By Isabel Whelan
Climate Camp is a collaboration between Earth Charter Indiana, Peace Learning Center, and HEART. It is open to students living in the Indianapolis area, ages 5-17. The camp is a mix of science, art, nature connection, service-learning, and civic action.
We interviewed former Climate Camper and now counselor, Angel Akinleye, about her experience in the camp.
Angel is a sophomore at Howard University majoring in international affairs. Born and raised in Indiana, she first got involved with Earth Charter in 2017 as a way to grow her journalism skills. She started writing articles for the organization about climate-related topics and in 2019, she became a counselor for Climate Camp. Angel has always been passionate about helping others and making the world a better place. As she learned more about climate change and its impacts, her passion for the issue grew.
As a Climate Camp counselor, she helps campers navigate climate change in all of its aspects. Climate change is a large and complex issue and she enjoys being able to break it down to help her campers understand. Angel enjoys watching the passion and drive of her campers to change the Earth.
One of Angel’s favorite parts of Climate Camp is Council of All Beings. It’s an activity in which each camper transforms themselves into an animal. They use cardboard and other materials to make a costume of their chosen animal and then research to learn more about the animal and its habitat. This year, she was chosen to ask all the students about their animals and the one thing that humans should know from their animal’s perspective. Angel enjoys that it pushes the students to consider the impact of climate change not just on humans but also on the millions of animal species that are affected as well.
Angel is an active member of the Earth Charter Indiana Board. She enjoys that Earth Charter and the Board make an effort to reflect the diversity of the community they work in. She feels that her involvement has set her on the path to success. She has learned so much and been able to connect with many other student activists and organizations, and learn about her community on a deeper level.
Angel sees herself as a lifelong activist, no matter where her career takes her. “Activist is a word that a lot of people can’t see themselves in, but I think everyone can be an activist no matter what job you have or where you are in society. I hope that no matter what I’m doing, I can still champion for the causes of the Earth.”
She feels lucky to be where she is, and that anyone could be in her position if they start speaking up for the planet.
“Climate change is here. Everyone needs to do something; don’t be so scared that you feel like you can’t, because you can. There is always a community there to uplift you and if we all work together, we can make a change. What’s worth fighting for if it’s not where we live, how we live, and the well-being of the planet, other species around us, and ourselves?”