Posted 23rd December 2020
Environmental Sustainability Chair
Welcome to the last Watts Gallery Environmental Sustainability Working Group of 2020! Our working group was established in 2018 and is made up of one member from each department, who meet up each month. We carry on G F Watts's interest in preserving nature by focusing on ways we can reduce our site emissions and our waste, as well as developing a sustainable travel project. Despite a challenging year, the group have worked hard in 2020 to continue to work towards these objectives.
Our group sends regular updates to all our staff, sharing wider news and further resources on the subject on environmental sustainability. Keep reading to find out more about our recent updates.
A 2017 report by the American Psychological Association describes eco-anxiety as a source of stress caused by “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations." It adds that some people “are deeply affected by feelings of loss, helplessness and frustration due to their inability to feel like they are making a difference in stopping climate change."
So, what can we do?
Over the past few years, we have found that action is the antidote to anxiety. We can overcome these emotions by working to build community and coming together to fight for systemic change.
If you're feeling anxious, know that you're not alone.
Throughout the year, Julie's Bicycle have been hosting a Creative Climate Chats series - conversations with leading thinkers in culture and climate to discuss the issues, and offer some fixes from their perspective. The latest chat was with Nick Merriman from the Horniman Museum and Gardens, where Nick talks about the unique role that museums can play in talking to audiences about long-term issues, the need to work with others and not be afraid to take action, as well as their decision to put environmental and social justice at the heart of the museum's mission. The full talk can be found here.
Top tips for a greener Christmas!
- Recycle your wrapping paper – remove any tape or decorations like bows and ribbons. Only paper that is shiny or has glitter on it cannot be recycled, however if you unwrap this paper carefully then you can save it to reuse next year.
- Look out for plastic-free Christmas crackers, which are becoming more popular in high-street shops and supermarkets.
- Why not research if you can rent your Christmas tree this year? Certain farms are offering a new service to provide you with a potted tree, which they collect after the festive period and take back to the farm to continue growing for another year.
A huge thanks to everyone who has come to a Working Group meeting this year - it's fantastic that we've been able to continue developing our environmental practice throughout 2020. Here are 3 things we have achieved this year:
- We were nominated for the award of Best Newcomer at Julie's Bicycle's annual Creative Green Awards, held in November 2020.
- We sent our first shipment of collected plastics to Ellie's Fund, a Yorkshire-based charity who collect hard-to-recycle items in order to raise money for mental health services.
- As part of our landscape interpretation, the Estates team have introduced a series of micro-climates across the site, including insect hotels, hedgehog homes and natural log piles. This will encourage biodiversity across our woodland.