Posted by Christine St John Cox, Knowledge Leader: Carbon Management on 8 July 2011
Yesterday I supported a West London initiative to encourage school children to think about their environment and consider what they can do to improve it.
I sat and listened as a Dragon in a mock Dragons’s Den to presentations from secondary school children of all ages. Each pitch, like the Dragons’ Den we all know, was a bid for funding. The pitches covered all aspects of sustainability including community support and dissemination, health and well-being, waste minimisation and recycling, and energy efficiency. The bids were well thought out and in many instances offered a business case.
What struck me was how well informed these presenters where, not only on how to put together a pitch for funding but in the solutions that they had selected and researched and most importantly in the understanding of the need for these ideas to be disseminated. Most projects included a communication or involvement with others. For their ideas they wanted to get it right and then tell everyone else about, spread the message and encourage others to participate.
I found this particularly interesting as all too often I see organisations relying on a few individuals to deliver technical measures without communicating the opportunities to the wider group either in an organisation or a community. And yet my view is that the success of any sustainability programme is through the delivery of a process that is facilitated by communication and engagement. You can pretty much always find a technical solution, but unless you can get stakeholder buy in you are unlikely to proceed.
With all the new mediums for communication I hope that we can learn from this outstanding effort by the next generation of environmentalists!