This is My Earth (TiME) (http://this-is-my-earth.org) is a new voluntary NGO that uses crowd funding to purchase privately own lands in biodiversity hotspots, providing them protection. TiME welcomes children to become members and use its website to vote for their preferred parcel to be conserved (following vetting by an international committee of experts) and thus decide for the organization where in the world it will purchase lands. This democratic and participatory platform provides adults and children the opportunity to become members of an international environmental organization. Using the PBL [=Problem Based Learning] pedagogical approach we are developing a workshop, based on the above inherited powers of the TiME approach, that will encourage children to adopt a sense of empowerment and critical thinking as they become activists for wildlife protection. We began by developing a lesson plan that includes a short presentation of the problem, group discussions about potential solutions, class debates regarding the optimal lands to be saved, and a class-wide democratic vote. Following this workshop we examined the level of awareness and attitude of the children towards activism and democratic position. We report here preliminary results as a preliminary database for developing an international TiME based lesson plan.
Participants [N=80] revealed a democratic orientaiton regarding land reservations and expressed strong affinity for activism and further conservation activities. Responses to the Likert scale-based questions, indicate considerable support for involvement, with endorcement of five actions recommended in the questionnaire: writing letters to governmental authorities, signing petitions, participation in demonstrations, organizing demonstrations, and donations. Donations received the highest support level while organizing a demonstration the lowest. It appears that the global habitat crisis presented to the students via the TiME platform triggers debate and critical thinking. The TiME website is emerging as an educational tool that offers a novel experience where teachers can harness curiosity and engagement in the learning process about conservation issues. Educators use TiME to explain basic conservation concepts and involve classes in discussions about environmental decision-making and associated ethical dilemmas, prioritization of conservation efforts and practical ways to protect nature.