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Natural Impact: A KiC London event

Updated: May 14

By KiC member Tracey Wong Photography by Tracey Wong

On 24 April 2024, 24 Kiwis (how’s that for a serendipitous discovery?) gathered for the second in-person London KiC event of the year.

While living and working overseas provides its own joys and opportunities that would otherwise be unattainable, it was a common consensus around the room that reuniting with the New Zealand accent is always a treat – and a connection to home.

For me, this was my first in-person KiC meet-up as well as a catch-up with those I’d met at the NZUK Link Foundation’s lecture (in collaboration with KiC and CMS) back in January. Taking the time to engage in whanaungatanga and chat with other sustainability professionals about their mahi makes the sometimes-isolating journey to net zero less lonely.

Fellow Kiwi Dr Brad Irwin MBE, Head of Global Engagement at the Natural History Museum (NHM), was our guest speaker for the evening. As the first museum in the world to declare a climate emergency, he shared NHM’s long-term strategy in amplifying their impact through empowering, informing, and inspiring advocates for the planet.

From exploring the magical worlds of ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts’  (slide 10) to setting up a giant moving robotic plant at COP15 in Montreal (slide 17) NHM has always been intentional in bringing a unique mix of science and storytelling to interact with a wide range of stakeholders (including governments, policymakers, corporates, and youth). 

Connecting with global audiences through regular touring exhibitions is a major part of NHM’s services. An example of this is 'Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It’ (OBP)  travelling to places such as South Korea via the K-Green Foundation in 2023 (slide 12) and the Children’s Museum for Civilization and Creativity in Cairo to align with COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh (slide 15).

Their ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ exhibition (slide 11) is the longest-running and most prestigious nature photography competition touring internationally all year round. At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos (slides 13 and 14), NHM worked with an artist to present it in a very different format, supplementing this with scientists in an adjoining booth called ‘Talk Nature with the Natural History Museum’.

Summary of key messages from Brad’s talk:

✅️ We are facing not just a climate crisis but also a communication crisis. The world needs to be better at communicating what’s going on.

✅️ Research shows that doom and gloom doesn’t work in resonating with audiences. Instead, use cognitivity and signposting as more effective methods alongside simple storytelling of hope.

✅️ The nature narrative resonates globally – every country is accepting of this.

✅️ Having diverse team members who bring different experiences, skills, and perspectives is fundamental in enabling transformative change.

✅️ Young people are demanding that we move quickly on protecting their futures – we must act now.

Click below to view the full presentation

KiC April2024_NHM presentation
Download PDF • 2.70MB

We also heard from co-convenors Tessa Vincent and Miranda Hitchings about this year’s exciting plans for the KiC network. Whakawhetai to KiC member Matthew Papesch for hosting us at Impact Hub London King's Cross.

Tracey Wong Website | LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook

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