Sustainability on Display The opportunity to transform our visions about nature through science exhibitions
Ana Nepote – UNAM. Mexico
One of the greatest challenges for the 21st century is the transition towards more sustainable models of life and human-nature relationships. The 2030 United Nations Agenda for sustainable development raises a series of commitments that involve, governments, universities, and diverse social sectors. Among the 17 objectives included in the agenda, there is one related to sustainable development, production and responsible consumption (SDG12). Latin American countries have been centers of origin and improvement of crops such as corn, cocoa, beans, pumpkins, and medicinal plants. The local knowledge, experiences and community management of the land are practices providing sound and alternative referents towards sustainable transformation. In this proposal, two temporary exhibitions developed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) related to this topic are analyzed. The UNAM, one of the largest in Latin America, has 27 university museums. Between November 2018 and April 2019 the Science Museum, Universum, hosted a temporary exhibition about sustainable food production and practices that favor biodiversity conservation. A second temporary exhibition was displayed at the Museo de San Idelfonso between October 2019 and February 2020. This exhibition was related to the Art of Eating Insects in Mexico as a practice of culinary and natural heritage. Both museums are located in Mexico City, a megalopolis with great challenges in sustainability. Based on a qualitative analysis of the narratives and approaches of each exhibition, the discourse related to the issues of the production and consumption of sustainable foods, the relevance of knowing the origin of food and the role that consumers have in the transformation towards more sustainable lifestyles is discussed. These cases allowed me to analyze the role such exhibitions have for environmental communication, the need for interdisciplinary and multicultural perspectives in this topic and the potential contribution museums have as spaces for planetary citizenship.
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