I have a piece of art on my desk entitled ‘paper pushing punks’. It’s by a local artist who entered our Gallery Student Art Awards yonks ago. It made me laugh when I considered what we do and thought it should live in our office. I think the message is a actually meant as a metaphor for anyone stuck in the rut of a work role, traditionally associated with shuffling lots of paperwork, but I do like the idea of being a punk.
There’s no doubt that over Gallery’s lifespan we’ve pushed way more paper than I’d ever imagined we would. As we consider options for the future it still amazes me that there is a thirst from readers to consume print and a desire from publishers to continue with traditional print media in our digital world. Despite the glossy exteriors, most magazines there days are actually made from recycled paper. It’s not even driven by publishers’ desires to appear with strong eco credentials but more by the needs of paper mills and commercial printers to do so in their annual reports. Big industry, even more than their clients, need to communicate a consideration that we live in a world where sustainability is key.
Every business, irrespective of industry, is under evermore scrutiny to conduct business which includes a clear consideration of the environment. For us, paper has the advantage of being easily recyclable and biodegradable. You can’t say ‘plastic drinking straw’ these days without people boycotting your restaurant. A UK coffee-shop chain made a bold move by removing single-use cups from their 21 outlets last year, saving 125,000 cups heading for landfill, but costing the business £250,000 in sales. It does go to show that businesses are sacrificing profit for good and they’re incentivising us too. In the UK Pret a Manger have doubled their discount for using your own cup from 25p to 50p. Our local CafeJac do a 10% discount for using your own cup too.
Paper hats off to the Guiton Group too, who have dedicated a whole regular print title to the environment with their ‘ecoJersey’ booklet. We can’t go that far, but it is a worthy area to cover and one we’ve selected to touch on with this edition. We meet a range of Jersey people who live their lives and run their businesses under the mantra of ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ and have all manner of features that touch on change for environmental good.
We’ve made a conscious effort this year to re-align Gallery with its founding principles of promoting interesting creative work; publicising Jersey’s unique style. This month we switch out fashion for photography as we feature the exhibition ‘Don’t Shoot the Messenger; Images of the urban landscape’ which includes this month’s cover shot. It offers up a unique view into the de-commissioning of the iconic Jersey Gas Holder and is symbolic of a move to new, renewable energy and it’s great to that all the steel is set for recycling.
Have you been to the London Science Museum? I went at Easter and had forgotten how awe-inspiring it is. They have an exhibition called ‘Engineer your Future’ that focuses on the challenges we face in powering the planet. It’s very interactive and one feature is a touch-screen game in which you have to manage the removal of old power stations whilst installing renewables and making enough energy for the population. I played twice and failed twice. Here’s hoping mankind doesn’t.