Forging New Partnership wit the Economic Community

Salem, Oregon USA 2005
July 2-9, 2005 CEI USA Chapter Oregon
Conference chair Dan Hoynacki

High school students and teachers met in Salem, Oregon, at Willamette University for the 19th annual conference. CEI and Oregon State University Extension Service were the two major partners to organize this meeting. The main goal was to provide teachers and students with ways to make decisions about environmentally responsible business practices in their own countries. Students were also provided an opportunity to develop needed leadership skills as they relate to Agenda 21.
At the opening meeting, Janet Taylor, Mayor of Salem said, "Education, Economy, and Environment are the three E's of a successful city and sustainability." Mayor Janet Figley of Woodburn told delegates, "We are all neighbors. What we do has an impact on our neighbors and on the planet." The first activity was a series of outdoor trust and cooperation building games that helped get everyone to know each other faster. They worked well as measured by the amount of laughter and smiles coming from all delegates and facilitators.
Many excellent school projects were presented by delegates that showed what types of things other countries are doing environmentally: Chile showed how 60 schools are recycling. Poland showed ways to use energy wisely. Japan reported on paper making/ recycling. Australian students "Saved Kennedy Bay." Hong Kong told of Sustaining Tourism. Qatar involved students in wildlife care. Scottish students planted a wetland. Barbados youth turned barren space green. Oregon students restored wetlands. Portuguese, Turkish, and Danish schools reported on water conservation. Colombia talked of threats to national parks. These are just some of the great things students are doing to get involved with communities and business.
Tours included trips to the northwest shoreline where Caretakers would do a beach clean-up. Other trips included old growth forest; winery, Kettle potato chip factory, urban watershed, an aquarium and estuary. Proudly wearing their "YES05" T-shirts, Caretakers walked down a trail to get behind a nearly 200 foot waterfall to have a group picture taken.
Students from Hong Kong, Turkey, Japan, and Chile performed traditional dances. At a local pizzeria, everyone joined in singing karaoke and did a line dance. In a more formal setting, Caretakers listened to Chinese songs, Portuguese poetry, Swedish music, and watched a Danish skit about the Princess and the Pea. At the final dinner student groups presented the declarations of rights and responsibilities they had drafted during the week. The 20th conference in Poland was announced for 2006.