Author – Dr David Sergeant
Even when they don’t run into dystopian feelings of pessimism and hopelessness, talk of environmental initiatives – such as the Devon Carbon Plan – can quickly feel dry, burdensome, like just more work. And of course, meaningful change will involve work! But Net-Zero Visions is a reminder that the Carbon Plan and net zero transition are not just a chore or penance or exercise in self-denial – they are about making a better world that we, and those who come after us, get to live in – a world that not only does what has to be done, to minimise catastrophe, but that could be more fun, pleasurable, rewarding …
“The imagination goes ahead of action. Picturing in detail how the world around you might be better can be the first step to making it so. However, while climate change affects everyone, different communities and individuals face different challenges in relation to it. Net-Zero Visions aims to support and encourage as many people as possible in exploring how the places where they live might change for the better, as a step towards making real the ambitious but urgently necessary goals of the Devon Carbon Plan.”
Net-Zero Visons is where dreams and desires for a better life – more environmentally sustainable, but also potentially more satisfying, imaginative, pleasurable, equitable, healthy in every sense – get harnessed to what’s possible and what’s already available. With this work performed on actual locations, overlaying a possible and wanted future onto the places that surround us, that we walk and breathe in, the places we know and that are part of our daily lives. Bringing a different version of those places into being, so you see not just what is possible, but how close they might be to the world you’re currently in.
And then: sharing these visions. If you’re already involved in net transition or related work in your community, and are in one of the locations where a professional media Net-Zero Visions will be set, using the Visions as a way of drawing more people in, to raise an awareness of what is needed and possible, and to engage them in making it happen.
And if you’re not involved in one of the location visions, getting involved with the process in relation to where you live, perhaps with the people around you. This could be as casual as simply raising it as a question round the pub or café table, ‘in the best possible world, what would this place look like in 2050?’ – and don’t let your imagination be shy, really go to town – you might be surprised that what can initially seem pretty wild starts to feel more like well, really, why not? when you’ve started to think about it.
In the months to come there’ll also be the chance to make a net zero vision yourself and submit it to the project website, where it will join others to make a Devon mosaic of desired futures. Equally, why not use the idea of imagining a net zero future in work you’re already doing with other people, whether you’re a teacher or a parish councilor or a farmer looking to adjust to the changes in the basic payment scheme? And then send your ‘vision’ on, so we can add it to the collective picture we can build together and start to move towards …
Read more about the Net Zero Visions project on the Plymouth University website .
Take a look at the commissioned artists and find out how to submit your own vision on the Devon Climate Emergency website .