A longer view

After each Deep Time Walk I lead I am buzzing with new thoughts and reflections about our beautiful planet. During a walk I led a couple of weeks ago in Elwood one participant remarked the experience made him realise how utterly absurd it is to complain when a train is 10 minutes late. Or indeed how absurd it is to complain about most of the day to day hiccups in our lives. The walk demonstrated that humankind have been around for such a tiny proportion of Earth’s existence, and that our own lives are so short compared to that of our species. This, in a clear, factual sense, was not news to this participant, but the immersive experience of a Deep Time Walk gave him a new perspective on time. My key reason for leading these walks is to convey a deep sense of wonder of our natural world, and strengthen individuals desire to protect it. However, using distance as a tool to understand the vast scales of time can be transformational in all sorts of ways. When I explain to participants that 4.6km on the walk represents 4.6 billion years, each millimetre represents a thousand years, and that our own maximum lifetime (100 years) is only one-tenth of a millimetre, this is often the first time they really come to grips with the vast age of our planet and how short our own participation is. This realisation can be tremendously liberating or completely overwhelming depending on how you look at it.

My next walk will be at CERES in East Brunswick on 25th July. I would love to share this experience with you.