Linking wellbeing and sustainability – how confident are we?

How confident are we in making the link between well-being and environmental sustainability?

Catherine Langabeer, Operations Director at Julie’s Bicycle attended the recent Happy Museum Symposium where she posed the following provocation…..

My provocation picks up on Tony Butler’s introductory paper’s observation that:

“Linking well-being to environmental sustainability is more difficult than it looks….well-being in isolation is an ‘easier sell’ than the trickier implications of setting well-being in the context of less conspicuous consumption, low growth, or environmental stewardship.”

How confident do Happy Museum commissions (past or present) and associates feel making the link between well-being and environmental sustainability? How can we support museums to develop a fuller, more rounded, picture of sustainability while not losing the focus and excitement of the commissions? Are the commission recipients working with their colleagues to integrate an understanding of their museums’ environmental impacts and capacity to improve them into their commissions – or does it feel “siloed between the artistic/education and the operations/facilities”? What additional measures and resources might be needed to support a more integrated approach which recognises there is radical potential in addressing very practical questions?

This latter point was beautifully illustrated by Susan Sheehan when she described what can grow from trying to achieve a single “quick win” recommendation from the Energy Savings Trust that we draught proof our homes!

Julie’s Bicycle is a non-profit company working across the arts and creative industries, providing expertise in environmental sustainability to over 1000 arts organisations in the UK and internationally.