In It Together
We can all make a difference to the world
by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To highlight the interconnectedness of everyone in the world and to show that we can make a difference.
Preparation and materials
Have available an inflatable globe and six lengths of different coloured ribbon, each about 1.5 meters long.
When you see pictures of starving children in refugee camps, child soldiers who have guns in their hands instead of toys or families sorting through rubbish on landfill sites looking for their next meal, I wonder what you think. Maybe you think:
- what can I do about it?
- nothing I can do will make any difference.
- what’s it got to do with me?
Pause to allow time for thought.
The world is getting smaller. Not physically smaller: it’s not actually shrinking to this size!
Hold up the inflatable globe.
However, because of television reports, newspapers, mobile phones, the Internet and cheap flights, we know more and we see more: we are more involved.
Whether we like it or not, what we do does make a difference.
Invite 12 students to stand in a circle at the front. As you say each of the following statements, give each end of a piece of ribbon to students on opposite sides of the circle, thus creating a web effect.
Statement 1: By buying Fairtrade chocolate, you can help parents in Ghana to send their children to school. The Fairtrade farmers’ cooperative doesn’t cheat the farmers by using inaccurate weighing scales, as other buying agents often do. The cooperative invests in projects to improve the farmers’ living, health and education standards.
Statement 2: By wearing organic cotton, you can reduce the environmental impact and severe health problems that are associated with conventional cotton farming. In some countries, conventional cotton can have 20 applications of insecticide each season. These contain potentially carcinogenic substances that are banned in the US and the European Union (EU) and are damaging to the young children who harvest the cotton, the water supply and the environment.
Statement 3: By using low-energy light bulbs, you can play your part in slowing down climate change, which is responsible for the devastation of homes and lives in South Africa by severe flooding. Climate change is happening right now and it’s the world’s poorest people who are paying the price.
Statement 4: By reusing plastic bags, you can reduce the vast number of them littering our planet. Many shops now charge for carrier bags, which has meant that more people reuse the ones they have rather than buying new ones each time. This can have a big impact because plastic bags represent a lethal threat to wildlife, particularly in the oceans.
Statement 5: By drinking Fairtrade orange juice, you can improve the quality of life for people in Cuba. One Cuban woman, Esperanza, says, ‘It has been great to change from a mud floor to a cement one. Now I can have furniture and it’s so easy to clean. Also, the roof is very important, as nothing gets wet when it rains now. I am very grateful to Fairtrade for making this possible.’
Statement 6: By eating responsibly caught fish, you can help to guarantee that there will always be plenty of fish in the sea. Our oceans are being seriously overfished, so some fish supplies may disappear altogether unless action is taken. Overfishing is damaging fishing industries and marine environments all around the world.
By playing your part, you can make a difference to how the world works.
Throw the inflatable globe onto the web of ribbons and ask the students to balance it there.
Time for reflection
It is a good visual aid to keep the globe balanced on the web during the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly. However, if this is likely to cause too much of a distraction, the students could sit down at this point and you could place the globe somewhere prominent.
We’re all in this together: every person, animal, bird, fish, tree, plant and so on. Each is a part of this amazing world in which we all live.
We thank you for our amazing world.
We thank you for beauty that we can look around and see.
We thank you that we are part of the world.
Please help us to take our responsibility seriously.
‘He’s got the whole wide world’ (Mission Praise, 225)