A groundbreaking walking audio book project that brings to life the Earth’s 4.6 billion year story has launched a Heritage Lottery Fund-backed £20,000 crowdfunding appeal – to increase its impact in raising environmental awareness, help train future ecologists and encourage people to look after the planet.
Deep Time Walk is the world’s first interactive mobile app of its kind. It allows people to take a 4.6 kilometre walk – anywhere in the world – to learn and experience a detailed, dramatized journey of Earth’s Big History, from the planet’s formation to the present day.
By walking across Earth’s geological timeline – with every metre of the walk representing a million years – the app’s users gain a vivid perspective of the planet’s immense age. Afterwards, they can learn more and join with others to take positive environmental action.
Innovative technology and the latest geoscience evidence are combined with an entertaining narrative voiced by actors from television programmes and movies including Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Bill, Silent Witness, and Love Actually.
“Deep Time Walk is about creating a sense of awe and wonder. By demonstrating how the Earth is a precious living environment from which all life has emerged – and that all human history has unfolded in the blink of a geological eye – we want to inspire more people to take care of this special place we all call home,” said project leader Geoff Ainscow.
“We now need people’s help to take this exciting, cutting edge initiative for environmental awareness to a new level, and every pound given towards our crowdfunding appeal is being matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund up to £10,000.”
Raising £20,000 will enable Deep Time Walk to become a self-sustainable social enterprise – with profits reinvested and used to fund scholarships at Schumacher College, an international centre for nature-based learning located in Dartington, South Devon.
Funds will also enable the project to reach a larger global audience – including through a new website with opportunities for people to learn more and to take environmental action in their communities, and through a new video and expanded social media activities.
Rewards for crowdfunding supporters include packs of beautiful Strata Cards, designed with unique images matched to 100 million year periods of the Earth’s story – for use in walks and group discussions.
A highly acclaimed and respected team brought Deep Time Walk together. The app was co-created by Schumacher College’s Resident Ecologist Stephan Harding, inspired by an educational walk that he has been leading on Devon’s south coast for more than 10 years.
Dr. Harding, who has collaborated with high-profile scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock, wrote the script with Devon-based playwright Peter Oswald, former Playwright in Residence at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Jeremy Mortimer – producer of more than 200 BBC radio productions – directed the audio, with the engaging narrative brought to life by actors Chipo Chung, Paul Hilton and Peter Marinker.
The easy to use, beautifully designed and highly educational app can be downloaded onto a mobile phone, which can be then left in a pocket so that walkers enjoy their surroundings as part of an immersive experience.
The interactive experience uses the built-in pedometer on the phone to track the steps of a walker and guide them across Earth’s evolutionary timeline. There is also an audio setting available for people unable to do the walk. Once the app is downloaded, it can be used anywhere and no internet connection is needed.
Deep Time Walk’s crowdfunding appeal can be supported at crowdfunder.co.uk/deeptimewalk.
For the duration of the campaign, the Deep Time Walk app can be purchased for a 50 per cent discount on the standard price from deeptimewalk.org. The project is on Facebook at facebook.com/deeptimewalk and Twitter at @deeptimewalk.