World Thinking Day 2018: Impact Compass No.5

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Learning outcome: Understand why trees are so important for a sustainable environment.


Preparation: You will need a piece of rope about three metres long or a piece of chalk.
Make a circle with the rope or chalk (large enough for the group to run around in) and ask everyone to sit inside it.


Ask the group:
• What do cars use to generate the power they need to get from A to B? (the answer is petrol)
• What is released when cars burn petrol? (the answer is carbon dioxide).

Petrol is made from the carbon that is trapped in oil. We don’t only use fossil fuels to power our cars and planes but also to power our homes, factories, businesses and schools. Trees absorb carbon, but when we are also cutting down or burning forests they can’t absorb it quickly enough. Hence, a layer under the atmosphere is created which traps heat from the sun, and helps change the earth’s climate.

Tell the group that the circle represents the atmosphere and they are all carbon particles. Select one youth member to act as a tree and attempt to capture the carbon particles as they move around the atmosphere. Once a carbon particle is trapped they become part of the tree and part of a forest and help capture other carbon particles. Keep playing until most – but not all – of the particles have been captured (the trees can’t remove all the carbon from our atmosphere).

Ask the group:
• Do members find it easier to capture the carbon particles when there are more trees?
• What effect do they think deforestation will have on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere?

Apart from planting more trees, discuss what positive action and changes they think they can take to help reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. (Ask them to think back to how they travel around!)

This activity was contributed by WWF. Inspire and motivate your group to change things for the better with WWF’s fantastic badge scheme, ‘Green Ambassadors 4 Youth’ which offers a series of creative fun activities that will enable your group to explore the links between wildlife, the environment and our lifestyles. Find out more and register your group:


  • world thinking day
  • world thinking day / Board Game / Guiding Knowledge
  • world thinking day 2018

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