Stories and Lesson Plans that compel us to strengthen our relationships with each other and our world.
Humans, despite our flaws, are a beautiful species. We craft social structures with the potential to expand our frontiers beyond even our planet, and like many of our animal brethren, we have the ability to connect with each other. We hear others’ stories, and it inspires us to be better, to think differently, and to expose ourselves to our potential. The Global Oneness Project aims to leverage our ability to connect through stories by publishing multi-media stories from all over the world, such as films, photo essays, and articles. The project also publishes companion lesson plans and discussion guides to help direct the conversation and learning in a positive, effective manner. The site makes its resources available ad-free and without a subscription, encouraging the free movement of stories throughout communities. The Global Oneness Project’s films and lessons have been featured on National Geographic, PBS, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, TED Ed, and the Smithsonian, among others, and reflect a communion of community and the self.
What I believe makes this site such a powerful tool for both classrooms and independent study is its invitation to take part in something beyond the scope of one’s typical life. We don’t normally associate ourselves with being connected to the world, as having impacts that can be felt far and wide, but the site eclipses that feeling of infinitesimal existence and introduces us to our infinite potential. We are inspired to look back at how others have overcome obstacles; we are inspired to look forward and pre-empt challenges to the health and well-being of our planet; we are inspired to be more. That is what makes the Global Oneness Project such a useful tool for climate action, for international development, for humanitarian literacy, and for so much more - not just because it connects us to these problems, but because it inspires us to solve them.
Below you can find a small selection of their resources to gain insight into what exactly the Global Oneness Project does. Included in each lesson plan on the site are the relevant accompanying national education standards.
- Classroom/Self-Study Project -
How does the Earthrise photograph challenge us to consider our relationship to the Earth and provide a context for what it means to be a global citizen? In this project we are invited to examine the famous Earthrise photograph taken by astronaut Bill Anders during his crew's flight beyond our atmosphere into orbit around the moon. When the public first got a glimpse of this photo it was as if they had been teleported into space, and their breath had left their body. It was an iconic moment in history, and a defining moment in how we would grow to look at our planet in the coming century.
The first activity is a thirty minute film by filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee discussing the context and history of Earthrise, and then breaking down the photo's impact on the public. The full curriculum guide (available here on the website and lesson plan available here) then leads a discussion on the issue through the dissection of four themes: the power of perspective, bearing witness, exploration, and reverence for the environment. Understanding how framing can change not just how we question reality, but our understanding of it, is an incredibly important ethical topic for environmental action, because it underpins how we go about climate action. Our responsibility, or our ability, be they two sides of the same coin, are a relic of our situation on this planet - we cannot remove ourselves form the equation without forsaking ourselves.
The project continues by asking us to select one of the following questions (but by all means feel free to address all four!):
What is your relationship to our planet?
How are we all interconnected?
In what way is your community protecting the environment?
How can we change our perspective to see our planet as one home?
The response should be in the form of a photo, where the subject can be anything that reflects your relationship to the world within the context of the selected question. Afterwards, reflect on why you chose to respond the way you did. Fostering the self-awareness behind your appreciation can help you on your way to living a more socially conscious life, and take part in a movement to appreciate our planet.
Feel free to print your photograph and hang it up in your house, classroom, or office, and let it be not only a reminder to you of your connection with the planet, but a conversation starter to spark others' curiosity regarding their own relationships with the planet. You can also submit your photo to the Global Oneness Project, or post it on social media with the hashtag #RememberEarth.