Exploring environmental themes at the University of Cambridge Museums
What do we mean by 'green'? The environment is a vast series of subjects. The University Museums of Cambridge hide a history of how we have understood the environment and the problems it now faces, deep in their archives and in the objects in plain sight.
The history of environmental science is integral to our understanding of the future, whether it be the scientific equipment that gave us the data we now use to predict probable futures, or the way society has viewed environmental and scientific change in the past.
As our world changes the plants and animals of our planet are forced to adapt and migrate. This can be due to a range of factors such as changes in temperature, depletion of food resource, increased pests or increased predatory species.
As part of university departments, our museums represent current scientific research in our changing environment.
The term ‘sustainability’ can be used in many different ways, but to get to the root of it, it is all about making things last. In a society where it is expected everything is made with some built in obsolescence, the move to a more sustainable world means we need to make sure things last longer, especially the very big things like the buildings we live and work in and the way we use them. So how do you make a building green?
With changes in global temperature, deforestation and sea level rise there are many cultures under threat, their histories now becoming preserved in museums.
When considering the future of our planet we must learn from the past. Museums are protectors of objects and specimens, which tell the stories of an evolving planet.
The environment is not only something to be protected but to be enjoyed and used as it has been for millennia by our ancestors. The University of Cambridge Museums represents how these earth based skills have been used in the past and how they are still used today.
Nature is part of the environment we can all understand. It is something that has surrounded us in culture, art, stories and mythology. The way in which society’s relationship with nature has changed over time is represented in the stories passed down through the generations. These can be seen most prominently in the creation myths of ancient cultures.