Climate Change Summer Camp!


“The National Park Service (NPS) is spending $140,368 to fly 10 students to Sydney, Australia so they can experience a ‘climate change journey.‘…The grant [which supports this odyssey] also includes funding to employ a graphic recorder, a person to draw the group’s ideas on paper, to ‘help facilitate the youth participation at the Congress.'” Much of what follows is, unfortunately, not made up.

Jayden: Gee, Professor Denning, that’s cool!

Denning: Yes. You see, Hayden—

Jayden: —I’m Jayden. He’s Hayden.

Aiden: No, I’m Aiden. He’s Hayden.

Jayden: Oh, yeah. Sorry.

Denning: Yes. Well, you see boys—and you girls, too! I meant young ladies! No, wait. I mean…wait. Children. No, sorry. We can’t be judgmental. Young adults. You see, young adults, Graphic Recording isn’t just playing with crayons.

Jayden: It isn’t?

Denning: No, no. But many lesser people think it is. You see, climate change is so important that we owe a service to all humanity to record our Climate Change Journey. Future generations will be in our debt.

Jayden: But it feels like coloring.

Denning: To the laymen. Only to those who don’t know better, like us. To us, who are climatologically aware, it is full of deep meaning. Let me quote to you from the source: “Graphic recording (also referred to as reflective graphics, graphic listening, etc.) involves capturing people’s ideas and expressions—in words, images and color—as they are being spoken in the moment…it helps to illuminate how we as people connect, contribute, learn and make meaning together.

Colorful pens on the tables and a plentiful supply of blank paper provide the opportunity for participants to write down the key words, phrases, images and symbols that reflect ideas emerging in their conversations.

By viewing the drawings and musings at various tables, participants begin to see patterns emerging; the collective wisdom of the group starts to become more visible and accessible.

When a recorder works in large format, a record of the proceedings is visible for all to see. Enabling people to see their contribution to the whole increases participation and fosters trust and connection and the large displays of themes and insights naturally weave together diverse perspectives into a composite “picture” that reflects the collective intelligence in the room.”

Jayden, Aiden, Hayden: Gosh! Gee! Golly!

Denning: Our collective wisdom—for we are wise!—our wisdom, I say, will be preserved for the ages! Just wait until the press sees our drawings!

Aiden, Hayden: Cool.

Jayden: I don’t get it, professor. I don’t even know what a climate is. My mom says it’s something bad. That’s why she sent me on this journey. I’m supposed to learn about how bad it is.

Denning: It is bad, Payden. As bad as it can get! It’s worse than we thought! This camp, this identified journey, may be our last chance!

Jayden: But what’s bad, professor?

Denning: Why, the climate! It’s positively awful! It’s cataclysmic! It’s Thermageddon!

Jayden: Gosh! Now I’m scared. But…we will be able to go swimming later? My mom made me bring my bathing suit.

Denning: Swimming? Why, of course. It’s a beautiful day. However, we can’t go until we’ve all filled out our “Letters to A Denier.” Don’t forget to be harsh: it’s for their own good. I may even let you get away with using—[giggles]—bad words.

Aiden: I’m calling them stupid faces!

Hayden: Yeah—Stoopy-poopy faces!

Denning: And don’t forget this afternoon we have our Hope session.

Jayden: I hope we get to go swimming.

Denning: Naughty boy! By “Hope”, I’m referring to our Circles of Climate Awareness. This is where we kick off our shoes, gather into a circle, and where I, your leader, lead us in positive-thinking Climate Chants and other meditative exercises. We really dialogue.

Jayden: What’s a dialogue?

Denning: That’s where we tell deniers why they’re wrong, really force them to understand their mistakes. That’s the first part. But it takes two sides to dialogue. The second part is where we let deniers admit their mistakes. The ones that do so publicly are rewarded.

Jayden: Gosh.

Denning: It’s really rather beautiful. After the Hope session—and, yes, we can do swimming after that: the Park Service has arranged a crab and lobster cookout for us on the beach [kids cheer]—anyway, after Hope comes our finale, the Perceptions of Awareness.

This is our final gathering, where we come together in a spirit of nonjudgmentalism and dialogue about how much other people—people not like us—don’t know. It’s our last chance to discuss how we feel, really feel, about climate change. It’s what Science is all about!


  1. Gary

    Good opening scene, but this screenplay needs some conflict. How about Camp NonConsensus across the lake? What nefarious pranks are they plotting to spring on our happy campers? Solar crayon melters? A barrage of contrarian comments on the Circle of Climate Awareness blog? Lord Monkton leading a canoe fleet across the lake at midnight?

  2. Sheri

    I’m positive my “graphic recording” would cause nightmares for Mr. Denning.

    As implied, the only thing learned at this gathering is how to bully people into saying what you want them to say—or be sent home in shame—and why we really need to cut all federal support to this cause. No one would pay Denning and the like for a week long propaganda camp if they had to pay the $14,000 per student out of their own pocket. No one but Hollywood celebraties and their kids are already so damaged and such victims of group think, it’s a waste of money. There’s nothing to “convert” and no one to shame into going along. Takes all the fun out of it.

    The only encouraging thing is there is research that shows the “learning” from the camp quickly fades and the kids go back to riding in SUV’s, using A/C and listening mindlessly to their IPods and posting on social media.

  3. john b

    It’s much worse than we thought –
    These are college age “students” that we are talking about!!!

  4. Sheri

    Gary—Love your idea! Maybe we could pull something together for less than $14,000 per student!

  5. Tom Scharf


  6. Ray

    Where can I sign up? I want to visit Australia at somebody else’s expense. I’ll even claim to believe in AGW.

  7. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

    Is this perchance the very same National Park Service which paid overtime during the so-called government shutdown last year to errect baracades to prevent access to the World War II Memorial? And did said National Park Service personnel (again being paid overtime for working during the “shutdown”) not threaten a visiting group of WW II veterans with arrest should they be so bold as to pass the baracades and visit the site?

    Surely not; some evil denier type must be making that up.

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