Exploring the biomes at the Eden Project is an experience that stays with you. It is an emotional encounter, and it’s supposed to be. Whilst you are in that space it changes your perspective, something distant and ‘other’ becomes immediate and surrounds you.
A lot of energy and money goes into creating entire ecosystems where they don’t naturally occur, so that visitors can have access to it conveniently and safely. This is not an idea I had come across, but soon after stepping into the biome and asking myself “why?” -that’s what came to me. My thinking is that the outcome of this should be that problems like deforestation, the marginalization of indigenous people, and other issues that the Eden Project is trying to raise, don’t seem like distant, irrelevant problems like they might in people’s everyday life. Making these problems seem more immediate may help people care about them and change their behavior.
And that’s a major aim of the Eden Project, to install long-term attitude and behavioral changes. Or supposedly- I would question this, I am not sure that Eden creates the permanent change itself.
In order for behavioral changes to be created the facilities need to be in place to make it convenient for people to act in the desired way. Eden doesn’t provide the facilities for people to act sustainably in their everyday lives, but it may create the desire for system changes to be installed (creating bottom-up changes).
Another strategy that is also used throughout Eden is the ‘Shock Factor’ for example a sign in the rain forest biome with the following fact:
“An area of rain forest the size of this biome is destroyed every 10 seconds.”
The change in perspective and the shock factor aim to contribute to creating hopefully lasting attitude or behavior changes.
Watching the following videos my give you an indication of the experience, but nothing beats visiting for yourself!
Skip ahead to 2:15 to see inside the biomes on this video tour of Eden Project
For a fairly thorough tour…
A video showing the construction of the bioms, giving an indication of just how much work went into their creation