Biodiversity communications: inspiration at BioFresh
10 December 2010
The BioFresh ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is one example of this new thinking. The Cabinet’s developers, Paul Jepson and Rob St John at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment, are exploring the potential of new technologies such as blogs, social media and smart phones to re-imagine and reinvigorate old ways of engaging nature that appeal to the general public.
Also known as Wunderkammer (literally, ‘wonder-room’), Cabinets of Curiosities were popular in Renaissance Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries and reflected both a thirst for intellectual stimulus and the investigative spirit prompted by an increasingly expanding known world. The premise of this communication tool is that curiosity and investigative spirit are alive and well and stimulated by the exciting capacity of the web for virtual exploration of knowledge, ideas and places.
“Engaging people in the wonder of nature is a vital first step for conservation. Whilst it is appropriate for scientists and conservationists to want to tell people about threats and losses to biodiversity, it risks adding to a background sense of gloom. We need to balance the message that ‘biodiversity is declining and it’ll cost us’ with more aspiration messages such as ‘Hey, isn’t nature amazing. Surely it is something we’d all want to cherish and protect.’”
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