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    Pollinating insects: what do they mean to people and why does it matter?

    Christmas, S. and Bloomfield, B. and Bradburn, H. and Duff, R. and Ereaut, G. and Miskelly, K. and Scorah, K. and Whiting, Rebecca (2018) Pollinating insects: what do they mean to people and why does it matter? DEFRA.

    DEFRA_Pollinating Insects_PH0523_FinalReport.pdf - Published Version of Record

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    1. People value pollinating insects, and especially bees, in a wide range of different ways: as beautiful or fascinating creatures; as providers of goods; as objects of stewardship; as participants in a greater, interconnected whole – in which humans also participate; and as creatures with lives and characters. 2. An understanding of pollinators as creative connectors, sustaining and creating life by moving from plant to plant, is particularly powerful. Pollinators prompt people to think about nature as an interconnected whole, in which they too participate; and can unlock feelings of wonder, awe, groundedness, concern, responsibility, and nostalgia. 3. Social and cultural values provide a powerful resource for effective communications, a store of pre-existing meanings and associations that can be used to frame messages. Communications about pollinators would resonate more powerfully if they framed pollinators as creative connecters, emblematic of the interconnected and interdependent nature of ecosystems. By contrast, communications which focus on what pollinators do for us (e.g. pollination framed as an ‘ecosystem service’) are rational but unemotional. 4. Communications drawing on these insights should: • Highlight first and foremost the critical role played by pollinators as creative connectors in a greater, interconnected whole • Acknowledge our dependency on that greater interconnected whole, but also our responsibilities as participants in it • Be willing to embrace and use non-scientific language, ideas and tonalities in talking about both pollinators and the interconnected whole of which they are part, for example: o spiritual/religious language in evoking feelings of awe and wonder at the greater interconnected whole o evocations of an idealised, traditional way of life, and the possibilities of reconnecting in some small way o metaphorical characterisations of pollinators as spreading life and love • Recognise that we face choices about the environment not just as individuals, but as a society; that people see evidence of our society as a whole making the wrong choices; and that the actions of any body seeking to campaign about pollinators will speak as loudly, if not louder, than the messages it promotes • Emphasise – in messages, but also in developing the case for a campaign – the link between the holistic perspective, subjective wellbeing, and reconnection: o reconnection with nature: the consolation of knowing that one has a place in an enduring, greater whole, and a responsibility to play a positive role in that whole o reconnection with self: the experience of a moment of self-aware contemplation in contrast to the day-to-day stresses of life o reconnection with history: a sense of contact with an idealised traditional way of life 5. If developed effectively, such campaigns will contribute to many of the key actions in the National Pollinator Strategy, and in particular actions relating to “supporting pollinators across towns, cities and the countryside” (including encouraging the public to take action) and to “raising awareness of what pollinators need to survive and thrive”. 6. Because they prompt people to think about and respond emotionally to the interconnectedness of nature, pollinators framed as creative connectors could play an important role in communications seeking to increase awareness and change behaviour in relation to a much wider range of policies and approaches which relate to the connectedness of nature: for example, maintaining wider natural connectivity, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring environmental resilience through approaches such as those relating to the concept of landscape level conservation. As such, pollinators could play an important role in delivery of the 25-year plan for the environment, and in particular in efforts to increase public engagement. 7. Compared to other pollinating insects, bees occupy a central position in our culture. The ‘popular bee’ is not a real insect, but a product of a blurring of species, idealisation of the past, ignorance of the diversity of pollinators and, often, a shaky grasp on what pollination actually means. It is, however, a very meaningful and valued insect, and as such can serve as a flagship for communications in all of the above areas. 8. In terms of wider policy and decision-making, this research offers a potential model of how to create an evidence-based catalogue of social and cultural values. The development of such an evidence-based catalogue, using a mix of interpretative and participatory methods to explore how, and in what capacities, people can and do value objects of interest, should be an essential pre-requisite for robust valuation across a wide range of natural environment policy areas, but in practice is rarely undertaken. 9. Some types of social and cultural value can be captured through economic valuation: either through monetisation or through the inclusion of non-monetised criteria in multi-criteria analysis approaches. To do this, however, it is essential that data-gathering tools assess the right things: e.g. that willingness-to-pay questions frame the object of value in the right capacity and from the right perspective. 10. It may be more practical and/or appropriate to take account of some types of social and cultural value in policy and decision-making through other mechanisms, such as public consultation, political representation, or open policy-making. It may not be possible to monetise some kinds of value. In other cases, the effort involved in economic valuation may be disproportionate. If alternative mechanisms are not used, there is a risk that certain kinds of social and cultural value, or certain objects of value, are systematically overlooked. 11. Key levers to ensure that these alternative mechanisms are used effectively include: • Align policy frameworks – for example, set priorities and requirements in overarching national policies which ensure key social and cultural values or objects of value are taken into account. • Provide contexts – for example, create public consultation contexts in which certain kinds of value will be surfaced, or objects of value considered. • Improve processes – e.g. ensure consultation questions frame objects of value in ways that invite the articulate of key values. 12. An evidence-based catalogue of social and cultural values also provides a basis on which to anticipate risks and opportunities arising from changes in public opinion. Social and cultural values may be widely available within a society or culture but not, at any given moment, widely used. It is not always possible to predict how patterns of use will change in response to policies (e.g. forest privatisation, neonicotinoid pesticide policy); but an evidence-based understanding of underlying social and cultural values makes it possible to develop and explore scenarios of how they could change and develop responses accordingly.


    Item Type: Other
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Pollination, pollinators, social values, cultural values
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Rebecca Whiting
    Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2018 09:54
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:43


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