For Deepika, a flower means happiness, and wood represents comfort. For Anuj, the cactus inspires moving ahead with life, no matter how hard it is. Anjila says that stone is a way to make shelter. Cheman feels that a leaf can represent life. And Lata says that caring for the earth is the starting point for being a peace builder.
April is the month for celebrating Mother Earth. The GPYC Peace Club in Hattigauda honored Mother Earth over many days with multiple activities, all focusing on how to conserve and take care of the earth. Play for Peace games were used at the beginning of the session in order for the participants to get to know each other and to become comfortable in the setting. The imaginative activities began with collecting trash and waste. After discussing what nature means to humanity, the children teamed up to make objects from the trash, several making peace signs. The children also took walks, talking about natural objects such stones and flowers, sky and water, always being mindful of how important nature is in our lives and how we must protect the earth. Given the chance to slow down, take in their surroundings, and reflect on what the earth gives us, the children expressed countless thoughts that showed both deep consideration and creativity. All of these ideas were connected to how we should treat each other as well. Water activities were used as creatively to educate: the children learned about why water is so important, what percentage of the earth’s water is salt water vs. fresh water, and what the human contribution needs to be in order to save water. Groups were then asked to act out water in many forms: One group showed the condition of rivers in the past and present. The next group showed about the custom that was prevalent in this society where low caste people could not take water from the tap used by higher caste people, and they learned that this kind of discrimination should not be practiced. The next group acted out what it would be like to be clean water and dirty water themselves; they told of their happiness of being clean and expressed sorrow at being polluted. Another group showed that even educated people are throwing garbage in our rivers and noted that we need to be aware that it is our responsibility to conserve and not pollute. The last group showed people working in the field in one village where there is a tap nearby and noted that not all places have such easy access. The last activity of making collages was perhaps the most creative and it was so interesting to see how inventive the kids were. The first group said there should be balance in the ecosystem, pollution should be reduced, we should not use pesticides, and we should reduce deforestation. The next group said we should love nature and save water as only 1% of the water on earth is fresh water. One group emphasized our duty to promote water conservation. Another group reminded us of the causes of pollution such as urbanization, deforestation, and smoke. The last group showed conditions of rivers in China and discussed ways of creating proper drainage. Earth Week: Water is Life was attended by 18 children, 2 trainers, 1 teacher and other volunteers. Everyone learned so much and connected with each other in new and deeper ways. The chant they learned during this week of activities sums up the way we should all be thinking: reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink. [gallery size="medium" ids="8939,8940,8941,8942,8943,8944"]