Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 2, Environmental Impact Game – Map
- Handout 3, Environmental Impact Game – Instructions
- Paper and pencils
- Optional: Prizes for all participants
Preparation for Activity
- Read the Description of Activity, Handout 2, and Handout 3 to make sure you understand the game.
- Decide how many teams you will have; try to cap teams at five people to make sure all have opportunities to engage. Print a map (Handout 2) and instructions (Handout 3) for each team.
- Optional: Obtain eco-friendly prizes—for example, re-usable grocery bags, or balsawood gliders or paper kites that use “wind power.” The game need not be competitive; you may wish to reward each member of each team for giving thought to the challenge of reducing their day-to-day environmental impact.
Description of Activity
Ask the group:
Now you know why a lot of people are worried about the changes in earth’s climate, and you understand how different species, including humans, may be affected. When a problem is big, like climate change, it can seem overwhelming. We want to slow down climate change and we want to adapt ourselves and other species to new climates, so we can survive. You might hear people say things like, “Only a miracle can solve this!”
Well, maybe so. But that is okay, because the way we UUs see it, this might be the sort of miracle we can help to make. When every person does their own part, even if each part is small, a group of people can make quite a big miracle together.
We are going to play a game that will show us ways we can each be part of that kind of miracle. What can we do every day to make some miracles about our environment? What kinds of everyday decisions can we make?
All of our families do errands, right? Maybe you visit your friends or cousins or grandparents sometimes? Well, the way we get from place to place makes a difference to the environment. For example, if we walk to the grocery store or we pedal a bicycle to visit our friends, instead of riding in a car or taking a bus, we don’t use any energy from the earth—just our own energy. But sometimes we might have a lot of groceries to carry, or our friends live far away, that walking is not very practical.
Explain that participants will play a game. They will plan how to get around while they do errands and make visits in a community, while trying to make as little impact as possible on the environment.
Form teams at work tables. Distribute maps (Handout 2), instructions (Handout 3), paper, and pencils.
Give the teams seven minutes to work. When five minutes have passed, let them know they have just two minutes more.
Reconvene the large group. Invite teams to have a representative give their environmental impact point total and tell the route and transportation modes they used. If you are running out of time, ask for the point totals and for a team spokesperson to mention one of the more difficult or interesting choices their team made.
Use these prompt questions to draw out the challenges and decisions the teams faced:
- Did you remember to bring the flowers to Grandmother’s house? If you remembered, would you have made a different choice?
- Did people not take the bus because of where the bus stops were located? What if you lived in a place that did not have any bus transportation, but had to carry groceries or clothing donations? Might you use a car more?
- Did you think about how much time walking would take, versus driving? Time was not an issue in this game, but, in real life, sometimes it is.
- What are some advantages of walking, besides the fact that it does not hurt the environment? (healthy exercise, not as stressful as driving/waiting for a bus, it’s free, it gives you a chance to be outdoors)
Although this was just a game, we and our families plan how we will get around to different places almost every day. What different transportation decisions do you think you might make in the future?
Some people say it will take a miracle for humankind to learn to live with climate change and to keep our damage to the earth from getting worse. Do you think these decisions we make can be part of a miracle?