A joint initiative of

2.
Prelude: an extract from Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit	

4

	

I. The 21st century and the challenges ahead	

6

	

I...
There are times when it seems as though not only the future but the present
is dark: few recognise what a radically transf...
Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not
guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible...
6.
Our lives will change in the years ahead in ways that may not totally
be within our control, but in ways that we can influ...
Eden Project exhibits, our educational programmes and our events
address many of these issues, and increasingly we have al...
9.
10.
Every day we use plants from every continent. We eat them, drink
them, take them as medicine, clothe ourselves with them, ...
Most of us in the developed world now live in happy ignorance of
the processes and people that bring us the amazing produc...
13.
We currently employ 500 people all the year round in real jobs. In
our first year of operation 2 million people visited us...
When we started on this journey, we did some field research. We
went to the other science parks, museums and galleries and...
Each exhibit has behind it mountains of data about the history,
botany, politics, science, economic significance, myths an...
17.
18.
We recently undertook a review of the Eden Project guides, observing
them at work, and as a result developed a kind of ‘tr...
So this is the balance we try to strike between ‘sense’ and ‘sensibility’,
between information and experience. We don’t al...
21.
Much existing interpretation employs the values and approaches
in the left-hand column. Indeed if you want to educate to a...
23.
24.
What do you remember about your childhood? Making dens, climbing
trees, playing outdoors with friends perhaps? What did it...
Play occurs in all cultures and persists in the most adverse
circumstances; a drive to play is innate. However:
‘Children’...
27.
Open-ended learning through play is linked to psychological,
personal and social development, as well as the acquisition o...
29.
Without play children may lose the chance to develop their emotional
intelligence, independence, self-esteem and self-conf...
Through play children develop a range of skills that equip them
for life; physical skills, language and social skills, pos...
32.
These were the interpretation principles we developed at Eden
Project, which informed our choices:
•	 We want to generate	...
•	 We won’t cover the site with text, which can actually stop people
from experiencing things. Apart from the purely factu...
35.
36.
•	 The deeper levels of information and understanding will be
delivered by

– Guides, Storytellers and Pollinators.

•	 We...
you can collect excellent data or narrative, and at the same time
enroll people in the most compelling way, by encouraging...
39.
40.
•	 The questions and approaches should be tailored to the outcome
or audience. It’s good to devise questions that are open...
•	 Plan the session well to create an
•	 Images and artifacts are useful to
•	 Use 	
	

	

	

techniques – 	

	

	

	

	

...
43.
At Eden, we started with possibly the most exciting challenge in
the world: to find new ways of communicating the intimacy...
45.
46.
The idea was to make the process as open-ended, open-minded
and creative as possible. The artists were then assigned to pa...
Working with artists means that their exhibits tend to feel
handmade and friendly, human – they have handprints all over t...
It seeks to deliver an unambiguous, one-size-fits-all message to
everyone. This position is increasingly inappropriate, be...
50.
We have used artists –

– to create the exhibits at Eden, because they are uniquely equipped
to make experiences that are ...
•	 	

	

	

        will often determine choice of medium –

a good starting point for selection of artists.
•	 	

	

	

	...
•	 It’s important to issue a 	

	

      or 	

	

	

	

when you move to commission, detailing timescales, budget,
preferr...
54.
We used these questions, printed on tiny cards, for two of our public
talks in Brisbane. These cards had originally been p...
•	 What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
•	 You can choose 3 things to put in a box that will vanish from the world f...
57.
58.

Sue Hill (far right)
The objective of the workshop was to introduce Brisbane City Council
staff to a range of creative community engagement tec...
All activities and timings for the training workshop were carefully
planned well ahead of the event. This is important to ...
9:00-9:15
9:15-9:30
9:30-10:15

10:15-10:45
10:45-11:15
(11:30)
11:15-12:00

Warm-up: ‘Bingo’
Introductions & ‘housekeepin...
62.
Approximately 70 participants attended Day 1. This is a large group
for this kind of workshop, which works best with 30-40...
64.
At the start of an event, people tend to gravitate towards the same
familiar groups of people they know and work with. Thi...
•	 Travel naively – we won’t be telling you the plan for the day.
•	 You will go through a series of activities that will ...
67.
To understand what we remember and why as a key to developing the
strategies for interpretation and engagement that are mo...
Eden and Sue have now played this game with thousands of people.
Everyone’s story is different but there are always consis...
•	 	

	

	

– for human effort, skill, imagination, whether

exercised by marathon runner, mother, engineer, artist.
•	 	
...
71.
Nobody ever talks about the fantastic text panel, or the touch
screen technology.
They don’t talk about the ice cream.
The...
73.
74.
This exercise takes an everyday product – a cup of coffee – and then asks
participants to connect it with ideas of environ...
Natural

c

i
Econom
Who
ecides?
D

Social

76.
A1 or bigger paper (e.g. flip chart paper), thick and thin textas. Copious coffee!

The complexity of the trails revealed ...
A ten-minute game to spark a discussion on diversity; ways different people see
the world and also have different ways of ...
79.
80.

Jane Knight (left)
We often work with the past as a way of understanding people’s
attachments, values and understanding of a place. Imagining...
Work in groups of 4-5 to create an idealized State of Brisbane in 20
years’ time in a roasting tin with the materials prov...
•	 Corrugated card (cardboard boxes are fine)
•	 Interesting, clean, safe rubbish – eggboxes, plastic pots and food
contai...
Green River City

Organica

Yummavilia

84.

Sol

Brisneyland

Chillax
These were the fantastic island cities that were made during the
workshop:

A clean, green (vertical and horizontal), inte...
Almajaluste

Harmony

86.

Edenville

State of Hope

Slow Movement Community

Sun CBD
An iconic city known for its excellent eggplant curry. With controlled
population numbers, it places emphasis on culture a...
Reflection on the day is important for the workshop leaders to
evaluate the day and plan for Day 2. This was done in the o...
•	 BSQ break-out areas are clinical – why not have a blackboard?
•	 Authenticity was the thing that really stood out – but...
90.
These exercises emphasise our shared human-ness – with lot’s of eye
contact, gentle physical contact and no experts.

Base...
92.
Themes were extracted from the ‘islands’ exercise on Day 1 (see
complete list in Appendix 4.3). These are now topics to de...
Who are the audiences (a nicer word than stakeholders and those who
have agency) for any engagement, interpretation or com...
It is often surprising how many groups are identified as potential
audiences for any environmental education or awareness ...
96.
Building on the work on Day 1, how do we get from today to the utopian islands
at the end of the room? We need to develop ...
98.
At Eden, we invite people to take things personally.
‘If not me, then who? If not now, when?’
This exercise is a light-hea...
You have 10 minutes to make a model (an avatar) of yourself; you as
a super-hero. You’ve just done the ‘Road Map’ exercise...
101.
Some of the feedback from Facilitators at the end of the
Training Workshops:
•	 Cross-pollination – working across teams –...
103.
•	 Connected green space through city – from forests to beach and ocean,
dramatic vegetation, 60% vegetation cover.
•	 Roo...
•	 Spiritual retreats – places for quiet reflection, tolerant of diversity of
belief, iconic.
•	 Living with a low-carbon ...
106.
2009 – people make a pledge for more sustainable housing – think tank – learning
from nature (waterfall) – natural materia...
108.
Bad food – huge and growing population – ‘house me, feed me”. Policy barrier
– development encroaching on agricultural lan...
110.
‘Road map’ set in city of Bitumane. Lots of confusion and disagreement –
some think they know where we should be going and...
112.
People have forgotten how to have fun. Biggest hurdle is tunnel vision and middleaged men who don’t know (or have forgotte...
114.
A big topic. Public apathy and disempowerment. Build networks – to share –
Community festivals. Amid the ‘fog of illiterac...
Tony Kendle, Eden’s Foundation Director, hates Top Tens. So he wrote these…

There is no shortage of lists of ‘how to

And...
‘Whoever has the most when he dies, wins.’

things that really matter.

- Other People’s Money

A good education would mea...
One of the reasons it is great to do

Most importantly, who decides to design towns

everything you can do is that it lets...
And this is a simple skill you can work on. Read

If it makes you lose the will to live then bin it - but

books that are ...
The other thing that is changing rapidly
in our lives is that people have much less

And maybe that helps to explain why c...
And the language makes it worse. Have you ever

live with less than we do have less fun. In fact the

read a Sustainable D...
Brisbane City Council
Information
GPO Box 1434
Brisbane Qld 4001

Printed on recycled paper

© Brisbane City Council 2009
...
Eden in Brisbane: Engaging community in sustainability
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Eden in Brisbane: Engaging community in sustainability

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A handbook on techniques for community engagement, created for a two-day training workshop in Brisbane led by the Eden Project in 2009.

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Eden in Brisbane: Engaging community in sustainability

  1. 1. A joint initiative of 2.
  2. 2. Prelude: an extract from Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit 4 I. The 21st century and the challenges ahead 6 II. Interpretation at the Eden Project 11 III. Minds-On: Hearts-On 22 Interlude: Why it’s important to play 25 I. Eden’s interpretation principles 33 II. Eden’s community engagement principles 38 III. Working with artists: the Eden approach 44 Interlude: the Heart and Soul of Rock ‘n’ Roll (a questionnaire) 54 I. The point of what we did 58 II. The programme 60 III. Exercises and outcomes 62 IV. Brisbane: Islands and ‘Road Maps’ 104 3.
  3. 3. There are times when it seems as though not only the future but the present is dark: few recognise what a radically transformed world we live in, one that has been transformed not only by such nightmares as global warming or global capital, but by dreams of freedom, of justice, and transformed by things we could not have dreamed of. What accretion of incremental, imperceptible changes made them possible, and how did they come about? And so we need to hope for the realisation of our own dreams, but also to recognise a world that will remain wilder than our imaginations. Cause and effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. Sometimes one person inspires a movement, or her words do decades later; sometimes a few passionate people change the world; sometimes they start a mass movement and millions do; sometimes those millions are stirred by the same outrage or the same ideal, and change comes upon us like a change of weather. All that these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk. I say all this because hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on a sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say it because hope is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. 4.
  4. 4. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope. Anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it. Though there is no lottery ticket for the lazy and the detached, for the engaged there is a tremendous gamble for the highest stakes right now. I say this to you not because I haven’t noticed that the US has strayed close to destroying itself and its purported values in pursuit of empire in the world and the eradication of democracy at home, that our civilisation is close to destroying the very nature on which we depend – the oceans, the atmosphere, the uncounted species of plant and insect and bird. I say it because I have noticed that wars will break out, the planet will heat up, species will die out, but how many, how hot and what survives depends on whether we act. The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as the grave. Stories trap us, stories free us, we live and die by stories, but hearing people talk of [the certainty of despair] is hearing them tell themselves a story they believe is being told to them. What other stories can be told? How do people recognise that they have the power to be storytellers, not just listeners? Hope is the story of uncertainty, of coming to terms with the risk involved in not knowing what comes next, which is more demanding than despair and, in a way, more frightening. And immeasurably more exciting. We thank Rebecca Solnit for permission to reprint these edited extracts from her book Hope in the Dark: The Untold History of People Power, published by Canongate Books. 5.
  5. 5. 6.
  6. 6. Our lives will change in the years ahead in ways that may not totally be within our control, but in ways that we can influence. This century is going to demand the best of us. It will demand the best of our innovation and imagination, our justice, our creativity, our community resilience, our humanity. We will need flexible, innovative, inspired and strong individuals and communities, ready to respond to the best of their abilities to the challenges ahead and fully aware of the need to support each other. We will need to examine our core values, and place the worth of things above the costs of things. 7.
  7. 7. Eden Project exhibits, our educational programmes and our events address many of these issues, and increasingly we have also increased the opportunities for community groups, local and national, to use us as a meeting and learning place and as a stage to let their voices be heard, to express their values, hopes and ambitions for the future. We see this work as having national, and international, relevance but it has its roots in Cornwall – our community. This is a county that has seen great wealth come and go, intimately related to natural resources; it is a county that encompasses the extremes of natural beauty and dereliction; it is a county rich in creativity and with a strong sense of identity; it is a county with a strong history of invention and enterprise; it is a county that has seen the industries that helped define that identity collapse leaving fractured communities and a devastated economic base behind. The Cornwall experience therefore has much to say about the challenges of radical transformation and change, of sustainable use of resources, and of how communities find the strength and inspiration to move forwards. Eden Project is also open to ideas, voices and inspiration from people across the globe that have been working to solve the challenge of how the future might be better than it could be – and finding real solutions that deserve to be shared. Our partnership with Brisbane City Council is teaching us much about what a 21st-century city might look like, and about the values and behaviours we will need to propagate for our communities to survive and thrive. 8.
  8. 8. 9.
  9. 9. 10.
  10. 10. Every day we use plants from every continent. We eat them, drink them, take them as medicine, clothe ourselves with them, build our furniture and houses with them, perfume ourselves with them. They put colour in our fabrics and our food, they make up most of our paper and packaging. They stop us from getting pregnant and from getting our feet wet. They intoxicate us; they give us cancer when we smoke them. And even things we think aren’t made of plants – oil, petrol, coal, plastics – have their origins in the great primeval forests. 11.
  11. 11. Most of us in the developed world now live in happy ignorance of the processes and people that bring us the amazing products that give us our standard of living. And the cost of this ignorance is an irresponsible, inequitable and unsustainable use of the world’s resources. We care not what the life expectancy of a banana plantation worker is, poisoned by pesticides, providing we can have cheap bananas. We must have chocolate, not understanding that the price of our sweet tooth is many acres of rainforest turned over to cocoa plantation, some of it harvested by child slave labour. We no longer respect the seasons, expecting mange tout peas to be flown to us from Africa in midwinter. We have become disconnected in a fundamental way from nature and natural processes and cycles. This is not healthy. In the gentlest of ways, without making people feel depressed or guilty, at the Eden Project we are inviting people to engage with these ideas, to celebrate our dependence on nature and on each other, and to start recognising the power and responsibility we have to respect our resources and share them. So this then is the content of the Eden Project, its meaning. But it has another healing mission too: the regeneration of our home, Cornwall. We have taken a big hole in the ground, stabilised it, drained it, landscaped and planted it, and given it a contemporary role and meaning. 12.
  12. 12. 13.
  13. 13. We currently employ 500 people all the year round in real jobs. In our first year of operation 2 million people visited us, four times what was expected. It is estimated that more than £900 million has now been put back into the local economy. New businesses have started and are thriving, many picking up on Eden themes of sustainability; restaurants cooking and serving locally grown food, recycling companies collecting and processing waste, other gardens opening to the public, plant nurseries growing unfamiliar plants associated with familiar products – bananas, coffee, papaya – for people to buy and nurture at home. We talked about the nature of experience, learning and behaviour change, and the relationship of emotion to these things. 14.
  14. 14. When we started on this journey, we did some field research. We went to the other science parks, museums and galleries and watched visitors’ behaviour around the exhibits. We watched people not reading text panels. We watched people not watching films, no matter how beautifully produced. We saw a child playing with one of those interactive exhibits in the London Aquarium. You had to push the right buttons and the display panel would light up showing you where fish lived, or what they ate, or some such. He was having a great time hitting the red buttons, but no connection was being made with the content of the exhibit. But we saw the same child later queuing to touch the back of a real stingray in a pool. We started playing the ‘Day Out’ game inviting people to describe encounters and experiences that had stayed with them, changed them in some way (see ‘A Day Out’). At Eden we have taken the idea of these transformative moments and turned them to the purposes of education. And now we have to unpick our assumptions about what constitutes education. 15.
  15. 15. Each exhibit has behind it mountains of data about the history, botany, politics, science, economic significance, myths and legends of the plant in question. And the temptation when you have this knowledge in the bank is to tell it all, to transmit it. But that isn’t education. In a world where information is only a Google mouse-click away, it seems less and less important to focus our resources and visitors’ time on the delivery of pure facts. Understanding patterns, making connections with one’s own life, provoking curiosity seem much more significant. And sometimes simply getting out of the way, resisting the temptation to mediate, to interpret, to tell… 16.
  16. 16. 17.
  17. 17. 18.
  18. 18. We recently undertook a review of the Eden Project guides, observing them at work, and as a result developed a kind of ‘triage’, a hierarchy for the content they might deliver. Here are some examples to illustrate the different levels. At the bottom level is the meaningless buzz of irrelevant information. One guide told us, ‘Spain produces 12 million litres of olive oil a year.’ This fact is only remotely interesting if you are an olive oil producer. And if you are you probably already know it. Delete. Next comes information that carries a freight of understanding or revelation. For example: ‘The amount of government subsidy received by cotton farmers in the USA is greater than the entire GNP of Burkina Faso, whose main export is cotton.’ Highest in the hierarchy comes stories that bring human content, create empathy, carry an emotional charge of some kind… ‘An Aid NGO was engaged in work in Senegal. In one village the women had to walk 6 kilometres to the nearest safe well to fetch water. The NGO sank a borehole right in the middle of the village. Two weeks later it had been vandalised. They returned and repaired the damage. Two weeks later it happened again. Mystified they returned to the village to find out what was going on. The women were vandalising the borehole. The 6km walk to the well was the only time they had to themselves, away from the demands of their children and menfolk. At the well they would rest, talk, tell stories, gossip.’ This story gives us that precious thing, a window on other people’s lives, and a reminder not to assume that everyone else shares our values and our conceptual framework. 19.
  19. 19. So this is the balance we try to strike between ‘sense’ and ‘sensibility’, between information and experience. We don’t always get it right, but it’s a very interesting process… And some visitors want factual content. The gardeners who visit would like every single plant specimen labelled. We choose not to label everything, on the basis that we would end up with a veritable graveyard of labels. So we’re experimenting with other ways of targeting this information – booklets, people, web-pages, even audio guides. On the other hand we are extremely opportunistic in our appropriation of every available encounter or transaction as a means of engaging and communicating. 20.
  20. 20. 21.
  21. 21. Much existing interpretation employs the values and approaches in the left-hand column. Indeed if you want to educate to a specific output (e.g. knowing how to re-wire a plug or the detailed processes of photo-synthesis) you will need to use some of this more linear toolkit. However if you seek to create a fertile learning environment, the right-hand side becomes more interesting. 22. This binary list was created by Dr Ian Russell, tor. leading science educator and exhibit inven
  22. 22. 23.
  23. 23. 24.
  24. 24. What do you remember about your childhood? Making dens, climbing trees, playing outdoors with friends perhaps? What did it do for you? Fond memories possibly but play has also helped all of us to become more rounded citizens; happy, fulfilled, able to interact with others, communicate, understand our environment and live, survive and contribute to a positive society. Today more children play indoors rather than out and take part in solitary rather than social activities, children are suffering from stress, are less fit and parents are concerned about safety … so how on earth can they learn the things we learnt through play as children? The situation is getting serious. 25.
  25. 25. Play occurs in all cultures and persists in the most adverse circumstances; a drive to play is innate. However: ‘Children’s natural propensity to play has been impaired by the loss of suitable public space, the impact of technology, such as television, the personal computer and the motor car, and the changing attitude of society towards children, reflected, for instance, in the increase in parental anxiety about child safety. Play provision should compensate for this loss.’ – Best Play, National Playing Fields Association, Play Link, Children’s Play Council. (2000) 26.
  26. 26. 27.
  27. 27. Open-ended learning through play is linked to psychological, personal and social development, as well as the acquisition of skills and knowledge. ‘A Swedish comparative study of “standard” v “outdoors in all weathers” nurseries shows significant differences in child development: children were less sick, motor development was more advanced, power of concentration was heightened, play activities were more diverse, especially in the affective, imaginative and social domains.’ – Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University. Through play children explore social, material and imaginary worlds and their relationship with them, elaborating all the while a flexible range of responses to challenges they encounter. Good play experiences support the development of autonomous adults, with a strong sense of personal identity, who are effective in society as parents, workers, informed consumers and active citizens. 28.
  28. 28. 29.
  29. 29. Without play children may lose the chance to develop their emotional intelligence, independence, self-esteem and self-confidence, acquisition of self-management skills and much more. Eden aims to reconnect people with the natural world, and each other, working towards a positive future for all. Our children will soon be the decision makers in this world so it is vital that we provide dedicated inspirational experiences for them on site. Eden is not only a vehicle for education and communication but also explores ways in which people learn and develop. We aim to share this knowledge with educators, museums, science centres, botanic gardens, schools etc. That is, all those involved in formal and informal education. Research has shown that knowledge alone does not lead to behaviour change and that changing values alone does not lead to behaviour change. What does work is connectivity, re-connectivity, experience and participation. Play is the first step. 30.
  30. 30. Through play children develop a range of skills that equip them for life; physical skills, language and social skills, positive attitudes, increased concentration, tolerance, perseverance and much more. Through play children learn how to learn, how to solve problems, how to string bits of behaviour together. 31.
  31. 31. 32.
  32. 32. These were the interpretation principles we developed at Eden Project, which informed our choices: • We want to generate in our visitors. To provoke joy and curiosity. To break through cynicism. • We want to make exhibits and spaces that will generate as well as excitement and inspiration. • We will try to encourage rather than just transmitting facts, to illuminate connections between our daily choices, and the effects those choices might have on the planet and our futures. • We want the exhibits to be and friendly, made of tactile materials. With such sensational cutting-edge architecture, we don’t need to convince anyone that we are modern/scientific etc. • We want the visitors to be active, navigating the site in their own way, making their own joining things up. Some things will remain unmediated. • We want the exhibits to be provoking comment and conversation, not one person at a time interacting with a screen or panel. 33.
  33. 33. • We won’t cover the site with text, which can actually stop people from experiencing things. Apart from the purely factual text (e.g. plant labels) we will play with other forms: • We want to the exhibits into the landscape and planting, so that people don’t feel they are walking through a museum or a sculpture park. • It is counter-productive to make people feel guilty or preached at, so as far as possible we will celebrate the good things that are happening rather than focusing on the bad. • Nudge rather than bully! How do you make people do what you want them to if you don’t believe in bossing them around? (The example given in the book Nudge is taken from Amsterdam airport. You can’t ban men from peeing on the bathroom floor, but you can encourage them to indulge in a little point-and-shoot play by printing a small fly on the urinals!) • will be a key part of our toolkit. • The art will be accessible but not dumb; nobody should be made to feel stupid by it. We will play with (hence narrative automata, storytelling, puppetry etc). 34. forms
  34. 34. 35.
  35. 35. 36.
  36. 36. • The deeper levels of information and understanding will be delivered by – Guides, Storytellers and Pollinators. • We will make visible our own processes as models for good practice – – local sourcing, use of recyclates, water harvesting etc. • We will create opportunities for visitors to in a meaningful way, contributing their stories, ideas and opinions to the mix. The most powerful and memorable experiences are created when people place themselves in the frame. And after all, if we are seeking behavioural change in order to live within our means on our planet, then encouraging activity rather than passivity is a vital part of our toolkit. • There will be an emphasis on , ephemeral installations, events and exhibits, expressing change and seasonality. • We will be a place of , non-corporate and without a party-line on controversial issues. Our tone of voice will be questioning rather than assertive. We will not provide badge or advertising space for sponsors, guarding our independent stance. • will play a significant role in the rhythms of our year. 37.
  37. 37. you can collect excellent data or narrative, and at the same time enroll people in the most compelling way, by encouraging them to contribute their ideas or opinions. We are increasingly becoming involved in public consultation and engagement processes and have been evolving a series of principles for creating stimulating environments in which people feel more confident at expressing their true feelings, opinions and beliefs: • Most of the professional and proprietary engagement tools are very direct – asking questions like: They often only engage the usual suspects; the people who would make their voices heard anyway. A sideways approach is more creative and stimulates a broader response and we have found is more likely to lead to community cohesion and a willingness to change/work together. • Different types of engagement are appropriate at different stages in a project. is a great way to kick off a consultation process. A community event that creates cohesion and team spirit before dealing with the harder questions. This will be particularly important for resource/sustainability issues where collective action is essential to make a real difference. 38.
  38. 38. 39.
  39. 39. 40.
  40. 40. • The questions and approaches should be tailored to the outcome or audience. It’s good to devise questions that are open and that require a response – ‘Your community has been given a disused clay-quarry to develop. What would you like to use it for?’ for instance. • are a good place to start engaging. Memory triggers imagination and planning – and research has found that it employs the same part of the brain. • For public engagement/consultation, people are giving up their personal – value and respect this. Don’t waste people’s time. • Explain clearly and what happens next. • Don’t assume too much about what people know about the subject you want to engage them on (they’re the experts!). Make the baseline context and use understandable language. • Don’t assume that people can read and write – not all can. Include • Create a and to appeal to a wider range of people. – comfortable and with familiar cultural references. (in England), flowers, images. Create an inspirational environment – a formal room does not inspire! 41.
  41. 41. • Plan the session well to create an • Images and artifacts are useful to • Use techniques – to provoke more creative, imaginative responses. • is important – collaboration and brainstorming sparks other ideas. It also reinforces the idea that you can achieve more working as a team. • is powerful – it works well if recorded as direct quotes, video etc. • It’s vital that people feel like they are Demonstrate you’re listening by and making notes. We often take a laptop and scanner to capture peoples’ images and memorabilia. is important, treat the material you are given or loaned with the utmost respect. • is important – it’s sometimes useful to have an independent third party in a debate between community/ council. Similarly, independent facilitation can be valuable. • This type of engagement technique ( , ) may seem informal but the results can, and should, still be recorded and evaluated. • Celebrate – this creates a positive mindset. 42.
  42. 42. 43.
  43. 43. At Eden, we started with possibly the most exciting challenge in the world: to find new ways of communicating the intimacy of the relationships between and . We made an early decision to commission artists to create the exhibits, rather than a corporate design house. This sowed the seeds for a completely unique approach to interpretation, and did so for a fraction of the price of a design company. Unlike most other publicly funded projects we decided not to employ a competitive tendering system. To get the best work and integrate it well into the site, it was vital that artists engaged fully with the ideas and mission, and were able to work closely with Eden science, horticulture and landscape teams. We identified interesting artists in a wide range of media, and gave them a small amount of no-strings ‘play-money’, usually in the region of GBP 600. The ‘no strings’ deal meant that there was no obligation on Eden’s part to commission a final piece of artwork, but equally there was no pressure on the artist to deliver a polished proposal. 44.
  44. 44. 45.
  45. 45. 46.
  46. 46. The idea was to make the process as open-ended, open-minded and creative as possible. The artists were then assigned to particular exhibit ideas and areas of the landscape or Biomes, given a pack of research material (including social, historical, horticultural and economic data) and a scientist or horticulturalist to work with. After an agreed period of time they would present the results of their explorations. This proved to be a very productive process – artists returned buzzing with ideas and often with multiple proposals, designs and maquettes. We moved to full commission in around 70% of cases. A note of caution – commissioning a design company is relatively simple; you establish the brief, budget and programme. You get what you ask for/pay for, no more, no less. Working with artists is different! Every artist has a different approach, methodology and timescale, and makes widely differing demands on the client. Managing these relationships requires flexibility, patience, energy and love. But we believe the richness and quality of the work make it worth the effort. We sourced artists initially from Cornwall and the South West’s wealth of visual arts talent, and allowed the artists to make their own, very personal responses to the ideas and spaces. , , , , , amongst many others, have helped to create the strong house style of the Eden Project – its distinctive personality. 47.
  47. 47. Working with artists means that their exhibits tend to feel handmade and friendly, human – they have handprints all over them. They help to make our gobsmacking, awe-inspiring architecture more approachable. Setting artists to work with scientists, horticulturalists and landscape designers has often provoked artworks very different to anything they had previously created and truly unique to the Eden Project. The decision to use artists has thrown up some interesting issues. The independent voice of the artist tends to produce a less authoritarian statement – it is and can be . This has positive value (especially at a time when public perception of science verges on the openly hostile, mistrustful). It permits and encourages debate. It can help to enrol the viewer; it invites participation, active engagement. When viewing much contemporary interpretation in other visitor attractions, museums, science centres etc, the overwhelming impression you come away with is of being sold something, being sold an idea. It’s authoritarian, corporate – not corporate in the sense that it’s got McDonalds or Nike written all over it, but corporate in the sense that it uses a consistent visual toolkit, (logos, unified single font text, machined finish on artifacts and exhibits, impressive IT) producing a single organisational identity, a brand, and a tone of voice which says, 48.
  48. 48. It seeks to deliver an unambiguous, one-size-fits-all message to everyone. This position is increasingly inappropriate, because in the minds of the public it is no longer true; . Or rather ‘Scientists are too closely associated with political or commercial interests for their work to be incontrovertibly regarded as objective.’ At Eden we have consciously worked with artists to make environments, exhibits and events that are complex, ambiguous, unpatronising. Unlike McDonalds, we don’t ascribe much value to consistency – ‘the same burger the world over’. Every person who visits us will have very much their own experience, depending on their age, ethnicity, whether they love or hate plants, art, modern architecture, Cornwall etc. There is no formal corporate identity; we use a plethora of fonts and handwriting to communicate with. The tone of voice is not assertive or authoritarian. Rather than saying, ‘This is how the world works,’ it tends to say, ‘I think this is interesting...’ 49.
  49. 49. 50.
  50. 50. We have used artists – – to create the exhibits at Eden, because they are uniquely equipped to make experiences that are sensual, emotional, awe-inspiring, curiosity-provoking, beautiful, human and authentic. This isn’t just decorative – we want to people so that they can hear and see the ideas at Eden, to make connections about the choices they make in their daily lives. Eden is clearly not an authentic series of landscapes – it is about as contrived as it is possible to be – a tiny rainforest, bite-sized sunflower, tea and apple plantations, half an acre of prairie... But the effort, the intention, the mission is authentic. We think this is what turns people on. The Eden Project is about making money. It is about entertaining or distracting tourists. It , naively, about changing the world, about making a difference. To do this it must illuminate the complexities of our relationships with nature, without depressing people into inactivity, without proposing a ‘right’ answer (there are no right answers), without telling people what to think. And there is no one better fitted for this task than the Artist. It is not useful, however, to expect artists to deliver information or didactic messages (they are much better at proposing questions than communicating answers); we have to find other media to do that, if that what we want to do. 51.
  51. 51. • will often determine choice of medium – a good starting point for selection of artists. • . Seek artists whose creative journey is outward rather than inward, and who are comfortable with collaborative processes. • work often produces interesting results. Mixing artists with scientists, environmentalists, landscape architects creates lively cross-fertilisation of approaches and ideas. • Giving artists can reap rich rewards, especially if you are able to link them in to other disciplines. This may not be possible if protocols require you to employ a competitive tendering process – you can’t productively link 3 or 4 competing artists to the same scientist or gardener! • Give artists – too tight a brief will cramp their style (you might just as well have commissioned a design agency). • But be prepared for the higher level of not get what you expect! 52. involved – you may
  52. 52. • It’s important to issue a or when you move to commission, detailing timescales, budget, preferred materials, expected lifespan, installation time on site, liability, maintenance and copyright issues. If you want to use images of the final piece in marketing or merchandising, this should be covered in the agreement. Usually artists will own the copyright on their work. • artists on site, in media and on web. • artists in any decisions concerning their work – cleaning, repairing, relocating, decommissioning. It’s rude not to… 53.
  53. 53. 54.
  54. 54. We used these questions, printed on tiny cards, for two of our public talks in Brisbane. These cards had originally been produced as an experiment in creating a convivial conversation space during the Eden Sessions, our summer sequence of concerts. The original aims of the exercise were: • To open hearts, engage minds, expand imagination. • Gather inspirational material for further interpretation. • To inform us about our visitors in a more intuitive way. • To research the kind of questions/topics that work best for opening conversations and provoking stories. • To help us select individuals, families and groups that might be ready to ‘play’ i.e. to participate in a more active, creative way in a game, ceremony or theatre event. It was not the intention to undertake any formal quantitative evaluation of the results, rather to use them as an expanding resource of ideas, narrative and information. Visitors completing a full set of questions were given a stamped postcard to send to someone they hadn’t contacted for a while. 55.
  55. 55. • What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? • You can choose 3 things to put in a box that will vanish from the world forever. What are they? • You can choose 3 things to put in a box that reflect your optimism about the world. What are they? • Where do you feel calmest? • What’s the first thing you remember? • What person living or dead would you most like to meet? • What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger? • The house is burning down – what do you rescue? • If you could change places with someone for a day, who would it be? (And what would you do?) • How would you like to be remembered? • What’s the most selfless thing you’ve ever done? • What’s the most evocative smell for you? • What book has most moved you? • If you could instantly acquire one skill what would it be? • What’s your top nature-moment, something you saw or experienced that connected you to the natural world in a special way? • Dying wishes… You can have one last dance – what’s the music? You can have one last kiss – what’s the song? One last meal – what is it? We framed these questions carefully so that visitors didn’t think we’re embarking on a psychotherapy trip – we introduced them like this: ‘In all the background noise, rush and fizz in our lives it’s sometimes hard to focus on the things that matter. We want to understand if there are common things that move us and connect us. Please help us by answering these questions. Some are daft, some are serious, and some just us being nosy. Answer all 16 and you get to send a message to someone you haven’t contacted in a while. 56.
  56. 56. 57.
  57. 57. 58. Sue Hill (far right)
  58. 58. The objective of the workshop was to introduce Brisbane City Council staff to a range of creative community engagement techniques and exercises that have been successfully used by the Eden Team. While the outcome of the individual exercises was not the objective of the training, the exercises were all themed around sustainability and also, over the day-and-a-half, took the participants through a process which involved: • Examining general issues around sustainability (‘Coffee Trails’ exercise), • Imagining the future (‘Islands’ exercise), • Developing an action plan to achieve the vision and also considering barriers along the way (‘Road Map’ exercise); and • Consider the skills needed to succeed on the journey (‘Superheroes’ exercise). The workshop trained the participants in the use of a ‘toolkit’ of approaches, principles and techniques that the Eden Project has been developing over the last ten years. The key message is that community engagement: • Should be fun and enjoyable for all the participants. • Should have a ‘serious’ purpose; not a waste of time. • The process and outcomes are personal and meaningful to the participants; thought provoking leading to behaviour change. 59.
  59. 59. All activities and timings for the training workshop were carefully planned well ahead of the event. This is important to ensure that there was adequate time to achieve the objectives and that there was adequate materials and equipment to carry out the exercises. Planning ahead also meant there was opportunity for the ‘client’ to comment and contribute to the programme. Prior to the workshop, the programme was reviewed with the facilitators and changes made in response to their comments. Planned times are shown with (actual times in brackets). Important to follow timings as closely as possibly but also allow some flexibility. Aim not to cut back on feedback and ‘show & tell’ time. Mix in exercises that can be done quickly which involve less feedback. Change the scale and rhythm of the tasks so that participants don’t get bored or tired by repetition. Alternate active with passive, large group work with more intimate tasks, silly with serious! 60.
  60. 60. 9:00-9:15 9:15-9:30 9:30-10:15 10:15-10:45 10:45-11:15 (11:30) 11:15-12:00 Warm-up: ‘Bingo’ Introductions & ‘housekeeping’ Ground rules for the workshop ‘A Day Out….’ Feedback Conclusions MORNING TEA ‘Coffee Trails’ Show & tell Conclusions Engagement and interpretation principles: Eden-style All Jen/Loretta Sue Exercise in groups Groups & one to all Sue Exercise in groups Group present to all Sue Presentation – Sue (11:30-12:15) 12:00-12:30 (12:15-12:30) 12:30-13:30 13:30-13:45 13:45-15:00 ‘Cat or Dog’ Discussion LUNCH Warm-up: Singing ‘Island Brisbane’ exercise 15:00-15:30 15:00-15:45 15:45-16:00 (Work through) AFTERNOON TEA ‘Island Brisbane’ - Show and tell Tidy up and wrap up Groups feedback to all Groups with facilitator 16:00 16:00-16:45 FINISH Groups feedback Facilitators 9:00-9:30 Warm-up: ‘Off-balance’, ‘Master & Servant’, ‘Pass the Squeeze’ 9:30-10:15 ‘Road map’ exercise Themes, audiences and obstacles 10:15-10:45 10:45-11:15 (10:45-11:45) 11:15-12:15 (11:45-12:15) 12:15-12:30 MORNING TEA ‘Road map,’ show & tell 12:30 12:30-14:00 FINISH Lunch and feedback from facilitators. BCC actions and how to grow this. ‘Superheroes’ and pledges Show and tell within Groups Tidy up ‘How was it for you’ All Sue & all Sue Brief: Sue Exercise in groups Sue Smaller group, together Individuals working in original groups Groups Facilitators Jen/Lauretta 61.
  61. 61. 62.
  62. 62. Approximately 70 participants attended Day 1. This is a large group for this kind of workshop, which works best with 30-40 people. A larger group means that more of the ‘show and tell’ and feedback has to take place in small groups rather than with the whole team. In this case, participants were not given a programme for the day, so they didn’t know what was coming or what would be expected of them. This keeps the energy of the group higher, builds anticipation and keeps the activities spontaneous. It is important to work in beautiful and inspiring places. Our workshop room was not very beautiful – without natural light, fresh air, breakout space or outdoor work space. We did what we could to make it better by decorating it the day before with saris, tablecloths and fairy lights to make it appear less austere and more lovely. Materials for the exercises were prepared but left covered so that they weren’t a distraction. Tables were set out for groups of 8-10. 63.
  63. 63. 64.
  64. 64. At the start of an event, people tend to gravitate towards the same familiar groups of people they know and work with. This is a simple warm-up exercise to get people talking to a wider range of people. They may even find out things they didn’t know about people they work with! Everyone was given a 3x4 bingo card with statements, e.g. ‘…is a vegetarian’, ‘…cycles to work’, ‘…has an outdoor dunny’ and so on. Delegates have to find a different name to fill in each box and when all the boxes are completed – shout ‘bingo!’ and the game is over. Check if anyone else is nearly finished. We only played this game for 15 minutes but it can be longer if there are more squares. There are many variations to this game and questions can be themed (e.g. ‘eco-bingo’). The results of the game can also be recorded and used as part of a data gathering exercise to determine the level of personal commitment/understanding of an issue. Warm-ups (we did several during the course of the workshop) are important to set the tone of the day – keep it fun – and more importantly, to maintain energy levels. Do a warm-up whenever you feel they are needed. They don’t have to be complicated, just involve everyone and play to your strengths as workshop leader. Songs, games, clapped rhythms, whatever. It’s good to establish that playfulness is vital for grown-up creativity. 65.
  65. 65. • Travel naively – we won’t be telling you the plan for the day. • You will go through a series of activities that will illuminate the way we do things at Eden. Some may be directly relevant to your work, some won’t, some you will have to adapt to be more relevant to you. • The training will be through experience, this is not a technical, conceptual, theoretical exercise. • No need to write notes (unless you want to) as you will be sent a manual with all the information in it. • There will be some time for criticism and analysis but it will be up to you to work out how to take this forward. • Your job is to have fun. It’s useful to establish an agreed contract of behaviour at the beginning of the workshop. The ground rules were developed by all (except the first, which is easier for the workshop leader to ask for!). More rules can be added as the day progresses if necessary. They were written on a flip chart for easy reference throughout the workshop. This group’s rules were: • No hierarchy, you’re here as you (this is very important). • Turn off phones. • Share materials – play nicely. • Listen – all voices are valid. • PLAY. 66.
  66. 66. 67.
  67. 67. To understand what we remember and why as a key to developing the strategies for interpretation and engagement that are most likely to lead to behaviour change. ‘Think about a day out, an experience you’ve had in a public space that made a great impression on you. It might be in a museum or gallery, a theme park, an aquarium, a garden or stately home, a piece of architecture, old or new, on the side of a mountain, in a city or a forest. The important thing is that you experienced something that stayed with you. It may have been so impressive that you wanted to tell everybody about it, or so powerful and personal that you decided to keep it to yourself...’ In groups of 5 or 6 everyone describes their experience to the rest of their group – about 2 minutes per person. Choose one of the stories from each group to tell everyone. Feedback method needs to be tailored depending on the number of people participating. 68.
  68. 68. Eden and Sue have now played this game with thousands of people. Everyone’s story is different but there are always consistent themes. ‘Raise your hand if you had any of these in your story.’ These themes crop up again and again: • – bigness and smallness; the dinosaur skeleton in the London Natural History Museum, seeing a whale rise to the surface, the view through an electron microscope of human cells. Scale of time too – finding a seabed fossil on top of a mountain in the Sinai Desert. • – colour, perfume, noise, light; standing in the lavender fields at Grasse in France, the hot, wet smell in the rainforest, the absolute darkness down a mine. • – a strangely old-fashioned word. But people respond to beauty very powerfully; silvery shoaling fish in the Aquarium moving through the water like starlings through air, the ordinary, heartstopping daily spectacle of the sun setting through clouds. • – whether general or personal; the graffiti scratched into the walls at Robben Island, much of it about love, the steam engine like the one that my grandfather maintained ... understanding shared human-ness across boundaries of language, time, race, culture. 69.
  69. 69. • – for human effort, skill, imagination, whether exercised by marathon runner, mother, engineer, artist. • – at Eden, children are dumbstruck to see cocoa pods growing straight out of the trunk of the tree – ‘And that’s chocolate??!’ • – sheer wonder at the mystery and scope of natural processes and events, icebergs, calving, the moon eclipsing the sun, lambing. • – this is the room that Anne Frank hid in, this is the mark that Rembrandt himself made, this is the place where John Kennedy was shot. The reproductions of the cave paintings in Lascaux are exquisite but will never carry the emotional power of the originals, the marks made by prehistoric men and women. • – any experience is made more powerful and significant by the effort or risk required to get there; the sunrise looks even more amazing if you’ve climbed the mountain to see it, the whaleshark bigger, spottier and more awesome if you’ve bobbed in a boat for 3 days to find one, the mela more inspiring if you’ve discovered it yourself without help of tourist guide or travel agency. • the dancing! 70. … and even more memorable if you’ve joined in
  70. 70. 71.
  71. 71. Nobody ever talks about the fantastic text panel, or the touch screen technology. They don’t talk about the ice cream. They talk about experience. Real experience. And emotion. This is the mother lode: our emotional connection to nature and to each other. These stories describe transformative moments in people’s lives, when their relationships to their environment, their community, their family or themselves shift and change; the most fundamental learning experience. Reflect about this in your practice. What are the tools you generally use to communicate and interpret? How enjoyable was it listening to stories of others? Remember the power of narrative. (Refer to 2.I for a summary of how the outcomes of this exercise have been translated into Eden’s interpretation principles). 72.
  72. 72. 73.
  73. 73. 74.
  74. 74. This exercise takes an everyday product – a cup of coffee – and then asks participants to connect it with ideas of environmental, social and economic sustainability. It highlights the connections between people and places (near and far) and how the decisions we make over something as simple as making a cup of coffee have far reaching implications. It also highlights the complexity of issues around sustainability. Unpacking environmental, social and economic impacts in this way helps us understand what sustainability means. If working with a community group, this exercise will give you a very clear idea of their level of understanding of sustainability issues which should inform where to pitch further discussion and engagement. It helps to make the invisible visible. [This exercise could also be carried out with any everyday object … tea, wine, cakes etc.] Consider a cup of coffee you’ve just had (this obviously works well after morning or afternoon tea) and think about all the ingredients. What are the social, environmental and economic impacts relating to the coffee, milk, sugar, water, energy, the cup… Working as a group, map, write and illustrate the issues onto a large piece of paper. Let participants know how long they’ve got to work on this and keep track of the time, letting them know when they have 5 minutes left to complete. The next step is to share each group’s coffee trail with the rest of the participants – “let’s hear about it” – a representative from each group gives a guided tour of their group’s work. (Always good to encourage applause!) Display each group’s ‘trail’ on the wall for others to look at during breaks. Photograph or record the outcomes as a record (less critical for the Training than working with a community towards an objective). 75.
  75. 75. Natural c i Econom Who ecides? D Social 76.
  76. 76. A1 or bigger paper (e.g. flip chart paper), thick and thin textas. Copious coffee! The complexity of the trails revealed an extremely high level of understanding of social, environmental and financial issues related to sustainability. You would not want to patronize these participants with elementary information or exercises on sustainability! The environmental and many of the social and financial impacts of a standard cup of coffee were quite overwhelmingly negative but could be balanced (among coffee drinkers) by the social benefits of meeting friends for a coffee. It made many of us wonder whether we should be drinking coffee so, by unpicking the issues, it was influencing behaviour. Sustainability is a complex issue and everyone is at a different point in understanding it. There isn’t a right answer. This exercise helps us understand where other people are in the process and how to help them have greater understanding. At Eden, we use the compass points as a reminder of N(nature/environment), S(social), E(economic) and add ‘W’ – who decides? Who has the power? This exercise demonstrates the necessary complexity of any thinking around sustainability. People often want black-and-white answers (especially media and politicians!) – what’s happening? What is the answer? How do we communicate complexity? We need to develop a matrix of possibility and understandings. A cup of coffee is part of our culture – what would be the negative impacts of taking this away and not allowing people the choice? 77.
  77. 77. A ten-minute game to spark a discussion on diversity; ways different people see the world and also have different ways of absorbing information (learning). The point is to understand the need to consider (in interpretation and engagement) what you are telling people and how are you telling them. The importance of targeting information to the audience; meeting people where they are. Participants make their personal choices with as orange sticker on posters pinned on the wall. In this case the choices were: • Pictures or words • Lecture or debate • Walk or run • Rainforest or beach • Cat or dog • Sound or smell • Head or heart • Backyard barbie or night club But the choices could be targeted towards a specific theme or type of outcome. At Eden, we used this game to work out how staff preferred to receive information – staff meetings or internet newsletters etc. There are no right and wrong answers. Were there any surprises? Gives us a strong sense of our glorious diversity – one size does not fit all in relation to audiences. This is a quick and fun way of getting good data; the outcomes are easy to quantify. It is also a way of understanding more about who you’re dealing with. We didn’t have time to pursue other themes but this exercise could spark a discussion about how Council should approach its communication with the community, such as: • Tone of voice – ‘professional’ or colloquial? • ‘Nanny state’ or ‘Nudge’? People react against being told what to do by government and public bodies, they need to be ‘nudged’ to do the right thing. • Campaigns or debates? • Tell or teach? See also Ian Russell’s ‘Minds-on or Hearts-on’, 1:III. 78.
  78. 78. 79.
  79. 79. 80. Jane Knight (left)
  80. 80. We often work with the past as a way of understanding people’s attachments, values and understanding of a place. Imagining the future is, however, much harder and this exercise is a fun, absorbing and revealing way of doing this. The exercise is about creating visions of what a sustainable Brisbane might look like in 20 years’ time (an Urban Eden?). What are the impacts of our actions? The exercise: • taps into participants’ knowledge on sustainability. • helps identify recurrent themes and reveals what is left out. • makes something - more real than a paper exercise. • requires negotiation within the group on what should be included. • requires working together to find solutions. • uses play to elicit serious thinking about the future. [This exercise could be carried out for any scale project – school, community, park, playground etc.] 81.
  81. 81. Work in groups of 4-5 to create an idealized State of Brisbane in 20 years’ time in a roasting tin with the materials provided. It may have connections with wider region. What will it be like? What will it have with it? You will need to negotiate within your group – is it a rainforest paradise or nightclub central? Picture a world, picture a better world, now put yourself in it. Spend 1 hour 15 mins. on this. Don’t spend all the time talking! Save time for doing. Explore materials, this will give you ideas. 5 minutes before completion - give your island/city a name. Show and tell – a tour of the city by the government representatives from each city. • Large baking trays, cheap tin trays or large seed trays. They need to be big enough to build a satisfactory island on! One tray per group of 3 to 6. • Buckets of soil, sand, rocks, pebbles, shells (and sheet polythene or dust sheets to make sure you don’t make too much mess). • Cut foliage, twigs, grasses, nuts, flowers, seeds etc. • Thin card - colours • Coloured paper and tissue 82.
  82. 82. • Corrugated card (cardboard boxes are fine) • Interesting, clean, safe rubbish – eggboxes, plastic pots and food containers, foil, cloth etc • Clay, salt-dough or plasticine • Thin string • Thin garden wire • Thick and thin textas – lots of colours • Thumbtacks, pins, paperclips • Blu-tak • Masking tape, gaffer tape, double sided tape • Scissors, craft knives (N.B. use a cutting board if using a Stanley knife.) • Big range of materials from ‘Reverse Garbage’ – bits of fabric, mosaic tiles, bits of wood etc. etc. Anything that looks interesting and inspiring but the use isn’t too defined. Best not to use real images e.g. magazine photos – the exercise is to make your own. Set yourself a budget so you don’t get too carried away! You get the idea… adult playgroup … so add more delights to the list! 83.
  83. 83. Green River City Organica Yummavilia 84. Sol Brisneyland Chillax
  84. 84. These were the fantastic island cities that were made during the workshop: A clean, green (vertical and horizontal), interconnected city. Buildings move for optimal solar orientation and 360-degree views. A multi-generational building – a nice and accessible place to accommodate a growing and aging population. A peaceful place to live in harmony with natural environment – with a hand-made focus. ‘Living in peaceful places, listening to nature’s voices, magic happens.’ An environmentally conscious city that integrates performance and art into the fabric – with lots of texture and colour. Living within an enormous city garden with its own bio-waste treatment plant. Post-Crash, the temporary dwelling place of a ‘back to basics’, nomadic community who place high value on celebration, spirituality and making hunter gathering fun. 85.
  85. 85. Almajaluste Harmony 86. Edenville State of Hope Slow Movement Community Sun CBD
  86. 86. An iconic city known for its excellent eggplant curry. With controlled population numbers, it places emphasis on culture and Montessori education. An ultra-efficient and self-sufficient city with a tiny carbon footprint Peace is at the heart of this safe, sustainable and culturally diverse community. Emphasis is placed on connections and a socially responsible economy. With its optimistic outlook and sustainable principles, this place is full of iconic features including a decorated water tower, the worship ‘rocks’ and a telecom tower. Visit this exclusive and self-sufficient island by invitation only. The residents have specific roles in the island’s running but still find time to gather around the fire, drum and dance around a maypole. In this sustainable place, focus is on the business and learning building – residents attend school at the bottom and work up through the university at mid-level. 87.
  87. 87. Reflection on the day is important for the workshop leaders to evaluate the day and plan for Day 2. This was done in the original groups with group facilitators pulling together comments: • Enjoyed stories – inspiring to take time to listen and share. • Informal, playful approach was fun, energising and triggered the imagination – new ways of thinking. • Participants enjoying ‘doing’ and the physicality of materials. The visualisation made it more real; more imaginative than writing. • Interesting philosophical ideas including use memory as a way of moving forward. • Thought better to experience training than reading in a brochure. • Look for opportunities for small-scale personal encounter – here’s a brochure. • Optimism is good. • Coffee exercise – personal encounter – behaviour change opportunity 88.
  88. 88. • BSQ break-out areas are clinical – why not have a blackboard? • Authenticity was the thing that really stood out – but hard for Council to do when decisions already made. • One hour lunchtime allowed for cross-fertilisation of ideas. • Enjoyed having so many like-minded people in a room from different areas of Council. Blur lines between disciplines • ‘No hierarchy’ was really appreciated • Concerns that this ‘approach’ may be perceived as unprofessional and ‘not Council’s way’? Tendency to strip out all emotion – and enthusiasm. • Is validation of this type of approach actually needed? • How to take out from here? If not you, who – if not now, when? You are the change you can make through your job. • Islands revealed a strong community focus and Council processes often focus on the individual as customer. A strong yearning for community and relating to people more as a collective. 89.
  89. 89. 90.
  90. 90. These exercises emphasise our shared human-ness – with lot’s of eye contact, gentle physical contact and no experts. Based on Aikido martial arts warm-up game. Find a partner. Place your hands palm to palm, look deep into each other’s eyes, now try to catch the other off balance. Top tip: it’s sometimes more successful to give in than to push! Still in pairs, follow your partner’s palm, keeping your face the same distance and orientation, about 9 inches away. Have to look after each other – roles will be reversed. Everyone stands in a circle and holds hands. Send a squeeze around the circle – how quickly can the group do it. We race against ourselves. Focus! Like electricity. 91.
  91. 91. 92.
  92. 92. Themes were extracted from the ‘islands’ exercise on Day 1 (see complete list in Appendix 4.3). These are now topics to develop in the ‘Road Map’ exercise. Participants select a theme to pursue by putting a sticker on the wall – this is the group you will work in for the next stage of the exercise. Our themes for Day 2: • Play , spaces) ergy (culture ommunity en • C ity • Biodivers in the city ble housing taina • Great sus fresh food • Fab local ons and connecti • Transport ce • Social justi king a • Decision m 93.
  93. 93. Who are the audiences (a nicer word than stakeholders and those who have agency) for any engagement, interpretation or community work? The aim is to tap into the wealth of knowledge of the participants and identify specific audiences. It also attempts to ‘unpack’ the attitudes these groups may have. The key message is that, when thinking about developing engagement and interpretation techniques, one size does not fit all. Participants work in groups to identify different audiences and identify overlaps. Try and characterize the attitudes/attributes of the group identities. Consider particularly issues around ‘inclusion’ and the need to specifically engage with groups with disabilities who are unlikely or unable to volunteer to get involved in a public forum. Similarly, the need to develop specific ways to work with children and young people. We did this very quickly as a brainstorm list of audiences. 94.
  94. 94. It is often surprising how many groups are identified as potential audiences for any environmental education or awareness projects. The list below (based on another project) illustrates the breadth of knowledge and interests that exists, and they will all have a different approach and level of understanding on sustainability. These, broadly speaking, can be grouped into the following categories/sectors: 1. Government – local or national, politicians and officers 2. Influencers (e.g. NGOs and environmental groups) 3. Tourism (Tourists and tourism related businesses) 4. Media 5. Education 6. Commercial/corporations (e.g. shop owners, investors etc.) 7. Demographic (e.g. youth groups, families, elderly) 8. Community 9. Development related (architects, developers, construction workers) 10. Minority groups 11. Occupation 12. Creative community 13. Health 14. Geographic 95.
  95. 95. 96.
  96. 96. Building on the work on Day 1, how do we get from today to the utopian islands at the end of the room? We need to develop a ‘road map’. This exercise is for groups with similar interests (based on themes above) to take the first steps towards an action plan or strategy to develop a vision for Brisbane as an Urban Eden and communicate it to the City. It is all about ideas generation and making visible the steps on the road to practical, achievable change. Groups, having identified ‘audiences’, next identify obstacles and devise means of dismantling or circumventing them. In ‘real’ examples, this can also illustrate that the participants have everything they need to write an action plan/strategy. For each theme set a long strip of paper on the floor with a contemporary dateline at one end and a realistic date in the future at the other. Place a Utopian ‘island’ at this end. Theme groups identify stages on the journey towards their idealized island. Put actual physical barriers on the plan and then think creatively about how to overcome them. Write, draw, model. Put in dates. While it’s important that there should be serious content, don’t take the fun out of it – put in silly things (e.g. sharks to control population!). You are not producing a policy document. The end result is a complex and very human graphic. Show and tell: Each group talks through its ‘road map’. Strips of butcher’s paper – A1 sheets cut in half and stuck together. Use the same materials we used for the islands to make interesting and entertaining obstacles and opportunities. All the ‘road map’ stories were brilliant and have been summarized in the next section for posterity! Again, this is a fun way of seriously looking at action planning. The activity was very absorbing, producing some very thoughtful conversations and some wild bursts of creativity! 97.
  97. 97. 98.
  98. 98. At Eden, we invite people to take things personally. ‘If not me, then who? If not now, when?’ This exercise is a light-hearted way for participants to think about how they can make changes and contribute to the development of an Urban Eden. The aim is: • For each delegate to look at themselves and reflect on what they can do to make a difference. • To empower each delegate to take things forward in a positive way. • To make delegates realise that often they can make a difference and the barriers, voices etc are often invisible barriers that are easy to overcome. • For each delegate to focus on what they could do in their professional or personal life to take responsibility for taking the initiative forward and write this down as a pledge and share with each others, leading to a higher commitment to behavioural change. 99.
  99. 99. You have 10 minutes to make a model (an avatar) of yourself; you as a super-hero. You’ve just done the ‘Road Map’ exercise – think about what attributes you need – what do you need to achieve your utopian vision? Your super-hero self can be drawn, modeled, sculpted and will have the powers to overcome barriers. Give it a name. On a ‘speech bubble’, your super-hero writes a message or motto for the future. Introduce your ‘super-hero-you’ to the rest of the group. Take your super-hero home or back to the office – put them on FaceBook! play doh, natural materials, paper cut into speech-bubble shapes. 100.
  100. 100. 101.
  101. 101. Some of the feedback from Facilitators at the end of the Training Workshops: • Cross-pollination – working across teams – would be welcome. Why not start now? Find ways to do this. • Incorporate multi-sensory approach into work with new communities where language may be a challenge. • Bringing stakeholders on board with new approaches. Challenge of convincing them that ‘emotional’ does not mean ‘unprofessional’. • Importance of ‘third spaces’. Make city squares into truly social spaces for all the community. 102.
  102. 102. 103.
  103. 103. • Connected green space through city – from forests to beach and ocean, dramatic vegetation, 60% vegetation cover. • Roof gardens and vertical gardens • Self-sufficient and flexible buildings – energy (solar, wind), water, grows food to reduce food miles, work and live in same building, drying clothes out of doors • Clean river as a corridor for biodiversity (with fish), transport (sailing, no motors) and recreation (fishing, sailing) • Low car use – no single-use vehicles, solar panel roads and electric cars • Better public transport, lots of opportunity to walk and cycle. • Contact with nature – attract wildlife into cities particularly iconic animals like koala, kangaroo, possums (marsupials generally). • High-density living but with lots of greenery/open space and community spaces around buildings • Great community spaces at heart of city – multi-functional areas with childcare, performance (drumming), story telling, dance and fire. • Art integrated into everyday living (flags, play), colour and texture. • Multi-generational living and spaces accessible for all ages and abilities • City garden/farm providing all the needs of the community – fruit orchards, vegetation, hops & vineyards, animals particularly low impact ones like chooks, ducks, goats (for food & fertiliser), permaculture 104.
  104. 104. • Spiritual retreats – places for quiet reflection, tolerant of diversity of belief, iconic. • Living with a low-carbon footprint • Everyone connected. • Sustainable features, like water towers, are beautiful. • Technology – for education and communication. • Everyone employed and has a role in supporting the community. With opportunities for trading. • Back to more primitive times – nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, oral tradition, • Retreat from modern world – keeping the world at bay, controlling who you see and when. • Population control – by restricted access, population control by sharks! • Socially responsible banking • Peace • Low impact government – empowered communities. These were used to develop the ‘Road Map’ topics on Day 2 of the Training Workshop. 105.
  105. 105. 106.
  106. 106. 2009 – people make a pledge for more sustainable housing – think tank – learning from nature (waterfall) – natural materials to build from – sustainable energy – money and financial will – people on ‘left’ – investment in growing more – showcase of (shiny) sustainable buildings around the city – helpful city council staff to help through bureaucratic quick sand – green space is woven through the whole and increases as the amount of sustainable housing increases – regulatory framework changes with help of accountants (beans) and lawyers (beans with glasses) – people rally outside court house with ‘yeah’ flags and green business is supported and founded on a solid (rock) foundation. By 2029, standard houses are very unpopular and most people live in sust. housing with vegetable gardens, trees, community spirit, compost, water and birds & bees. In 2009, decision makers can’t make tough decisions but there is a growing grass roots movement that will help to make more palatable; seeds planted 30 years ago are now beginning to sprout. The grass roots and people that know the power of their spending dollars are now influencing the corporate sector and overcoming barriers. With the pervasive impact of urbanism, productive areas around the city are being lost – increasing monocultures and people are moving across the land. A major election takes place but special interest groups polarise the outcome, which is negative. This makes the lobby groups stronger and, combined with a climatic event, results in a cataclysmic event. Mass refocusing – our Noah’s Ark – people have to decide what is really important to them. Some say ‘hang it’ – party and continue to consume. Others decide the Amish had it right after all... some new paths take us the wrong way – to dead ends. Saved by a charismatic leader – a woman with purple hair. New vision: break down materialism, more spiritual. Citizens Deliberative Council established – collaborative decision-making. Future may look more chaotic and complex – based on networks – leading in 2029 to a spiritually driven democracy. 107.
  107. 107. 108.
  108. 108. Bad food – huge and growing population – ‘house me, feed me”. Policy barrier – development encroaching on agricultural land – a slippery slope, landslide. Farmers and activists unhappy. Natural disasters – floods, fire – and other things outside our control. Family dynamics – fast food, eat on the go – priorities around time. People realise that it may be better to teach kids to cook than to take them to soccer. Macca’s and multi-nationals – $$$ in packaging – need to learn business speak to talk to them in a language they understand. Many decisions based on ignorance and fuzzy logic – what is good and nutritious? What’s in it? Take time to find out. We are losing knowledge of how to grow – teach me how to grow, how to use food in the right way, cooking fresh. Increase in development and support for community gardens and city farms – esp. important as smaller housing lots leave no room for veggie paths (only room for a lemon tree for your vodka!). Policy to conserve agricultural land. Everyone wants to learn more and be part of the solution. They want to be informed and are no longer happy to be ignorant on issues related to fab, healthy food. Biggest challenge is the lack and varying levels of knowledge. Low diversity – but knowledge and awareness increasing due to initiatives in schools and institutions – the seed of knowledge is sown. Lack of communication – media, give community a voice to communicate with government (represented by a megaphone). ‘Bridge’ to overcome government barriers. Amount of ‘green’ increases, level of education increases. This has an impact on the $$ side and procedures put in place to safeguard biodiversity. Private property owners have ‘green/purple’ trees for ‘grey’ wildlife. Bulldozers break through business barriers. Community awareness increases which leads to increased awareness among shareholders and pressure on big business. Environmentally friendly business parks developed. The Aussie dream is a big backyard, however people learn to live in higher density environments with shared open space and more critters. Community – seeds to grow. Wildlife corridors represented by the ‘rainbow serpent’ and also involve tribal ancestors. Everything is linked – humans, wildlife and high-density living. 109.
  109. 109. 110.
  110. 110. ‘Road map’ set in city of Bitumane. Lots of confusion and disagreement – some think they know where we should be going and everything is based around bitumen. Forward-looking vision developed, an alternative to bitumen, but people keep looking back fondly at bitumen. Get out of reverse! High-density living, broadband, local work and schools that you can walk and cycle to, great public transport with vehicles running on alternative fuel – an alternative economy to bitumen. By 2010, alternative energy cars developed but hydrogen needed – do it now in preparation for what’s coming! A new infrastructure is required. Mayor and Chairs being lobbied by forward thinkers – change the city plan. City fleet – need to walk the talk – all hydrogen. Development and industry increase as Bitumane has a great vision – a booming, high-density city. National Transport Forum take notice – if Bitumane can do it – all of Oz can. National commitment to changing transport – much easier and more viable if everyone does it – this influences purchases which shun the past. Green vehicles become cheaper for all – means early adopters don’t bear the costs. Broadband network improves and Bitumane is more attractive – lots of social networks on-line but not at the expense of faceto-face meetings. Bikes are everywhere as it’s much nicer to be on one – only drawback is that you can’t hear the hydrogen vehicles coming up behind! By 2019, high-density hubs so better services. By 2024, rail upgraded forming an extensive network so you can go anywhere in the city (expensive so this has taken a while). Streets are now green corridors and all the critters have returned. 111.
  111. 111. 112.
  112. 112. People have forgotten how to have fun. Biggest hurdle is tunnel vision and middleaged men who don’t know (or have forgotten) how to dance. Need to change this. In offices – break-out spaces with games – more interaction – more fun. To overcome ‘3 o’clock-itis’ (the time of the day when energy is low and meetings are worst) instigate a compulsory playtime – siesta for those who don’t want to play. ‘Dress-up days’ – pirates, princesses. Bring a plate of food to share with others. ‘Bring your dog to work day’ – animals enhance the work place. Free massages and healthy food – everyone gets a foot massage. Work together. Leads to street parties – any excuse will do – everyone cooks a duck and competes for the best! Hopscotch on ALL footpaths. Fun with nature – community gardens. Need to get over the hurdle that imprisons us in fuzzy logic. Let out play! Zero harm is banned – take risks and let loose! Compulsory for everyone to play – leads to more balance and happiness. To infinity and beyond... Play Police? (to enforce play!). 113.
  113. 113. 114.
  114. 114. A big topic. Public apathy and disempowerment. Build networks – to share – Community festivals. Amid the ‘fog of illiteracy’ – teach so don’t have knowledge to think for themselves. Barrier – political will – don’t support community interaction. Need to put energy and funds into play and fun – community spaces. Some poor people are isolated and homeless – don’t trust each other. Community to care more about others – safer and more integrated communities. Fences become bridges. Discourage driving – encourage talking on public transport. Fear of what and who we don’t know is a major barrier. There are beacons of hope. Interaction and bonds develop between children and elderly. Flag of achievement – happy communities, sharing, excited about the future. Inclusive – about everyone benefiting from change. What happens now? – avoid people with problems – we walk away. Walls between neighbours – move forward without connection. Self awareness – value system. Barriers – own comfort zone, technology, apathy, layers of different worlds, prejudice/racism, no compassion. Need a transformative experiences – play, shamanic journeys, lots of them… connection with nature through community gardens – come out of comfort zones with lots of support. A ‘giving back’ revolution – shifting power structures (which now reinforce separation). Place, space, people. Social and personal. New form of governance with more inclusion. Cyclic – not just about and end point. This is hard to start – arise from chaos. John Allen, bio-naut. – chaos is a beautiful thing – this is when things happen. Statis – a nuclear bomb won’t shift or create change. Time is linear – everything is chaotic. Future is dark? – we don’t know. But dark is womb as much as grave. 115.
  115. 115. Tony Kendle, Eden’s Foundation Director, hates Top Tens. So he wrote these… There is no shortage of lists of ‘how to And when you have made your list, also think be green’ around today. Look up a few about what you can’t do - or won’t do if you are - bookshops and magazines and the really honest. If you are typical, there will be a lot Internet are crawling with them. Gather on this list - things that you can’t do because you all of the ideas you can. Make your list can’t afford it, or can’t afford the time, or that just of what you can do, and do it as soon confuse you, or that you don’t really fancy because as you can. Give your house a makeover you are not sure what it commits you to, or things - fit insulation, change your light bulbs, that just sound too deadly, deadly dull (like living whatever you can afford. Drive less, fly less, if ‘sustainably’), or things that actually you don’t you can. Get a more efficient car, if you can. Join believe will really make a difference anyway, or that something, become a member, support something. sound just, well, stupid, or where you have seen Do what you can to support others, buy Fairtrade conflicting advice, or things that you would really or Organic or whatever you can. Do all that you rather not think too much about just at the moment can - why the hell not? Everything you can do really because they are pretty damn scary and mostly you does make a difference because it all adds up, and just want to enjoy what you have. because it also makes a testament of what you believe is right. If you feel that any of that rings a bell, then read on.... Sometimes it is hard to believe that there Beware the cynics who see nothing good in other is anything worth looking forward to. The people, and don’t be fooled by news that mostly list of things we should be worried about talks only of the bad things. Remember how many is a long one, and getting more and amazing good things that happened in the last few more complex and confusing as well. It decades, and how few of them anyone predicted. can be really hard to know what to do sometimes, and it can be really hard to If Hope equaled Certainty then it wouldn’t be hope. know how to stay positive about it. The problem It doesn’t mean underestimating the problems and is that if we don’t believe in possibility, in the idea having a dimwitted conviction that somehow things that we are still in play for good things as well as will be okay if we sit with fingers crossed. But it also bad, then we will be frozen in a paralysis of quiet does not mean underestimating the possibilities despair. We have to have hope, because only with and surprises and the resourcefulness of people hope will there be any action. when faced by crisis. Most importantly hope is the fuel for doing something – and it only works if you Can you choose to be hopeful? In some ways you can. It depends partly on attitude and partly on who you choose to talk to, what things you choose to read about or watch. 116. do something.
  116. 116. ‘Whoever has the most when he dies, wins.’ things that really matter. - Other People’s Money A good education would mean that you know enough about your life to understand what sustains Our lives are full of stuff these days. We you, and what you need to care about to make sure all know it’s supposed to be a good that the things you need stay healthy. idea to have less stuff - and sometimes looking over a cluttered house you We also need to understand the core things really wonder why you do. But we also know that because we don’t know if the complex systems of jobs depend on making and selling stuff and every the world will continue to work well. If you don’t year if sales fall then it’s the threat of recession. know how to plant a seed, or if you don’t know We know that sometimes when people in poor why you should, then it may not matter. It may countries make stuff for us its bad because it’s not matter that we all forget, and that none of our exploitation, and sometimes it’s important for their children understand how food production works. economies and helps them get out of grinding But it’s a gamble to assume that we won’t need poverty. We are encouraged to buy local food, those skills in the future - and how lucky do you but mostly the farmers that feed us live in other feel? That is why the Eden Project runs programmes countries and who knows whether we could actually like Gardens for Life, and why we focus our exhibits feed ourselves without them. There is a difference on understanding the different things that we between trade and consumption, and not all stuff is depend on, daily. bad stuff, but it can be really confusing. And don’t forget as well - education also can lead Information is another kind of stuff. We are directly to radical change. At a time when so many surrounded by it, we have more of it than any people are worrying about population growth and other generation that has ever lived; we can know see the sheer numbers of people as the main cause more about the world than ever before - 24/7. of environmental problems, it is worth remembering But in a funny kind of way, perhaps because it is so that time and time again the world shows that fragmented, it makes it harder to understand what simply raising education standards and life is important and how things really work. prospects, especially for women, is the best form of population control. Sometimes you just have to stand back from the complexity of the world and think about the simple We do what we can - but there is so much One thing you can do is increase your reach by we can’t really control. Is there any point working with or through other organisations. in changing our light bulbs if new power Some people get the chance to travel and stations are built in developing countries make a real difference themselves, e.g. through that are just rubbish, or if population in organisations such as Earthwatch, or you can poor places seems totally out of control? support the work of WaterAid, or anyone else that you fancy. Everyone is running around talking about ‘personal behaviour change’, as if it will solve everything. Don’t forget that your money already goes around If climate change is ‘the biggest challenge facing the world and things already happen a long way civilisation’ and all we can do is change our light away because of the choices that you make at bulbs, isn’t there a fundamental problem? Surely it home. Your wallet is your weapon. Make buying makes more sense to just go to the pub and enjoy choices that help good things happen - or invest life while you can? Of course personal behaviour in social change through things like Eden’s changes matters - but on its own it doesn’t matter Carbon Fund. enough and other things are needed as well. 117.
  117. 117. One of the reasons it is great to do Most importantly, who decides to design towns everything you can do is that it lets you and cities in ways where the places where we live get angry at other people. But rather and the places where we work and where we go than get angry at the people who haven’t to school and where we shop are all a long way done just what you have, why not think from each other? And if the same people start about what really stops you (and anyone) talking about road charging, and there is no sign from doing more and who controls of public transport, or urban design, getting better those things? and getting cheaper - then getting angry seems to be one of the few options until they show signs of You won’t find any shortage of people who will change as well. tell you that you should drive less - but can you? Once you have got the kids to school, is there time It’s the same with recycling and energy and just to cycle or walk to work? Is it just too far away? about anything that matters - we need to do what Too dangerous? What about the people too old to we can so that we can point to governments and cycle? No public transport that works or that you companies and big organisations and demand that can afford? Who decides this transport policy? they change with us, and give us real choices. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, think guesses. Scientists wrestle to try to make climate that we all know the answers to how predictions, but it is hard enough to predict the everyone needs to live, and all we have weather next week - there are real uncertainties. to do is SHOUT LOUDLY enough so that But a change in climate only matters because of ‘they’ finally listen. For one thing, the how we live, and how it will impact on us - and challenges that people face across the how we will live in the future is also changing and world may be much the same, but the responses that fit different cultures and different unpredictable. Put them together and we only know one thing for sure - all bets are off. places are not the same. And in the face of that time of radical change, Secondly we have no idea what will work in the which will be a white-knuckle ride, the best things future (even assuming we know what will work we can do will be to cultivate the skills and the today). The world changes, moves, things are values that will get us through. We need to be discovered that can’t be forgotten, events happen prepared to think differently about things, to foster that can’t be erased. The question is not so much our creativity and our imagination. So an important how we can get behaviour change, as how we can point is: don’t think you will get all the answers get the best from the unavoidable change that is from top ten tips. happening all around us. The best ideas can come from anywhere. Think of The one thing we are sure of is that the 21st your own ways of making a difference. The most Century will be a time of radical change. We can’t powerful question in the world is often ‘Why?’ If begin to anticipate the surprises that will come - anyone assumes that things can’t change, or have good and bad, the revolutions and transformations always been done this way so they will be done we will live through. Whether we have reached peak that way in the future - ask why. You will find that oil or not is not just a function of how much we find, sometimes this takes you to some surprising places. it’s a function of how much we will use. Both are 118.
  118. 118. And this is a simple skill you can work on. Read If it makes you lose the will to live then bin it - but books that are different to the ones you know you somewhere out there are ideas that you have never like, see different films, meet different people and thought before, things that will make you stamp have different conversations - not all of the time but with joy because they solve a problem for you, or some of the time. And that doesn’t mean ploughing open a new possibility, or just make you smile and through dull and dreary stuff. feel better about other people. This wild ride ahead will ask something else of us chance to learn about why we need people who as well - humanity, and an understanding of our don’t think like us, less chance to develop trust, less responsibilities to others. It’s a time when we are chance to hear ideas we haven’t already had. Even going to need each other. It’s a time that we need in our families we live ever more individual lives. It to remember who helps us live the way we do, doesn’t help to see a stabilising UK population if we but it’s also a time when those relationships could then all sit in separate rooms, needing a TV each. change quickly and we may need to redraw the maps again. In the face of this change we believe we need to get back to an understanding of how strong If we don’t understand why we need each other, if communities are forged - a theme we have been we don’t have a stake in the well-being of others, exploring with our Time of Gifts programme. we lose the underlying support for justice. We also Ultimately communities rely on the trust that there run the risk that they will lose their concern for us, will be mutual care and mutual support and the world becomes a little bit more dangerous. when it’s needed. Traditionally this trust was forged, and symbolised, The globalised world we live in means that some by gift-giving. Not the ‘here’s of the common bonds and some of the clear yours, where’s mine’ gift giving of understanding of the reasons why we need each Christmas, but sharing bounty when other have become much less clear. It’s much harder you had it. It’s not the same as to know what we do for each other anymore, or barter - you gave when you could even what the people in our neighbourhoods do and you may never get anything for themselves. The people who do things for us back, but you have invested something in are people we never meet, never even hear their other people and trusted that they will be names. We have much better opportunities to find there for you. friends who share common interests, and develop new cultures, than ever before, but we have less 119.
  119. 119. The other thing that is changing rapidly in our lives is that people have much less And maybe that helps to explain why courses such contact with nature. It’s particularly a as horticulture get almost no students these days, problem for the young. In one generation and why we are heading towards a time when if we the degree to which children are allowed needed to start growing our own food again it will to play outside has gone into free-fall. only be retired people who know how, if anyone. All sorts of weird problems result. There are health issues such as allergies and heart disease People can’t care about what they don’t through to psychological problems. Children don’t understand, and don’t have some sense of play together in the same way, or learn to explore connection to. If we stop caring about the land we and have adventures. They increasingly find nature have lost something fundamentally important for alien, and see land and earth as something to stay our future, as well as made our lives today a little away from because it makes you messy. bit sadder and narrower. human world. Sustainable development is a territory We have to allow for our feet of clay. Fear of not to be explored and that exploration will living up to the expectations (our own and other never end. It is not the case that one people’s) is one of the reasons we don’t start. What day someone will work out the answers, will happen the day when you come home from the and then we will be able to go home to pub and have an Indian takeaway and suddenly you catch up with what’s on TV and resume just can’t, really can’t, be bothered to worry about our lives - it is our lives. There will always be recycling all the bits and you throw it all in one bin? new horizons, new battles, new ideas and a lot of Can you live with your own weakness? You might new mistakes. We have to get past the idea that even feel the guilt nagging you now, just thinking trying to live sustainably means that we have to get about it. everything ‘right’, because it’s more complicated than that. Sometime we will just have to do what we We will not always live up to the ideal - but actually can, and expect to have failures as well as victories. so much of what real sustainable development is about relies on recognising our human fallibilities Not only is the search for perfection misguided, and learning how to work past them, and there is something that is so off-putting about it, pretending we don’t have them is no answer at all. so judgmental, so full of people ready to write We will make mistakes - but actually we learn more Top Ten lists about what other people should do. from mistakes than from successes. A perfect world sounds really quite spooky, and some of the worst of times have been when people Most important of all, we make mistakes because have tried to force perfect social orders on a messy we act, and strive and struggle and aim high - and that is what makes us human. ‘Living a sustainable life’ is like dieting or through the day. Actually none of that is true. But giving up smoking - it feels just so much when people talk about what we ‘must do’, what easier to start next week. It’s hard to find we have to give up, living with less, stopping this, the willpower to start today because, ending that - especially when it’s talked about in well, it’s going to kind of suck all of such a pompous, worthy, self-righteous kind of way the joy out of life, and it’s going to be 120. harder to do the things that make it possible to get – it’s easy to believe that the future has no fun in it.
  120. 120. And the language makes it worse. Have you ever live with less than we do have less fun. In fact the read a Sustainable Development Report that hasn’t opposite seems to be the case. Grinding poverty made you wish the end of the world would come of course means devastated lives, but there quickly? Some people’s conversations are full of comes a point as societies get richer where just ‘sustainable this’ and ‘sustainable that’ - will we all having more and more starts to make people have to talk like that in the future? Will we have to unhappy again. say words like ‘biodiversity’ instead of ‘life’? Where is the adventure in those words? Where are the Rich cultures, rich experiences, music, laughter worlds of possibility we could create? and fun and just enjoying life more - these are the foundations of a better future, not the enemies The hope comes from the fact that there is plenty of of it. evidence that consuming less, throwing away less, having less useless stuff, has something to do with happiness, and no evidence at all that people who The best ideas can come from anywhere. Think of your own ways of making a difference. The most powerful question in the world is often ‘Why?’ If anyone assumes that things can’t change, or have always been done this way so they will be done It sounds like some bollocks that you would see on that way in the future - ask why. You will find that a poster in a hippy shop, but actually it was one of sometimes this takes you to some surprising places. the great social insights of the 20th Century, and led to a new approach to revolution and positive And this is a simple skill you can work on. Read change that is still growing in strength. If you can books that are different to the ones you know you embody in some small way the values and actions like, see different films, meet different people and that you believe the world should be based on, have different conversations - not all of the time but then in a small way you have already succeeded in some of the time. And that doesn’t mean ploughing creating change - and big changes could follow. through dull and dreary stuff. If it makes you lose the will to live then bin it - but somewhere out That takes you back to number 1. there are ideas that you have never thought before, things that will make you stamp with joy because Do everything positive you can - but not because a they solve a problem for you, or open a new list has told you to. Do it because it’s who you want possibility, or just make you smile and feel better to be. about other people. 121.
  121. 121. Brisbane City Council Information GPO Box 1434 Brisbane Qld 4001 Printed on recycled paper © Brisbane City Council 2009 © Eden Project 2009 For more information visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au or call (07) 3403 8888

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