The unique process of this one-day workshop supports students to experience their interconnectedness with the natural world. Based on the principles of Deep Ecology, a Council of All Beings gives students the opportunity to speak on behalf of other life forms, enabling them to see the actions of humans from the perspective of a voiceless inhabitant of the natural world. The accompanying activities enable students to expand their understandings of the concept of interdependence and the impacts which some of their everyday actions may have on the flora and fauna of their region. Participants come away invariably motivated to get into action, and with a basic plan to work collaboratively on an environmental project. The process works both on the cognitive and affective levels, helping students to value and cultivate qualities of empathy, compassion, creativity, respect and care while fostering the building of self esteem.
ore information - Deep Ecology work with youth
The outline below shows group activities to be adapted as appropriate for students aged 10 – 12 years.
• Game. Introducing ourselves.
• Purpose and outline of the day.
• Guidelines and agreements
• Discussion and ‘The Systems Game’ increasing understandings of the principle of Interdependence.
• Earthwalk: A sensory immersing experience for close-up contact and engagement with the natural world . Deepening the sense of connectedness with the world of nature.
• Quiet time in nature to connect with their aspect of the natural environment.
• Making a mask to represent that aspect of nature (their ‘friend ’)
• Partner work to practise speaking from the perspective of the plant/animal friend.
• The Council: Speaking on behalf of the chosen friend ‘in council’.
• Deciding on action(s) in response to their animal/plant friend’s concerns/problems/request. A group decision-making process and broad planning.
• Completion. Representatives announce the intended group actions & roles which they have taken on to bring their group plan to fruition.
1. The organisation of the day’s activities depends on the number of students taking part. Eg: with up to 16 students, the actual Council can be run as a whole-group activity. A larger class would need to be divided into two groups, each with an adult facilitator.
2. Prior consultation with teachers and the school community will:
* ensure optimum relatedness of the programme to students’ prior experience and knowledge,
* facilitate its integration into the curriculum
* clarify workable parameters of desired/possible/emergent projects
* determine any local environmental issue which would be useful to explore through the
medium of a ‘Council’ for its potential for student action or involvement.
Some possible issues: Habitat for the White-tailed Black Cockatoo
Fragile coastal ecosystem disruption
Plastic or fertilizer pollution in waterways.
The absence of frogs or native birds.