Gutman and Tiger
In this animated, educational play for primary school kids, we follow Eco, a passionate young Rainbow Warrior, and Vusi, a lazy but well meaning 10 year old boy, as they go on a high-octane-planet-saving-action-adventure. After plenty of persuading, Eco manages to convince Vusi to accompany her on her big mission to rescue the endangered Bengal Tigers in Bangladesh from rising sea levels.
They get there in Eco’s amazing flying Greenhouse (powered by Imagination: a zero-carbon fuel of course…). In the jungle, Vusi meets a tiger who is furious about having her home flooded. He learns, to his dismay, that the real threat to the tigers and possibly everything else on our planet is GLOBAL WARMING and CLIMATE CHANGE and that we humans, with our wasteful lifestyles, are causing the problem!!
If that weren’t enough, and still reeling from this new information, he then has to escape the clutches of Greedy Gutman, a selfish, polluting villain bent on crazy consumerism.
With Eco’s help, they manage to escape and return home where Vusi finds himself a changed boy. Although at first he’s shocked by the knowledge that his lifestyle is adding to the dangerous heating of the earth, Eco makes him see that he is also part of the solution.
He ends the play feeling empowered and triumphant that there are small things he can do every day to help save the tigers and, more importantly, Save the World! Together, Vusi and Eco enlist the help of the audience in finding ways to STOP, THINK and SAVE ENERGY.
About the Play and Climate Change Action Programme
This short, hour long play and interactive workshop, forms part of our Climate Change Action Programme for primary schools. ‘Gutman and Tiger’ was originally created in the UK in 2002 as a roadshow.
It was so successful that Save Our World www.save-our-world.org.uk, the commissioning NGO, secured funding to develop it further as part of a schools initiative called The Climate Change Action Programme. Kyla was part of the original UK team and, in 2008, she and Well Worn reworked the play and Action Programme to suit a South African context
The Programme consists of 3 visits to the school:
- A pre-meeting with teachers, staff and parents in which the issues and importance of Climate Change, Global Warming and ‘what you can do to help’ are discussed.
- The Play (aimed at grades 3-7), in which learners will comprehensively gain knowledge of a number of concepts including Climate Change, Global Warming, Greenhouse Gasses and Energy Efficiency.
- A Follow-On session a month or so later in which the characters from the show return for a visit to see how the school and pupils are getting on with their energy-saving promises.
We decided to sandwich the play between these two meetings because we do not want our message to go in one ear and out the other. The most important point regarding the programme (and the message of the play) is sustainability: in thought and deed. We are encouraging the kids, teachers and schools to change their behaviour.
To rethink their whole approach towards energy and waste and our collective impact on the earth. We therefore want to have several visits to the school in order to support that behaviour change.
We find the play to be very effective in communicating a complicated subject to children. They come away with an increased awareness of Climate Change; all the difficulties surrounding the issue and, most importantly, feeling empowered to do something about it.
It is our intention to never leave a school feeling gloomy and helpless but rather inspired and positive and motivated that they can turn this challenge into an opportunity for growth and positive personal, social, environmental and economic development. We find this work particularly inspiring in South Africa, where we already inherently understand the spirit of pulling together to make something better….
‘Gutman and Tiger’ has so far been performed at 5 schools in Johannesburg: Wendywood Primary, Brakpan Primary, Montrose Primary, Parkview Senior School and Woodlands International College. All 5 schools are participating in the Climate Change Action Programme.
We are planning another run of the Climate Change Action Programme in September this year. Please get in touch immediately if you want your school to participate. Your school would benefit greatly from our programme and, if you have been thinking of implementing an eco- plan of your own, we would be an excellent support for your ideas and can offer valuable advice and consultation.
Some other monkey business
As well as Gutman and Tiger, Well Worn has been responsible for these lively acts of Climate Activism throughout the year:
- National Climate Change Summit
- Global Day of Action
- Fossil Fools Day
We collaborated with Earthlife Africa Jhb www.earthlife.org.za to build their stall at the National Climate Change Summit in March 2009, turning it into a tongue-in-cheek Carbon Confessional where guilty souls could come and purge their Energy Sins. We even had then-president Kgalema Motlanthe come and confess!
As well as this, we strategically placed a few ‘Climate Refugee’ walkabout characters around the conference, highlighting some of the devastating effects that Climate Change will have on South Africa. Delegates met the ‘Windy Lady’ who was being blown away by tremendous winds, ‘Frogman’ who’s home had been flooded by rising seas and ‘Scorched Farmer’ who’s mielie crop was affected by terrible droughts.
Delegates were also confronted by a pack of beggars, begging the conference to deliver on sustainable energy promises. The characters really brought some life and humour to the summit and got people talking.
In 2008, we helped The Greenhouse Project www.greenhouse.org.za organize the South African arm of the Global Day of Action.
Although it was not the huge rally that took place on the streets of London or Sydney, it was a wonderful community event at Alexandra Children’s library where kids painted a stunning Global Warming mural, ate vegetarian hotdogs cooked on Solar Cookers and learned about the Greenhouse Effect by going inside our giant greenhouse
On 1st April 2009, we celebrated Fossil Fools Day, again in collaboration with Earthlife Africa Jhb, by presenting Sasol with the Fossil Fool of the year award, for being one of South Africa’s biggest polluters and emitters of Carbon Dioxide, a Greenhouse Gas that causes Global Warming.
Our award was accompanied by a very noisy, very ridiculous protest outside their headquarters in Rosebank, Johannesburg.