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Brandon's Story

On the Green River the sun is completely and wholly unavoidable. You feel it’s potency from sunrise to sunset. Being in this heat for five days straight makes you extremely aware of it. At the Glen Canyon Dam we saw the power of the Colorado River being harnessed and it made us think, what other energy sources could be used so that in the distant future it’s possible that we won’t even need that dam? Being in Arizona, the obvious answer is solar power.

Three other earth campers inspired us by telling their stories about how they implemented programs to support the installation of solar panels at their school. Our small group was really excited about doing this, but then we realized how hard that project would be. We’ve decided to begin by building support for an environmental group, working in small steps for environmental sustainability to reach an ultimate goal.

Our focus is to have solar panels installed at our school, but we understand this is going to be a long term goal and by starting a club that has smaller and more achievable goals, we will be able to make this goal more attainable. We need to educate students about the recycling program at our school, raise awareness of water consumption and paper usage, support the use of native vegetation, use compact fluorescent bulbs, and eventually install solar panels. Because of these small and hopefully more successful projects, we will be able to gain the respect and support of the community. We hope that in the future, Catalina Foothills High School will be self-sustaining in its energy use and its eco-footprint. 


As the final day of Earth Camp draws to a close, a thousand thoughts swirl through my head as we have passed our tests of leadership, ingenuity and respect. We have worked together in the name of teamwork to overcome those obstacles that we have so vigorously climbed. We’ve gazed through time and space; through the arches of Arches National Park, like portals drawing those that view it into a world of wonder and amazement. We experienced the ferocity of Desolation Canyon and laughed in the face of danger. The wonder of the Grand Canyon drew us together and inspired us, all in different ways. As we journeyed through Native American lands in Canyon de Chelly, we all discovered a new part of ourselves hidden or unseen for so long that we had forgotten it even existed. As the end of our journey approached, we explored one of Arizona’s most potent ecological disasters; Glen Canyon Dam and the reservoir it formed, Lake Powell and we questioned the decisions made that led to the construction of the dam. This combination of education of the land and what threatens it is what has enlightened so many of us. This pinnacle of sensible education, this tool to be used that must shape our future or we are to be forever doomed. Earth Camp. Today, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is our ability to educate the next generation. Without this, we have no future. But every night, as we all gazed up into the cosmos, we wondered. We wondered whether or not we were alone. The curiosity and amazement that ensued only made us feel smaller. But the same curiosity has also led us to the conclusion that we are small, but large enough to leave a mark on this earth. Our oasis in the cosmos, and it must be rescued.

Our journey had brought us together as we have traveled over a thousand miles in a matter of days, seeing all there is to see as we experience the environment we are to inherit. We have emerged from the storm victorious, with new knowledge of how we must make our way through life and come to the aid of others in need. Now it is up to us. We are the hope. We are the future. We are the world.


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