the treehouses. We climbed the trees, we learned the knots and we had a good teamwork together. For many of us a childhood dream has been fulfilled this week: building a giant treehouse!
After this week we know that you need to first change yourself in order to change the world so everyone will go home with inspiration and new goals to change our everyday-life. We have built bridges between countries, we have learned how to live out every moment and that it is our responsibility to take care of the planet.
Live today not like it is your last day, but like it is the earths last day.
Written by Madelene (Sweden) and Gerlinda (the Netherlands)