Earth Theme: The Living Earth Game
by Sharon Franquemont, co-founder of the Prayer Vigil for the Earth
Usually Done with Adults (sometimes with youth and children)
Purpose: To provide people with a Big Picture sense of the Earth’s history, to enhance their sense of belonging to the Earth family, and to support the Earth Charter (abbreviated version) movement.
Background: Group needs to be between 21 – 100 people. Everyone should be able to walk, but you can use handicapped or small children in creative ways too. For example, I’ve had a mother, father, baby and children stand in the center to symbolize all families on Earth (human, plants, animals, etc.) or handicapped, wheel chair people sit in the center and hold a blow-up Earth ball, etc.
Necessary Props: (1) Large enough space inside or outside for every person to hold hands and create ONE big circle. (2) A white board or flip chart for making a list, (3) microphone, (4) dramatic instrumental music to play while the Earth is made, and (5) one sheet copies of an abridged version of the Earth Charter.
Make a list of the different parts of the Earth’s creation in rough order of their appearance on the white
Wind & Air
Thunder, Rain, Rivers, Oceans
Fish and Water Life
Reptiles (can include dinosaurs, if desired)
Insects and Birds
The facilitator explains that we are going to enact the creation and evolution of the Earth in a half hour. Every body has a part to play, but before we do the ‘play’ we have to practice. Everyone practices all the parts as we review each of them for a few minutes.
Practice 1: The Earth. People hold hands; create a big circle, and practice walking to the left around the circle maintaining its shape.
Practice 2: The Big Bang. While still standing in the circle, everyone practices saying, “BANG” as loud as they can. Do this until you are satisfied with the results. The facilitator explains the theory of the Big Bang as one creation myth, that of science (if desired, the facilitator can name other creation myths around the world.) Then the facilitator gets everyone to come into the center of the circle---tells the story of all matter pressed against each other (use care in how much the group presses on each other)---and on the count of 3, the group shouts BANG and each individual shoots out of the center and drifts around through space.
Practice 3: Rocks: Everyone pretends to be rocks floating through space (sometimes they get excited and do somersaults or whirl around as rocks.) Ask them to pretend to be dense and heavy. Let them know that some of the people will be the ‘rock’ or rocks that began as the Earth.
Practice 4: Air & Wind: Everyone practices being wind and air. Loud swirling sounds like air makes. Sweeping arms, floating clouds, etc.
Practice 5: Thunder, Rain, Rivers, and Oceans: Everyone stomps their feet to create thunder, uses their fingers and sounds to enact falling rain, uses their arms and voice to create the movement and sounds of rivers, and uses their arms and voices to create crashing waves.
Practice 6: The Plant Nation. Everyone pretends to be trees by lifting their arms up and making the shape of a tree, or becoming flowers by beautifying their faces, or being seaweed by floating in the water.
Practice 7: Fish and Water Life. Everyone puts their fingers of each hand against each other and moves them like a fish through the water, everyone pretends to be little water creatures, crabs, etc.
Practice 8: Reptiles. People pretend to be amphibians like turtles or frogs (ducking heads in an imaginary shell as turtles and jump/hopping places and croaking as frogs) or snakes or huge dinosaurs.
Practice 9: Birds and Insects. People use their arms to fly, or create the noise of bees, dragonflies, flies, mosquitoes.
Practice 10: Animals. People choose their favorite animal noises (this can be fun because different cultures have different sounds for the same animals, e.g. dogs in USA make one sound, Japanese dogs make another) and actions and then do them.
Practice 11: Human Beings….walking.
When all the practice is done, people count off to 8 or 10 (you can reduce or change the number of categories depending on the size of the group.) Each group is assigned a role---All the number ones are rocks; all the number twos are air and wind; all the number threes are thunder, rain, water, etc.
The group is directed that after the Big Bang, they all ‘float’ out of the room or area (if you are outside) and then form a line or series of lines where the Ones (the rocks) come first, the air and wind (number 2s) come next, the 3s (thunder, rain, etc.) comes next etc.
The Living Earth Game
Once again everyone makes a big circle and practices walking around in a circle. The facilitator announces “As each group comes, you will continue to walk in a circle. As you come in, space yourselves out so that you are coming in between the previous elements/people rather than all at once. The circle (the Earth) is going to get more and more populated as each new creature join the Earth family. Everyone continues walking in a circle until the entire Earth family is in. After the human beings are in, keep walking and I will have special directions for the human beings. Try and act out the story as I give you direction, human beings. Everyone else, please help them out with the story. When the story is just about over, we will do something special as the Earth family.”
When the facilitator is done with these directions, he or she invites everyone into the center and they begin to press against each other like the matter before the Big Bang.
The facilitator counts off …1 – 2 – 3 …and then everyone screams BANG!!! The people float out of the room and form a line or lines off ‘stage.’
PREPERATION: Place the copies of the abridged Earth Charter in a container in the center of the Circle while the group is out.
The dramatic instrumental music is played. One-by-one the facilitator invites the different elements of the Earth’s evolution to join the circle as it walks around into existence.
- The facilitator announces that after the Big Bang Rocks were floating through space. Some rocks became planets. The facilitator calls in the Rocks, who come floating in and begin to create the circle which will be the circumference of the Earth. The facilitator waits until a rough circle is created and the rocks continue to walk or twirl around in a large circle.
- The facilitator invites the Air & Wind to come in and join the Earth. All the twos come in entering in between the rocks, making the noise of air and ‘surrounding the Earth.’ The air joins the walking Earth circle which is getting more ‘populated.’
- The facilitator invites the Thunder, Rain, Rivers, and Oceans to enter the sacred circle. All the sounds enter as the threes come into the Earth’s circumference. They walk around with all the others.
- The Plant nation---seaweed, flowers, trees---arrive next. The walking Earth circle continues to expand.
- The Fish and Water Creatures come into the Earth’s community, entering as the others did in between the people who are already walking around as the Earth.
- The Reptiles enter with noise and actions.
- The Birds and Insects enter the building Earth community.
- The Animals enter the circle.
- The Human Beings enter. The facilitator says that the human beings are the youngest members of the Earth’s community and have a lot to learn.
- After the human beings are all there and the Earth community is walking around creating the circumference, the facilitator announces that he or she is going to give the human beings some directions which they should act out as best they can.
- Facilitator says, “Human beings---you don’t realize how precious the Earth community is and you (ask them to act these things out) begin blowing up the Earth’s rocks to mine her for minerals, you start chopping down the trees, killing the animals, throwing trash on the Earth.”
- Give the human beings time to do these things to the rocks, trees, flowers, animals. Wait until other members of the Earth circle have been treated badly by the human beings.
- The facilitator announces that all Earth’s creatures cry out for help from humans. (Invite all the other creatures to cry, HELP….) Let the creatures do this and encourage them.
- Then the facilitator says, “Human beings, you begin to realize that you have to change your behavior. The Earth is inviting you into the center of the circle. You are creating a great document---an agreement among yourselves to protect the Earth and all creatures on it.”
- Have the human beings go to the center of the circle and get the copies of the abridged Earth Charter. Stop the ‘rotating Earth circle’, and let the human beings hand out the Earth Charter to ALL the Earth family.
- The facilitator leads the entire Earth Community in chanting the Earth Charter.
At the conclusion of the chant, everyone cheers for the Living Earth, their role in it, and/or sings a song for the Earth. (Some suggested songs—“It’s A Small World”, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, “We Are The World”).