A Photo of Earth to Provoke Discussion

Image from The Idealist on Facebook

Here’s a nice photo to provoke some discussion (probably about second grade on up?): the globe with the flags is very nice, but how is the earth not covered in flags something to aspire to?  We often see photos of many world flags next to each other as something to admire – and it is! – but seen in the context of a photo of the earth in its sheer beauty without any border lines dawn between countries (man-made) or flags distinguishing nations or differences in skin color, language, ethnicity, and more, the immediate feeling I get is so much more expansive, liberating and united.  Reminds me of the quotation from Baha’u’llah: “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

If you get a chance to look at the photo with your children or classroom, you might talk about other implications of the differences between the two globes:  What might it mean for the way we distribute resources like water, food, oil & gas?  What might it mean for families living in poverty, usually living in the “global South” as far as seeking better opportunities?  Do the flags evoke a feeling of pride? Of labeling?  Can you imagine both “good” and “bad” coming from the labeling?  In what ways?  I’d love to hear back if you had any of these discussions around this picture!

Here’s what an astronaut who was on board an international space mission, and who happened to be from Saudi Arabia, said from his perch way above earth, seeing it as a not-so-big blue marble:

“The first day or two we all pointed to our countries.  The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents.  By the fifth day we were aware only of the Earth.”

If we can get beyond our labels, maybe our awareness will expand as well! I hope so…


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