Nature is in crisis with half the world’s animals lost in the last 50 years. A 2018 global biomass study found that, of all the mammals on the planet, livestock make up 60%, humans 36%, and wild animals, just a tiny 4%. Nature isn’t just about amazing creatures like whales, elephants and gibbons – it also provides our food, over a billion jobs, and our sense of wellbeing. Nature is vital to help stop climate change too with forests, wetlands, peatlands and oceans currently absorbing more than half of the CO2 that the world emits.
Last year Cambridge Carbon Footprint spent a weekend at the Cambridge Festival asking children what they’d like to see in a fairer and greener future and a key wish was more room for nature. So this year we’re inviting families to ‘The Shrink Lab’ – a space filled with scientists and environmental leaders who’ll share practical tips on how families can shrink their impact on our planet so that other species may thrive.
Despite 27 years of COP gatherings, emissions are still rising – government and business just aren’t going to act quickly enough to protect our planet, people and animals. Individual action alone won’t either, but just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something. And there are three reasons why you have more power to help nature than you probably think:
• 60% of the reductions needed in the UK require some level of change from individuals – shifts in how we travel, heat our homes and what we eat and buy are hugely significant.
• Research says that only 25% of people need to adopt new attitudes and behaviours before they become the social norm. Most of us know in our hearts that things need to change so seeing people like ourselves make a different choice can nudge us to do the same, and the more people are doing something the more we consider it to be the right choice. Social compulsion can be a lot more powerful than facts and figures – my kids can hardly believe that people used to smoke in cinemas, in train compartments and on planes.
• Talking about climate change makes a big difference. Mentioning your concern about extreme weather, poor harvests, and noticing less wildlife normalises the science and stops people feeling like there’s no point in doing anything because they’re the only ones who care. This may sound rather trite but simply talking about climate change with the people we know is the single most important thing most of us can do.
Please join us at The Shrink Lab for 1:1 advice on reducing your footprint and for tips and practice on making 2023 the year you start talking about the climate crisis. Local artist Hilary Cox Condron will be inviting visitors to work alongside her to transform the lecture hall into a vision of a future that’s teeming with life.
The Shrink Lab is part of Cambridge Festival’s family days on Sat 25 and Sun 26th March at the New Museums Site. See www.festival.cam.ac.uk for further details.