Having a network of ‘hubs’ is a characteristic shared by both Student Hubs and Hubbub, a new environmental charity. Set up by Trewin Restorick, Student Hubs chair, Hubbub seeks a fresh approach to communicating sustainability issues. I have recently joined their team as an intern – a small team with huge ambitions.
Knowing how to effectively communicate environmental issues was something I found difficult as a student at Birmingham University. I could not work out how to reach beyond the usual suspects and get non-greenies involved in taking action on important issues. Since then I have realised this conundrum extends beyond the Uni setting. Great swaths of the public are uninspired and unengaged when it comes to big global issues, and I’m beginning to understand why. Our psychology seems wired to react to immediate concerns; the state of our finances, relationships, job security. It is unsurprising that people find issues like climate change, so far removed in space and time, hard to decipher and engage with. Perhaps its time to lay off the scary carbon facts, wagging fingers and guilt-tripping, and try something new.
Hubbub is trialling a new approach, tapping into mainstream interests like food, fashion and sport. The Great British Bake Off and the rise of celebrity chefs have shown how much we value good food and flare. The proliferation of magazines and fashion blogs has highlighted mass interest in looking trendy and stylish. Sport is a source of pride, loyalty and excitement for many. Hubbub thinks there’s huge potential to tie in ‘doing good’ to all of these areas and more. If activities and campaigns are simple, relevant and enjoyable, perhaps new audiences will get involved.
An example of this came at Halloween this year, where Hubbub pinned the issue of food waste to the humble pumpkin, encouraging people to eat the edible bits of their Jack O’Lanterns. #pumpkinrescue trended on twitter and ran alongside a fabulous 10-day pumpkin festival in Oxford. My personal highlight was a pop-up kitchen in the town centre which fed over 800 people with free soup, cooked from food surplus that would have otherwise gone to waste. Shoppers were surprised by the fact cutting household food waste could save them £60 a month, and most expressed a natural outrage when attention was drawn to the kilo of rescued squash, that would have otherwise rotted in a field. Have a peek at the video made on the day here.
Next up Hubbub will be delivering a #festivefreeze campaign, to fight food waste around Christmas. Love Food Hate Waste has estimated we bin an astonishing 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies during the festive season so we want to promote the numerous benefits of freezing Christmas leftovers. There is much more in the pipeline for our fashion hub, neighbourhood hub and more. If these are things that interest you, register for free on our website (www.hubbub.org.uk) and follow our journey….