Time travel through the history of the Earth

Deep Time Walk
United Kingdom (Edinburgh)

Take a virtual walk through space and time with a walking audio book that tells a new story of the Earth.

“If we can give people the felt experience of being inside the living Earth, perhaps that will encourage them to act in favour of it.” – Stephan Harding

Deep Time Walk enables anyone, anywhere, to experience a new story of the living Earth. Simply download the free app to walk the age of the Earth in a few kilometres in real time – that’s approximately 4.6 billion years in 4.6 km. As you walk, each metre represents one million years of Earth’s past.

Spoiler Alert: The entirety of human history from Homo Sapiens to the present day happens in the last 30 cm you walk, which should put things in perspective a bit.

During the dramatised walk between a scientist and a ‘fool’, you learn how Gaia, our Earth, evolved over this vast expanse of geological time. The dialogue explains complex topics and significant events, from the emergence of volcanoes to the first appearance of oxygen-producing photosynthesis. It is a learning journey through walking, a creative way of telling the story of the Earth and the story of Life; our own story.

There are 7.7 billion people alive today. That’s just a tiny fraction of the estimated 100 billion people who have lived and died over the past 50,000 years. But let’s put it in perspective: Earth is estimated to have been created 4.6 billion years ago; if the Earth were one year old, the first ‘hominid’, the Australopithecus, would be born on 31 December, the last day of the year, around 9pm. Homo Sapiens, supposedly us, would appear near midnight.

deep time walk

The Deep Time Walk can help us regenerate our relationship with time and with life. It can also help us to come to the understanding that there is no separation between us and Nature, that actually the Earth is our own flesh. It will help us understand where humans came from, what we are a part of and the destructive impact we are now having on the Earth’s complex climate in the blink of a geological eye.

Deep Time Walk was co-created at Schumacher College in 2007 by ecologist Dr Stephan Harding, Head of Holistic Science at the College, (pictured below) and his MSc student, the geologist Sergio Maraschin. As Stephan says: “Part of the problem we face now with respect to climate change is that people see the Earth as something external to themselves. It’s actually our wider body– a great, living being, inside which we live symbiotically.”

This is a ‘gift economy app,’ which means it is free to download without charge. There is no advertising, your usage is not tracked and they do not require registration. As such, it is a gift to the world. But the app was just the initial product from the Deep Time Walk project, and it has subsequently spawned other products such as the Deep Time Cards, Deep Time Line, Deep Time Script and Deep Time Audiobook.

Atlas FutureHero Kate Raworth has this to say about it: “Sometimes the biggest ideas arrive in the smallest packets – so if you want to hold the span of space and time in your hands, these beautiful, mind-stretching Deep Time Cards will show you the way.”

Are you ready to walk? Let’s ramble 4,6 km at a meditative pace, in a natural setting to increase the depth of your experience, to physically experience the true scale of the Earth’s history, but if you are not able to walk, a Mobility Assist Mode is available, so you can play the narration without walking.

Tip  Be aware of your immediate surroundings as you walk, particularly if you use this app whilst walking near roads or other areas.

AtlasAction: Deep Time Walk would be grateful for any donations to enable future development. Use the Donate button in the Information panel to pledge your support.

Submitted by

Robert Woodford

Written by

Oscar Marin (13 November 2020)

    Project leader

    Dr. Stephan Harding and Sergio Maraschin, creators

    Image created by Richard Bizley. Part of the Deep Time Cards available at deeptimewalk.org

    Creative Commons License

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