Save the earth: when shadows speak louder than words

Climate change. Two words that have become staple ingredients in our daily news feed. Words that point towards the darker side of our existence on planet Earth. Yet darkness can also enlighten and educate, as ‘Save the Earth!’ by Ukrainian shadow theatre group ‘Fireflies’ beautifully reveals.

Fireflies shadow theater 'Save the Earth!'
Fireflies shadow theater ‘Save the Earth!’ (photo: video still)


It’s a name that speaks for itself: ‘Fireflies’. During twilight, these small, winged beetles produce light through bioluminescence to communicate. In the Ukraine, a team that has been working in the genre of shadow theatre since 2010, carries the same name and with good reason. Not only do their productions fully depend on the contrast between light and darkness, they also share socially significant messages.

One of these messages – Save the Earth! – particularly resonates today, on Earth Day. The short production explores the themes of creation, destruction and healing with regard to the environment. The performance is poignantly set to Michael Jackson’s timeless ‘Earth Song’, which laments the senseless loss of life on planet Earth.

Custodians of life

In Save the Earth! no words are needed to show what lies ahead if we continue to walk the environmental path we have chosen.  The earth we share with our fellow creatures, big and small, the air we breathe into our lungs, the future we give to our children: we, ourselves, are the custodians of life.

For this reason, Earth Day 2017, which is celebrated in more than 192 countries this year, campaigns for environmental and climate literacy. Only those who learn to read the signs will be empowered to take action in defense of the magnificent blue planet we live on.

In this respect, Save the Earth! serves as a gentle reminder that, sometimes, shadows speak louder than words. “Did you ever stop to notice this crying earth, this weeping shore?” Jackson can be heard singing in the background. Perhaps all is not lost if we stop, reflect, and make a change.

© Annemarie Latour


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