Is your Sustainability Engagement interesting?
You might think that I’m exactly the kind of person who would drag the whole family to an event on ocean plastic pollution on a Saturday afternoon. However, I must admit I was a bit reticent to go to the Sea Life Workshop at the Star & Shadow, our local community cinema, as I really wasn’t in the mood to be preached at. I’m really glad that I did get off my backside and go as it was really interesting.
You see, it’s one thing to read about ocean plastics, or even do an impromptu litter pick at the seaside, but it’s quite another to inspect microbeads under a magnifying glass, or sift sand samples for nurdles under a microscope. And this is what the event got did so well. Even the one bit I thought was going to be preachy – Julia Barton’s Littoral Art video you can see at the right of the picture – turned out to be about what happens if someone burns plastic on a beach. You get a weird ‘plastiglomerate’ of plastics, sand and pebbles and there were samples to inspect. Which was interesting.
No-one likes being told what to think.
I’ve used the word ‘interesting’ twice there, and deliberately so. Engagement must be interesting to your audience. And here’s the crunch: no-one likes being told what to think, they want to assess the evidence and make up their own minds. This is why your primary school teacher taught you to ‘show, don’t tell’ in your writing. The Sea Life Workshop did this in spades: the kids loved it, which is the litmus test.