Enthusiasm is everywhere, even in the debates surrounding environmental knowledge. Just consider the rise of the amateur – they did it for the love of it! Well, after my recent experience at the Nottingham ‘contribution of the amateur’ event, I am even more convinced that the enthusiast has a considerable contribution to make our understandings of and debates surrounding the environment and climate change. Their fascination, passion and commitment to the cause is unparallelled and their depth of knowledge is considerable. Enthusiasts (aka amateurs for some) have long made a significant contribution to our knowledge of the world, for example in the field of natural history.
I intend to take my interest in enthusiasm further by combining it with recent work I have completed (with my colleage Catherine Leyshon) on climate change through the example of birdwatching. Whilst the cultural history of the birder/birdwatcher has been discussed at length in the popular press, their contribution to environmental policy, protection and science requires closer attention. Watch this space to see how the project develops.