Richard Corrigan is an Account Relationship Manager for Scottish Business in the Community. Richard manages membership activity in the Aberdeen area and helps to align SBC’s support to meet the needs of Aberdeen’s business community.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him switch off the standby light.
Behavioural change is one of the great challenges of our time. Most reasonable people are aware that there is substantial waste when it comes to energy use, at home and at work. But we are all busy people and it’s easy to forget, be distracted, too busy or, let’s be honest, a little bit apathetic about taking personal ownership of the issue. … “Why me? What can I do?”
Ecotown is a Scottish Government funded project which aims to raise awareness of the impacts we, as individuals, can make when it comes to waste and sustainability. If we all make small changes, we can make a big difference.
Officially: Ecotown is an entertaining, visually stimulating, portable pop-up town set that our experts bring into businesses and that directly encourages employees to think about how they can reduce their environmental impacts and costs both at home and at work. The lively, colourful set helps staff understand and act towards a company’s existing environmental policies making employees and businesses more resource efficient.”
We recently displayed Ecotown at the University of Aberdeen, after Scottish Business in the Community was contacted by Fraser Lovie, a policy advisor at the University. He was keen to engage both staff and students on the issues of sustainability and personal responsibility. On the 11th and 12th of March 2015 the environmental roadshow took place in the awe inspiring Duncan Rice Library. Supporting the event were stand partners; Aberdeen Forward, Aberdeen University Students Association, Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations, New Caledonian Woodlands, SCARF, and Scottish Business in the Community.
Ecotown pop-up display
Over the course of the two days the stand partners interacted and engaged with students and staff (and the occasional tourist) on the merits of taking some personal responsibility for impacts on our environment and ways to think and act sustainably. As you can imagine there was plenty of paraphernalia for them to take away; from branded pens to kinetic flashlights (you have to squeeze them to generate a charge to power them) and from bike repair and tool kits to solar power calculators. These were gentle reminders to help us to behave more responsibly.
The main part of Ecotown is the display pop up stand its self which is a 3 dimension “town” full of facts and figures on waste and inefficacies. For example did you know that leaving a computer on overnight for a year creates enough carbon dioxide to fill a double decker bus? You will when you visit Ecotown!
Ecotown in Aberdeen
To further increase engagement browsers are asked to fill in a brief questionnaire, the answers to which are contained within Ecotown and the entries entered in to a draw with a prize of an energy use monitor.
Ecotown won’t answer the great environmental issues of the day all by itself, but it is a very visual reminder from participating organisations that despite policies, cultures and strategies, it is ultimately up to the individual to make a personal choice to change. Because it is a personal choice: red light on, or red light off?