Council of Beings

We need to speak up for the natural world – this role play exercise will help young people understand conflicting needs and different points of view.

Instructions

  1. Explain to the group that will be representing and speaking for a part of the natural environment during the “Council of Beings”.
  2. Ask each person (or small group) to choose a different role – a species of animal or plant, or another part of the environment such as the water or the air.
  3. Call the Council of Beings to order by having the everyone sit in a large circle. Explain that they are no longer humans and must take on the identity of their chosen aspect of nature.
  4. To get everyone into their roles, begin the Council by having everyone introduce themselves, e.g “I am an orangutan and I live in a rainforest…”
  5. When everyone has introduced themselves, inform the Council that the environment is in a very poor state. Pollution, deforestation and overuse of resources have put too much pressure on the planet and this is leading to the loss of wildlife habitat and is threatening biodiversity.
  6. Allow each of the beings to respond. Encourage them to speak in role, e.g. “the rainforest is being felled and destroyed by forest fires. We are losing our homes and many of us have already died.”
  7. Wrap up the council by having each being suggest changes that humans can make to prevent any further negative environmental impacts.

Reflect and Discuss

After the role play, ask young people to think about:

  • How did it feel to be an element of nature? Did you feel threatened by the environmental impacts of human activity?
  • Where do you think the impacts of pollution and biodiversity loss are being felt the most?
  • How do you think your group can help reduce these impacts?
  • Will you take on any of the suggestions for change made during the council of beings?
  • What action could we take to help you suggestions become a reality?

Top tips!

You could do this in an outdoor setting to help participants get into role.

Resources Required

A ‘talking stick’ could be helpful for a younger group
WE:CAN Climate Action Now front cover

This activity is part of our WE:CAN — Climate Action Now resources

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