Our Article Writer Katie Charleston shares her thoughts on environmental responsibility.

Far into the future, the chapter of humanity’s matricide against Mother Nature concludes as we flee the crime scene, headed to the stars. Our mechanical counterparts are left behind, tasked with clearing the ruin that has become of Earth’s surface, in the hope that one day the land may become fertile once again, and we can return home.

Okay, so that was the storyline for Wall-E, but damn it they were spot on. The topic of environmental responsibility was recently explored and celebrated by AUBSU’s Green Team, through their ‘Go Green Week’ events, and the parallel exhibition in the BUMF gallery, which rather appropriately grew organically throughout the week as more content accumulated. Through their light-hearted events, the society explored some important messages, from re-using waste to how we can rescue the bees. As creative people, I personally think we naturally tend to be more aware of our actions, and care more about their consequences.

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This is an opinion shared by fashion buyer Anya Pearson, who has dedicated her career to her own morals. She believes that indifference and creativity are mutually exclusive, and that we have the responsibility to apply our skills and talents in a way that will make the world even just a little bit better. Anya is the person who brought the concept of ‘green washing’ to my attention. It has become a popular superficial marketing tool for many companies, exploiting naive good intentions for profit, instead of taking sustainable practice seriously for the sake of their own morality. This is not good enough. Being ‘green’ is not just a buzzword, it an urgent responsibility.

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Our generation is often accused of apathy, but frankly I think nothing could be further from the truth. We are so inundated with things to worry about. A newly appointed orange-tinted superpower believes that climate change is a “hoax”, nothing more than just “weather”, and he recently told CNN that he disagrees with environmental restrictions on businesses because “it costs so much and nobody knows exactly if it’s going to work”. We are the generation of the disillusioned, and consequently, so many of us feel insignificant. There’s only so long we can soothe our consciences with low energy lightbulbs, reusable shopping bags and recycling bins, and don’t get me wrong, that’s important, but it is time to think bigger, and to commit to real change. We need to take the time to understand what sort of change will really make the difference we need. We have the skills to tackle not just environmental, but also social and economic issues creatively and innovatively, designing for behavioural change which can make a real difference, rather than just superficial PR work jumping on the eco-warrior bandwagon.

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We don’t all have to quit our jobs, drop out of university and start chaining our naked vegan-fed bodies to the nearest tree at the first whisper of a chainsaw. We can make some practical changes. Maybe look at how you can make a difference locally, with associations like Compassionate Dorset, and events like the Great Dorset Beach Clean, or of course you can get involved with our own Green Team. Maybe even look bigger at what change we can make nationally, and globally. Think about the environmental issues specific to your creative specialism, and how you are likely to interact with this issue in the future. Do your bit. It is enough. In our lives and our careers, we will have opportunities to do more, and it is imperative that we take them. In respecting the Earth, we are respecting ourselves, our neighbours on this planet, and our very future.

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Our planet owes us nothing. We owe it everything. And we are paying the debt with destruction? No. What do we have to lose? Well, everything. But know that if we all make our own small contribution, it will be enough. We are enough. We must be.

Words by Katie Charleston, Illustrations by Bea Hatcher