Students Perform Earth Song at UNESCO 70th Anniversary

UCLA Lab School students helped celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) with their performance of “The Earth Song” at a gala event held at the Skirball Cultural Center. The song, a heartfelt entreaty to take care of our planet, was written by Music Demonstration Teacher Nick Kello. (Click on the video to watch the performance.)

A Gathering to Advance Global Learning About the Environment

Featured at the event was UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. She was welcomed by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and introduced by Los Angeles Mayor and UCLA Lab School alumnus Eric Garcetti (’84).

The celebration also featured a formal announcement of the establishment of the UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education. The Chair will advance the work being done at UCLA to understand and improve global learning and citizenship and its importance in protecting the environment. As part of this effort, UCLA Lab School and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will work on developing a new initiative in children’s environmental education.

“Improving global education and citizenship is critical to reducing poverty and inequality and key to protecting the environment. This new collaboration will greatly boost the efforts of UCLA to bring global citizenship education to a new level of excellence, rigor and relevance,” said UCLA Ed& IS Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.

That Pale Blue Dot? It’s Home.

The students’ performance began with a huge projected image of the last photo of the Earth taken by Voyager 1, from a record 3.7 billion miles away. Three frames, each using a different color filter — blue, green and violet — were combined to produce the image that became the Pale Blue Dot. Of the 640,000 individual pixels that compose each frame, Earth takes up less than one pixel (0.12 pixel, according to NASA).

The image was taken at the urging of astronomer Carl Sagan and others, and as students assembled onstage, a recording of Sagan’s words echoed through the room:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives […] – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. […] To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” (Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1997)