We propose laying the groundwork for a large global multi-year project, PBD-UNAWE, that will advance 3 sustainable development goals – SDG 16 (Peace), SDG 4 (Education) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). PBD-UNAWE will use astronomy to inspire young children aged 6 to 8 by exposing them to the iconic photos of our earth as a “pale blue dot” in space.The rationale for PBD-UNAWE is encapsulated in 3 quotations by Carl Sagan:
1. “Fanatical ethnic or national chauvinisms are difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.” (SDG 6 – Peace).
2. “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. It makes clear our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and appreciate the pale blue dot” (SDG 13 – Climate).
3. “I wanted to be a scientist from my earliest school days. The crystallizing moment came when I first caught on that stars are mighty suns, and how staggeringly far away they must be to appear to us as mere points of light.” (SDG 4 – Education).
To prepare for the global project, we shall carry out a multidisciplinary pilot study in at least 2 countries, in collaboration with developmental psychologists and other relevant academic experts. This will investigate how the content and delivery of PBD-UNAWE can be optimized to have a lasting influence on the perspective, ideas and value systems of as many children as possible.
The PBD-UNAWE pilot study will build on Universe Awareness (www.unawe.org). It will include distribution of PBD photos of our planet, teacher training and suitable active play-material to illustrate the PBD-UNAWE message. During the pilot project, the effectiveness of various PBD-UNAWE delivery modes to stimulate young children’s global perspective and sense of awe will be studied and optimized and ways of funding a subsequent large global project will be explored.