Archive | September 2013

Two Innovative Campaigns to Save Wildlife

World Rhino Day (22 September) celebrates all five species of rhino: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.  Rhinos are threatened with extinction largely due to hunting pressures. At the root of the crisis is the myth that rhino horn contains curative properties. Rhino horn is in fact, like human nails, made of keratin and has no medicinal properties. 

Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, northern England is highlighting the plight of the rhinos with an innovative art project.  Throughout September, the Park is asking visitors to donate their finger and toenail clippings in a bid to debunk the myth that rhino horn has medicinal properties.  The collection will run until enough clippings are collected to equate to an adult rhino’s horn. They will then be crafted into an artwork, which will be put on display before being sent to South Africa ahead of the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) meeting in 2016. This campaign really appeals to me because it gets people involved in a practical and thought provoking way and produces a piece of art that will then be used to influence world leaders in their decision making. 

 A similar campaign to help conserve elephants is being run by Care for the Wild, who have got the tooth fairy on board to educate children about elephants. The Tooth Fairy campaign is encouraging children to donate the money left by the tooth fairy to elephant conservation.

 As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

World Green Building Week

World Green Building Week (WGBW), organised by the Green Building Council, is taking place this week (16-20 September 2013) with the theme ‘Greener Buildings, Better Places, Healthier People‘.

The theme underscores the importance of green buildings to people, including healthier workplaces and increased productivity, improved learning outcomes for students and better homes.

Green offices have natural light, fresh air, low toxins and views to the outdoors. As a result they are healthier and more productive places as well as having a lower environmental impact.
Green homes have lower carbon footprints but with fresh air,
insulation and non-toxic materials, they are also healthier, particularly as they cut down on respiratory illnesses for their inhabitants.
Greener schools have more natural daylight which can improve pupils’ performance by a quarter.
What are your green building tips? Feel free to share ideas in the comments section below or share your green building story with the World Green Building Council.
If you want to get more involved you can find Green Building week events across the globe.

As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.

Insights and ideas – Article 31

Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states: Children have the right to relax and play and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.

Yesterday’s Insights and Ideas Cafe Event (organised by Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland) focussed on Article 31 and gave participants the opportunity to hear from excellent speakers and to join in discussions around this vital topic.

Tam Baillie, the Scottish Commisioner for Children and Young People was the first speaker. He pointed out that Article 31 is possibly neglected compared to the other articles of the Convention, and when it is highlighted it is too often narrowly defined only as the right to play, cutting out the vital requirements for access to cultural activities. He talked too about the importance of working with parents and adults who care for or work with children so that they become more confident about encouraging children to play and engage in cultural activities.

Katie Bruce of the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow outlined how the gallery works with children. The Gallery staged an exhibition ‘Blueprint for a Bogey‘ in 2011, which focussed on the children’s right to play. Children have been involved in the museum’s cultural programming.

Rhona Matheson of Starcatchers was the ext speaker. This is an innovative project that offers performance and creative activities for children under the age of five across Scotland. Starcatchers believe that:

  • Creativity has a fundamental role in supporting early child development
  • Creating performances and arts experiences for very young children is inspiring for artists
  • Creating opportunities for educators to build their confidence in using creativity in their every day practice can have a significant impact on them and the children they care for

Finally Caroline Currie of Glasgow Life, spoke about Takeover Day. This event (organised by Kids in Museums) happening 28th November, encourages museums to hand over control to children and young people for one day. Caroline talked about the Scottish pilot Takeover day that happened last year at the People’s Palace. Children from Pollockshields Primary School took over every element of the running of the museum, from authorising annual leave, to creating small exhibitions to updating the Twitter and Facebook pages. Museum staff were on hand to make sure nothing went wrong. Children who had never previously been inside a museum left the event as enthusiastic ambassadors for museums.


Following on from the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October and as part of Luminate: Scotland’s Creative Ageing Festival the next Insights and Ideas event on 3 October will focus on involving older people in cultural and creative activities.


As ever, bold text in this post contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Zero Waste Week 2 – 8 September

It’s Zero Waste Week!

Now in it’s sixth year, Zero Waste Week invites you to reduce landfill waste and save money.

This year’s theme is “Use it Up!” which will tackle food waste.

Find out more about Zero Waste Week.

Edinburgh recently introduced food waste recycling, which means that those unavoidable bits of food waste aren’t entirely wasted. It’s particularly useful if you don’t have a compost pile. I’ve always been very careful not to waste food and avoid overpackaged food products. I also avoid buying ingredients that I might use for one recipe but that I’m unlikely to use again. I try to never leave food in a shared office fridge, as that can often lead to things being forgotten and going mouldy and no-one claiming responsibility….

What are your favourite ways to cut down on food waste? Share your ideas for how to cut down on waste, either at home or at work, in the comments section below!