With it being holiday season Little Miss C and I are really doing the days out thing at the moment and our adventures this week took us to Luton and more specifically Stockwood Discovery Centre.
If you're local and have not been before then it is a lovely free day out. The museum is vast, covering a wide range of exhibits from farming machinery to horse-drawn carriages, and there's also a lovely cafe, playground, grounds and the wider Country Park to explore.
The reason that took me to Stockwood this time was having heard about the Treasures from Trash exhibition that is on at the moment. I always like finding out more about environmental issues, and recycling is something that I'm particularly interested in. The exhibition looks at all the different ways in which new objets are created from what others might throw away. Some of the things featured were recycled objects that I was familiar with – reusable shopping bags from old carrier bags, art objects from old drinks cans and jewellery from bottle tops.
For me though one of the most fascinating parts of the exhibition was the videos showing recycling in some of the poorer parts of Africa. There people take whatever they can find and look to repurpose it, either for their own benefit, or to sell for money to help their families. Watching how hard these people were prepared to work to help their families was inspiring and really made me think again about the recent riots and looting in London and other British cities.
These people in Africa were poor. Properly poor (if you can use that term). Some of them didn't know where their next meal was coming from and their homes were very, very basic – especially by Western standards. However, they were prepared to do whatever it too to try to make their lives and family lives better. Cooking pots were made from old beans cans. A children's cart made from old plastic bottles. Toys made from old car tyres to be sold for money. You certainly didn't see them helping themselves to a new plasma TV or pair of trainers because they felt their Government has let them down. Why can't some people in this country realise that they can't have everything just handed to them. Have we really brought up a generation that isn't prepared to work for things? If so it's a sad state of affairs and I'm not sure how we reverse it…
The Treasures from Trash exhibition is on until 25 September 2011 at Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton.