The image of our Earth is a unifying symbol. "1 don't know of any more powerful icon or symbol to change human consciousness about world peace or about the way we and our environment are one." said Tom Harpur, columnist for the Toronto Star.
Our Planet in Every Classroom has a simple goal: to place a photograph of Earth in classrooms worldwide. The 18" by 24" full-color posters of the Earth as seen by Apollo 17 en route to the moon are printed on recycled paper with no border or text. Since 1988 over 67,000 posters and accompanying resource materials have been mailed across Canada and around the world. New "Planet" centres have begun in other countries, including New Zealand, Japan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and the Netherlands.
A number of teachers have been working recently with their students, using a visualization exercise. Hanny Panek, who teaches fourth grade at Kitigan Zibi School, a native school in Maniwaki, Quebec, found that her students felt transported to a new awareness of their global home. In the exercise the children sit at their desks with eyes closed while the teacher takes them on a pretend trip. They imagine they are lying in a field near home and feel themselves lifted into space. They can see their home, their country and the whole planet as they float higher on a warm pleasant breeze. Time passes and they come back down to Earth as it will be 20 years from now. The people are celebrating. The fields are blooming and there is no more war. They give the children a message. Now the teacher guides them back through time and home again. They open their eyes. She asks them to draw what they've experienced and to think about what has to happen for this future to come true.
Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar expressed her impression of our planet viewed from space: "When I looked at the Earth, I never thought of a piece of the entity being separate. It was border-less, a continuum from sea to sea. There were no lines on the map or street signs up.
The momentum of the project is increasing. The Earth poster is being displayed in universities, churches, restaurants, synagogues, prisons, offices, homes, board rooms, day care centres, and schoolrooms.
Marilee Rhodi has taught in Aria, Africa and North America, and is now the national coordinator of the Planet Project.