‘Sustainable Dave’ Chameides is leaving, will move East this summer


Photo courtesy of Dave Chameides

Dave flying kites with children living in tent cities in Haiti after the quake there last winter. Dave will move to Connecticut this summer.

Jaclyn Kellner, Community Editor

“Sustainable” Dave Chameides, Director of Sustainability, announced June 15 via e-mail that he would be moving to Connecticut this summer to “be closer to relatives, and for me to begin a slow exit out of the film industry and a move into academia.”

“Aliza, Maia, Tamar, the dog Rocky, and about 10,000 worms and I will all be moving to West Hartford, Connecticut,” said Dave in a separate e-mail to The Boiling Point.

In two years in his unusual position, Dave left his mark on school with multiple “green” changes including the distribution of reusable water bottles, retrofitting a hallway water fountain to refill them, and a composting project in the Early Childhood Center. He tried to have solar panels installed, though the roof’s age and condition made this impossible, and last week as he planned his departure low-energy light bulbs were being installed in every classroom.

But his friendly, towering presence – Dave stands 6’4” — perhaps had as much of an effect as what he did to make the school more eco-friendly.  In regular appearances at Town Hall, Dave promoted the importance of doing the right thing and making a difference across a wide array of concerns.  In addition to environmental issues, he also brought the plight of Haiti’s earthquake victims and Congo’s “invisible children” to the community.

“Dave had a way of putting us into perspective, whenever he spoke in Town Hall or gave a presentation,” said senior Talia Reich.  “He gave us a reality check when we were stressing about a math test.”

At one Town Hall, Dave showed the amount of environmental harm caused by creating a single aluminum can. Another was about the way people waste water.

“His little notes about turning off the lights or taking a minute-shorter shower, for example, showed me how little changes really do make a difference,” said sophomore Raquel Garshofsky.

Dave helped freshman Erin Sharfman get her Haiti fundraising campaign off the ground within hours of the massive quake,and then presented a very moving slide show after returning from Haiti himself, where he had spent two weeks delivering supplies and working on a documentary.

In Haiti he was also the eyes and ears of the Shalhevet community, keeping a blog run by senior Lexi Gelb.

“To give you an idea of the tent cities imagine Central Park filled with tents,” Dave wrote in his blog. “Not tents that you would buy by the way but tents made out of anything they can find. Terrible things have happened here but wonderful ones as well. It’s an odd place.”

He said he had fallen in love with the Haitian people and complained at how they were presented in world news media.

Dave received his nickname from a friend who suggested he use it for his blog, “365 Days of Trash,” where he documented his year-long challenge to keep all of his trash and recycling in his home. The idea was to conceptualize the amount of waste one person produces and lead people to make smarter choices leading to producing less of it.

The name stuck and was used at Shalhevet throughout his time here.

His main job was shooting television shows and movies. Through his television work, he got Shalhevet Choir passes to the taping of the television show *Glee’s* season finale at the Saban Theater.

Though he will be on the other side of the country, Dave said he would still have a presence at Shalhevet, visiting when he comes to Los Angeles for work. In his e-mail to the community he urged students to get in touch with him, he is keeping his Shalhevet email, [email protected], if they are interested in working on any projects.

He ended his e-mail to the community in his normal fashion of encouraging good deeds.

“I thank you all, wish you all the best and encourage you to continually challenge yourselves at every turn and keep on fighting the good fight,” he wrote, “no matter how hard that fight may be.”