Engaging people in sustainability (over a cup of Yorkshire)

I have always thought that ‘seeing is believing’ when it comes to comprehending man’s impact on the environment and understanding what can be done to make a difference. Museums such as the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and At Bristol have effectively used this approach for many years. People like to see things for themselves and to make their own connections from the facts. With this in mind, you often see an increased interest in man’s likely impact on our planet after big natural disasters such as New Orleans and the recent floods in Queensland. However, it is often less easy to see the impact of man’s degradation on the natural environment until it is too late. Now and again we have a wake up call with a species becoming extinct like the Golden Toad in Costa Rica.

Increased weather disasters and the depletion of natural resources are part of this changing world we inhabit. We can’t keep taking from our planet in the way that we have become accustomed – there just aren’t enough fish left in the sea (or oil left in the ground) to meet our demand. The break point could be as near as 2050 when the main global oil reserves become depleted. Innovation, it is hoped, will increase as ‘stocks’ dwindle. We know that when commodities are scarce people become more resourceful. Therefore innovation should pique with new solutions to help us lead lives that are more in harmony with the planet in the next decade. Today I found inspiration in the most unlikeliest of places- from Yorkshire tea, yes that’s right the great British cuppa. They’ve decided to go out to people where tea is scarce in a US style road trip. Expat communities around the world can prepare themselves for the great Yorkshire tea ice-cream van – ‘little urn’. It’s not a bad idea for us environmentalists, why not have pop-up top ten tips stores and drive through Eco centres around the big cities to explain the simple changes you can make in your daily lives (and how these can impact on our planet). You might even get a free ‘seeing is believing’ cuppa!