The Deep Time Walk – How Effective Is It?

By Stephan Harding and Robert Woodford

Abstract: At Schumacher College, Dartington, UK in 2008 we introduced the Deep Time Walk – a transformative learning experience in which college participants walk 4.6km in the countryside of the Dartington Estate representing the entire 4,600 million years of our planet’s history. The aim of the walk is to increase the ecological awareness of participants by giving them an embodied experience of the immense age of our Earth. At certain points during the walk a facilitator explains key events in earth history, such as the formation of the planet and the first appearance of living cells. Here we assess the effectiveness of the Deep Time Walk offered to eleven distinct groups of walkers during 2022 -2023. Participants on each of the eleven Deep Time Walks were asked to respond to a simple questionnaire asking them to quantify how much of seven qualities they felt immediately before and immediately after their walk (these were: Awe and Wonder, Sense of Earth’s Ancientness, Connection to Nature, Consequences of the Crisis, Hope, Commitment to Personal Change and Commitment to Political Change) . In total, 153 participants took part in the eleven walks and responded to the questionnaire. Analysis of the data showed a highly statistically significant increase across all seven qualities (p<0.00001 for each quality), suggesting that the Deep Time Walk is an effective means for developing and enhancing ecological awareness and commitment to action in these times of severe global crisis. Qualitative data were not collected during this phase of the study due to time limitations during walks. We recognise the importance of this kind of data and are devising ways of gathering it for both past and future walks.

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Climate change communication beyond the ‘ivory tower’: A case study about the development, application and evaluation of a science-education approach to communicate climate change to young people

By Maximilian Riede, Lars Keller, Anna Oberrauch and Steffen Link

Abstract: The aim of this case study was to develop, apply and evaluate a science-education workshop format to communicate climate change to young people. Based on current theory in climate change communication and Education for Sustainable Development, the workshop has been applied in different contexts with more than 300 children and teenagers. A specification of the consecutive steps should help practitioners to use the workshop in their contexts. While results of the application of the workshop should give an insight into what can be expected from the workshop, an impact assessment of the participants who took place in the workshop outlines the effects it has on students. This paper does not only provide hands-on advice on how theoretical climate change communication knowledge can be translated into action, it also outlines the impacts of the described workshop.

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