How can we as ordinary citizens live more sustainably?
BiOrbic tried to help Dublin families answer this question at UCD festival this year. A team of 22 researchers and operations staff put together three separate exhibits, exploring the ‘Life of Plastics’, ‘Life of Food’ and ‘Life of Pets. Life of Plastics focused on our plastic waste, how to recycle better and what biodegradable materials we can rely on to replace plastic packaging. Life of Food was all about food waste, what are its impacts and how can we get creative in the kitchen to avoid it. And finally, Life of Pets looked at how we can take care of our animals and the planet at the same time, from vegan dog treats to sustainable cat litter.
Visitors to the festival could join in a variety of games at each exhibit, including speed recycling, mix and match games and making their own dog toys from household items. Completing each game gave them a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of our Annual Dublin Zoo Family Passes. Based on the registered emails approximately 600 visitors came through our exhibits and played our games!
A second chance at winning a family zoo pass came in the form of our ‘Sustainable Pledge’ competition. Aided by learning from the games and exhibits, families were tasked with the challenge of taking on one or more sustainable pledges. What would they do back at home to really enhance their sustainability? They had to implement those changes and submit photos or a video to us, with an explanation of what they had changed and the impact it had had.
The winner of this prize was 11-year old Nyah, an enthusiastic environmentalist who took on at least 10 different pledges! Some of these included taking the car less, buying plastic free fruits and veg, managing food shopping better and freezing leftovers, reusing dirty water for other purposes such as watering the plants, making vegan dog treats and DIY dog toys and having one ‘Earth hour’ a week to learn more about environmental issues.
We were so impressed with Nyah’s entry that we wanted to hand her her prize and congratulate her in person. We invited Nyah and her grandmother on a tour of UCD, where she learnt about life cycle analysis, bioplastics and even got the chance to run an experiment with elephant toothpaste! It was a pleasure to welcome such an enthusiastic young scientist to the Centre and we hope she will continue on to set an example for the rest of us!
Thanks to Tanja Narancic, Karthika Balusamy, Melanie Baur, Liina Rae, Jessica Chambers, Mauricio Troncoso, Amber Barry, Ajay Menon, Michelle Rich, Corine Nzeteu, Saranya Rameshkumar, Kate McKeever, Tomislav Horvat and Raphael Abolivier.
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