Are you ready for the Drop?

On Saturday 14 August, a new partnership between climate charity Possible and Tees-based collaborative art project Picasso Baby transported a group of Teesiders by coach to a mystery beauty spot an hour from Middlesbrough – providing a new way for people living without cars to enjoy the North East’s famous outdoors.

Once at the secret location, participants can choose whether to join free creative workshops with artists Bobby Benjamin and John James Perangie of Picasso Baby, using inspiration and materials from the natural environment, or simply immerse themselves in the nature around them. The organisers will return the group to Middlesbrough city centre by late afternoon. The whole day is free of charge for those taking part.

The project aims to ensure that those without access to cars, or simply not wishing to drive, are given opportunities to explore and benefit from green space and nature.  The organisers set out to demonstrate the power of coaches to unlock journeys often underserved by rail and buses. They are now calling for more action from the government to support coach travel as part of low-carbon transport plans.

With supportive policies in place, coaches could be a viable and appealing alternative for many car journeys. Already if an individual takes a coach, the emissions from that journey are four times lower than if the journey was taken by car. Investment can only mean that those carbon savings become even more drastic. Using coaches, we could ensure that more people can access the nature, art, music, sport and history the UK has to offer, while also addressing the important issue of cutting UK transport emissions and congestion.

Max Wakefield, Director of Campaigns at climate charity Possible, said:

“The past 18 months have reminded many of us of how central nature is to keeping us happy. Yet if you don’t have a car, what for many is on the doorstep is instead just out of reach. In a city like Middlesbrough, where car ownership is below the national average, that’s the case for too many people. We designed Nature Drop to show there is another way – and to remind decision makers that we need clean transport options for everyone so we can all enjoy the country we share. With proper investment in coaches over the next decade we can close the gaps in public transport, reduce the need for cars – and cut the country’s carbon.”

Bobby Benjamin and John James Perangie, Tees-based artists from art collective Picasso Baby, said:

“As artists and curators we are always looking to explore new ideas, promote new voices and develop projects with a conscience. Working with Possible and Glimpse on Nature Drop provided a fantastic opportunity to engage all of these aspirations, while providing a valuable experience for all those involved. For people like ourselves  that don’t own cars, projects like this can provide an essential service – allowing people to access nature as well as the inspiration and relaxation that comes with it.”