Promoting Environmental Awareness

On Emotions, Story-telling, and Banal Sustainability in a Staged Rainforest

in Ethnologia Europaea
Lars Kaijser Stockholm University

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This article investigates the promotion of environmental awareness in a staged rainforest at a science centre in Sweden. The organizers worked with the agenda to change people’s everyday behaviour and consumer routines and especially targeted the use of palm oil. This mundane way of approaching environmental issues is defined by the author as banal sustainability. The exhibited forest was employed for guided walks, stressing the domestication of the environmental challenges into issues of people’s everyday life practices. The promotion of an awareness rested on the bodily experience of moving in the staged rainforest, emphazising astonishment, adventure, and empathy. It worked as an attachment site, connecting insight to action. As such, it was practice-oriented, simplifying, and empowering.

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