The aim of the exhibition is to further the knowledge and understanding of the natural world using the River Thames as a useful example. To understand the River Thames, you must first understand a word, which has not widely been understood, or even correctly described, since its invention in the early 1960s.
This word is environment. In the dictionary it is described as the "physical surroundings and conditions especially as affecting people's lives. These are the conditions and circumstances of living and external conditions affecting growth." The environment is therefore anything outside the human body.
However the loose and often inaccurate use this word, by laymen, the media and organizations, has lead people to believe that the word environment is specific to some woolly idea incorporating global warming, saving whales, alternative energy, eating organic food and keeping footpaths open.
Understanding the environment is not an abstract idea, it is all about understanding the sum of the parts, to form knowledge of the whole; the world around you. It encompasses every aspect of our life. It is the term at the root, which links all other aspects of our survival. It incorporates commerce, politics, science, religion and every aspect of the quality of our lives.