Limping along on the Road into the unknown future, the human family has reached a wall that divides us from the world of peace and prosperity foretold in many wisdom traditions. The wall is made of bricks representing barriers to peace — poverty and hunger, inequalities, prejudices, injustices.
What if the children of the world were empowered to take those bricks and pave the Road to a sustainable, just and peaceful future. They would meet many people along the way who are already living the principles for a world that works for all. They would learn new ways to cooperate, collaborate and co-create solutions in a new and hopeful story for the human family and the community of life on Earth, our home.
Characters in “Climate Collaboratory! The Musical” use the barriers to peace to pave the Road to 2030, 2050 and Beyond. As they travel on the Road to a thriving Earth, they meet real people who are living the Global Goals for a better future.
We, the World has partnered with the University of Florida Extension to develop a community-wide climate conversation-to-action program. The Climate Collaboratory, a pilot project of We, the World and the University of Florida Extension, engages all ages in addressing the Global Goals for 2030, agreed on unanimously by all member states at the 2015 General Assembly of the United Nations.
We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.
In our collaborative storytelling adventure, children and youth look for people who can help them to make a world that works for all. That’s 100% of humanity, and the community of life on Earth. They play the Global Goals Treasure Hunt, collecting stories of real people in their local community who are working on the Sustainable Development Goals:
- Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
- Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
The Climate Collaboratory pilot project started in 2020-21 with the award-winning Sustainable Floridians Program of the University of Florida Extension. This “discussion-to-action” community engagement program offered opportunities to:
- Learn together and discuss sustainability principles and climate action opportunities in the local community for Florida and the world.
- Share personal perspectives, life experiences, and wisdom, in weekly discussions and on We, the World’s Welcome to WE! Show.
- Take personal and collective action to live more sustainably and protect Earth’s limited resources.
- Inspire others to answer the call to sustainable living and climate action for our collective future.
In our second year, the Interfaith Climate Group hosted “Building Community in a Changing Climate,” a six-session workshop based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In a 3-minute video, children invited adults to help build the World House envisioned by Martin Luther King, Jr.
We have inherited a big house, a great “world house” in which we have to live together – black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other. – Martin Luther King Jr, Nobel Peace Prize lecture, 1964
Alachua County, Florida is the demonstration site for our community-wide climate conversation-to-action program. We support the City of Gainesville and Alachua County commissions’ declarations of climate emergency in 2019-20, and support their community outreach in 2022-23. Partner organizations include United Nations Association of Gainesville, Martin Luther King Commission of Florida, River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Sister Cities and more.
“Climate Collaboratory! The Musical,” performed as a Zoom theatre during a six-week workshop series for Earth Day, inspires real-world intergenerational climate conversations. Using a collaborative Guidebook for Building Community in a Changing Climate, elders help young people to envision a sustainable, just and peaceful future in 2030, 2050, and Beyond. Our story includes prophecies from the world’s wisdom traditions of a time of peace. It engages all ages in addressing the social and environmental challenges as presented in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The story begins with Great-Gramma Sue in the Year 2050. Her great-grandchildren want to know what it was like in the early years of the 21st century when the Earth Charter, launched in the Year 2000, said,
Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life,
The firm resolve to achieve sustainability,
The quickening of the struggle for justice and peace
And the joyful celebration of life.
“Climate Collaboratory! The Musical” tells the story of how the human family came together to win the Global Goals in a race against time. Each of us alive at this critical moment in Earth’s history has a climate story to tell. The community-wide climate conversation-to-action program is part of that story.
There we were, gazing quietly into the fire, coming together in the Story Circle. The wise elder, Born in a Cloud, said, “The world is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Earth Charter. Tonight we will take a look at where we’ve been since the beginning of the century, when the Earth Charter movement was new. The Sages bring the Wisdom of the Ages that they’ve gleaned on the Road so far. Curious young minds wonder about their next steps on the Road to a world that works for all. Who wants to begin?”
I was pleased to see my great-granddaughter Willow speak up. “You have stories of Seed Ideas planted long ago that brought us to this moment in human history. What was it like in the early days of this century, when you could only imagine what 2050 would be like?”
Born in a Cloud smiled. “Listen, my children, and you will hear the story of the Earth Charter’s first 50 years. The Sages of the Ages will share stories of their Seed Ideas that have grown from vision to reality.”
Willow looked straight at me. And I knew the story that I wanted to tell.
“The Earth Charter was launched at the turn of the century, on June 29 in the year 2000. I was so inspired by the vision and poetry of it that I asked friends to help create a musical play. Three of us wrote songs and a story. The children who presented the play used the Earth Charter principles to solve problems and create peace.
“Not long after that, I became the reduce, reuse, recycle lady for Alachua County. My first assignment was to bring fourth graders from several counties to the museum, “EarthQuest: The Challenge Begins.” The children had to walk through the gaping mouth of Toxicus, the Garbage Monster to become players in a life-sized video game, saving energy and resources at different activity stations. That really got my creative juices flowing. I told my supervisor that I wanted to make a traveling museum exhibit based on the Earth Charter.”
“That Seed Idea grew slowly over the years. In 2011 I invited a group of middle schoolers into a collaborative storytelling adventure. Week by week, for eight months, they learned about the Earth Charter, created their own action plans and carried them out. After their FutureFlash! Show for their families and friends, I asked the students to evaluate the program. They said it was good, but way too slow. Could I make it into a game?
“That Seed Idea grew in me until 2014, when I took the FutureFlash! Climate Challenge to sixth graders at a different school. We called it the FutureFlash! Making the Game Club because we really were inventing something new. Earthman Lanny Smith talked to the class on video chat, long before Zoom came into being.
They created the Climate Crisis Jeopardy Game and other ways to earn points for their school, their city, their country and the world. We had the vision of a global game to change climate change, but it wasn’t time for it to blossom just yet.
“I talked with lots of people about the game, and one day a man said this sounded like a game that the whole world needs to play. So I started thinking about what it would take to play with millions of people, and decided we needed a game show. Slowly, slowly, the idea grew. More and more people could see the possibility, and offered their help. By the time we got to Earth Day 2022, we performed “Climate Collaboratory! The Musical” with the World House Games Show.”
Willow laughed. “And we all know the rest of that story!” she said.
On the Road to 2030, 2050 and Beyond is a collaborative storytelling adventure, unfolding in a year-round series of workshops and activities for all ages. In 2022-23, the demonstration community-wide climate conversation-to-action program in Alachua County, Florida engages all ages in telling the story of that local community from the year 2000 to 2050. Young people ask adults and elders to tell about significant moments in their own lives. They then create a collective vision for 2030, 2050 and Beyond and develop collaborative action plans to make that vision a reality.
Submitted by Sue Blythe