A Parlour Game Where We Bet the Future of Others

The aim of this game is to learn some geography and some moral values.

The game is simple. Every time you use something around your home place and away from home, too, you find out where that thing and the materials and the energy to make it came from, and how it got to you.

Then you mark those places on the maps in your atlas and you write down five important things about those places and their people. You can make it a quiz game, and ask each other. Or call the neighbours or go on the web.

Food is a simple place to start. When preparing a meal or when shopping at the store, find out where each item came from and try to imagine how it did that. Did it start out on a mountain, was picked by hand, moved by mule, piled in a warehouse, trucked to a port, shipped by sea or by air, piled in another warehouse, trucked to your region, then brought by car to your place? Or what exactly was the story for each of those items?

Then you can divide up the items into groups. Came from a rich country or a poorer nation? Came from less than 100 kilometres, more than 1000 or more than 5000? You can make up scoring rules. More points for close-by sources. Penalties for distant sources and if fair market value was not paid to growers and workers.

You can make up rules for Olympic Champions. Making a full meal using only foods produced within 100 kilometres, except for spices and condiments, wins a semi-final. A full week without using anything from farther than 1000 kilometres, except communications, wins Olympic Gold.

Regardless of the prizes you win, you will learn a lot of geography, a lot about your fellow inhabitants of this earth and you will have the opportunity to establish your own moral position on many questions such as: should you get more points for using items that came from a far-away poorer country or from your own rich country? Or what does it do for your grandkids’ futures if rich western cultures continue to use up 85 % of the earth’s resources to satisfy such ‘needs’ as strawberries in February? Gain a more realistic vision of your “ecological footrint”.

Have fun! And let your grandkids into the game.


Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>