It all began with a dream, literally… a dream. “The typical bizarre dream in which things change willy-nilly” says Grian Cutanda, founder of The Avalon Project and creator of The Earth Stories Collection.
As he describes, people in his dream were “sowing” tides, getting in and out of the ground of a sandy beach, as human roots. “My head has been in a state of creative flow: “THE EARTH STORIES COLLECTION,” he wrote in his “dream logbook.”
After these images from Cutanda’s dream, he came with the idea that he needed to create a “global bank of cultural seeds,” similar to what the Global Seed Vault does, by keeping agricultural seeds to safeguard the biodiversity of food crop species in the event of a global crisis.
This global bank of “cultural seeds” would be a repository of traditional stories to serve as a store of educational resources for the transmission of a systemic worldview with the purpose of avoiding the collapse of our civilization in the event of a global crisis.
On this quest, Cutanda, who is a writer, researcher, educator, psychologist and Earth Charter Affiliate, joined a team of academics from the University of Granada, the National University of Distance Learning in Spain (UNED) and the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), to gather a list of more than 2,000 myths, legends and traditional tales described by many leaders of the twentieth-century as “the building blocks of culture and civilisation.”
First selection published
For this first collection of Earth Stories, they selected 336 that appear to be strongly capable of conveying a complex-systems worldview and the values of the Earth Charter. These narrations are from 87 different nations, 102 cultures and 20 spiritual traditions from five continents.
On their website you can sort through all the stories by the issues they deal with, by the nation or culture they are from, by the themes they talk about or by their link to the Earth Charter.
“Framing all these stories through the framework of the Earth Charter gives them a special value. The Earth Charter is the only truly global document produced by the international community. Its formulation and writing involved tens of thousands of people from all over the planet, from innumerable cultures and traditions, agreeing on a common set of values. In this way, the Earth Charter represents the best ethical reference for global human society in the 21st century,” describes Cutanda.
The Earth Stories Collections also collaborates with a global network of storytelling activists who, among other tasks, will spread the stories of The Earth Stories Collection in their events and groups. This initiative was proposed by Dr. Donald Smith, founder and first director of the National Theatre of Scotland and director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
If you are interested in getting involved with The Earth Stories Collection you can:
- Donate to preserve this ancestral legacy of humanity for future generations.
- Bring more stories from your culture, tradition or simply from a nation on the planet that contribute some myth, legend, fable or folktale that you think can illustrate some principle or section of the Earth Charter. You can fill this form.
- Translate stories to other languages.
To learn more about Grian Cutanda and The Avalon Project click here.