This topic of arousing behaviour change through our children, or through our inner child is really branching out on the internet. After all, kids and young people are obsessed with having fun, aren't they?
Hanging around kids teaches us to bring out our gaming and playful spirit, so young people can be our best resource for ideas. (I know as my 14 year old son is just games obsessed - sadly, nowadays, games of the mostly electronic kind).
Children and young person's books are a great context as well as with feature films like the Wall E movie. A good friend of mine is writing and illustrating her own books using Scribble Press, and the occasional hints (very subtle I might add) such as about picking up after yourself and avoiding littering, are done very well.
Kids can make up quizzes along the lines of subjects they find amusing - eg games, jokes or quizzes where they find out about methane gas, and fun sewerage facts (and for the littlies, blind-fold games with trees/scents, researching butterflies, frogs and which plants they figure they are attracted to). There are sustainability board games, and no doubt computer games, too, galore on these themes. But we as adults can build games, events and competitions in to our lives that inspire sustainability or that even flag it as an incidental element.
For us adults, there are competitions at work to see how much we can bring down petrol use per kilometres or miles travelled (and this can be more fun if done while car-pooling to work), fashion reborn events - where people compete in recycled period dress, elegant after-five, etc sourced from local up-market vintage or op shops. Fashion swap parties are becoming very popular - 'swishing', UK - look this up. Men can increase their networks by meeting at computer, sports or other swap events - environmental sustainability often goes hand in hand with social and economic sustainability. Get that computer item you need, and make a new friend.
So next time you're thinking - how can we make sustainability fun, why not ask your daughter or nephew - as they are more likely to be putting their right brains, and imagination to good use!
On the radio I was listening to a couple of Mer-people who were using their status as mermaids to not only entertain kids, but also to get them thinking and learning about marine life issues. Why would mermaids and mermen be seen as enticing kids and young people to take an interest in the environment? Well, they're literally immersed in it all the time, and there is something arcane and other worldly about them, that kids find fascinating. It's their nexus with nature which makes them seem like the supreme authority on their natural surroundings, so why wouldn't kids be taken in by what they say? There is that element of glamour as well which no doubt gets the audience in.
As social marketers, we might consider the effect of using emotionally loaded phrases, like "Toxic Tax".
Does this work for the Liberal Party, in particular Tony Abbott to call the carbon tax a toxic tax, or does that actually work against their cause? We know the carbon tax is actually meant to bring down pollution, not the opposite.
So does the wording, Toxic Tax help or discourage people taking up the Abbott cause? I suspect it could work against him, as people will think it's rather ironical (and non-sensical).
I think I'm going to have to ask some more right-wing leaning people this! The trouble is most people I know are actually more left-leaning or greens supporters, so I don't think they will be unbiased.
Just putting it out there as a question!
LOHAS is an important environmental campaign theme message which links us back to sustainability, without making sustainability the primary focus, which is a great idea, as the S word and the E word (environmental) have been used far too much.
A number of local groups, including Horticultural Therapy Assoc, Sustainable Gardening Australia and Bulleen Art and Garden are promoting well-ness and psychic healing as a part of having gardens, growing vegies, getting outdoors, and this is great for selling the notion that a lifestyle can be both enjoyable and good for the planet. Nothing like incorporating companion planting, pollination, lure planting, vegies up walls, in pouches, or fruit over trellises, espaliered or over pergolas, is there? Lack of space? Your balconies or patios can look fantastic. I say: we can trade the hedge for some vege, in the creation of produce walls. (Patrick Blanc is famous for the large scale living walls, where the garden is literally attached to the building, but these are beyond most people's budgets.)
I am very excited about an edible wall gardening class I am doing with Karen Sutherland the productive planting guru who is making a lot of noise in the media. I volunteered at Karen's Open Garden Day and she had pumpkins sprawling in every direction over the back shed. Her garden is one of the most inspirational productive gardens I have ever had the joy to witness. Her website for Edible Eden is worth a visit. Karen has a Moomba float with 3000 edible plants which would be sensational to see on this coming Monday, if you can fight your way through the throngs! (For those from outside Melbourne, Moomba is one of Melbbourne's largest outdoor festivals) 3000 plants on a float - now that is totally crazy, but what an achievement.
There is no question that gardening and growing produce instils a sense of emotional well-being and healthfulness in those who have the time to participate.
Here is a link relating to the Melbourne and International Flower and Garden Show held each year which is a blogpost on my gardening blog (added to this post after the event). Designer gardens, like art in general are awe inspiring, and the photos on this blog are proof of this.
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle K., Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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