The Topsy Turvy bus was so wild, BJN decided to subject it to one of our 4 Questions interviews to learn more. Answering for the Teva Learning Center is Rachel Playe.
What’s the Jewish Climate Change Campaign all about?
We are Teva Learning Center educators driving the bus across country. The Teva Learning Center seeks to renew the ecological wisdom inherent in judaism and to renew the Jewish community through connection to the natural world. We teach that we can learn from the othercreatures in creation, about how to live more sustainably with the natural world. When looking at how the natural world functions, we can realize many lessons, such as the lesson that there is no such thing as garbage. In nature, anything that looks like it could be waste just turns into soil- waste is just food or fuel for something else! (from Elizabeth Cossin)
What’s it like to live on the bus, especially with the wicked snow we’ve all had this winter?
It is great. I was particularly excited about living on the bus because it meant I would be living in our message. Everyday we have to answer why we are driving across country and each time we answer that we engage ourself in our message. I was also excited to live on the bus, and still enjoy it, is because of the small amount of stuff I could bring aboard. We each live out of a small bin of personal gear. We cook on the bus, we have a small camping oven and four bins which we fill up with foods. Eating well is important to us and we do the best we can on the road. We spend an even amount of nights on and off the bus. We have slept a few nights on the bus since it has gotten cold, but luckily we were invited to stay with a friend during our stay in Colorado. We are generally invited into a home in the communities we teach. We have to keep the engine warm at night, so we look for places to park where we can plug her in. Jonathan and Baruch do the driving and I must say, the bus has been driving quite well.
What types of groups have you been meeting with around the country?
We have been meeting with all types of Jewish communities. One of the strongest memories was our time in New Orleans. That community had been hit so hard by Katrina and they are still trying to rebuild the Jewish community. They still talk about Katrina and the effects she’s had in the city. They are also witnesses to the strong storms that climate change brings and they are aware of the changes that need to happen. The members embraced our message. We stayed with them for the weekend and saw what a warm and vibrant community they had growing.
Purim is coming up. What can the Topsy Turvy Bus teach us about Purim – or vice versa?
Well, I must say, the Topsy Turvy Bus is a visual representation of the spirit of Purim. In Purim, they say we should not be able to tell our enemies from our friends. I see that as seeing how the negative can be transformed into a positive situation. Our bus is saying we should look at the waste of our society and see how we can reintegrate it back into the cycle. Putting on a new set of glasses, to get turned upside down, to see the world’s problems topsy turvy so we can redesign a more sustainable future.