Why declare?

The Earth is in crisis. Humanity faces the combined catastrophes of global heating, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity and a degradation of ecosystems health.

crowd waving banners at a protest
Declarers assemble in Trafalgar Square. Photo: Talia Woodin.

This is the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Of these, climate change, or global heating, is the major threat multiplier because it is non-linear, with systems that feed back on each other and accelerate change, indirectly destroying ecosystems. Direct destruction of nature – or ecocide – is resulting in major impacts on people and other species, including the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more about the truth and the science. Humans are part of and dependent upon biological life, and Earth’s operating systems have limits. Extraction, consumption and pollution – mainly by wealthy countries and large companies – are overshooting these limits halfway through each year.

This has been an emergency for decades, because governments and industry have not shown the necessary leadership, and, so far, have not acted fast enough. We are not waiting for more efficient wind-turbines or cheaper solar-panels. What is lacking is visionary and empathetic leadership. What is needed is urgent, comprehensive action to decarbonise, support places to adapt, restore nature, and make reparations and aid for the most affected.

Fortunately, humans are capable of responding in a remarkable variety of ways to accelerate solutions and adaptations, and culture can help stir up human response as well as breaking old habits and creating new stories and visions for our world. We in the cultural sector have immense potential to be generators for transformation.

There is no room for guilt and shame, and this is no time for excuses.

Join the Movement

The declaration movement is gaining pace internationally.

It started with Climate Mobilization in the US and Australia, and is promoted by Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, Fridays for Future and other groups calling for urgent action. Sir David Attenborough expressed urgency in a BBC documentary, Climate Change – The Facts. Many councils across the UK have declared, including the Greater London Authority, and are committing resources to tackling it.

Their declarations state they will work with civic partners, so this is where you come in. If you have creative or civic resources to contribute, such as meeting space, biodiverse sites, skilled people, community partners, or exciting programmes, then your declaration allows you to explain the contribution you can make. There is no more important way to express the value of arts and culture at this time.

If your area or council has declared an emergency, you may be called upon by local people, politicians or funders to respond. Making your own declaration, as an organisation or as an individual, is a good place to start. If your area or council has not declared, you can lead by example, using the power of your declaration to inspire your area, your council and your fellow cultural sector workers to do the same.

Declare now

artwork in woodland spelling To Be Heard

Why culture?

Why do arts and culture have such power to generate change?
burning questions cards

Learn more

How to get involved if you’re not ready to declare

Skip links

  1. Top
  2. Skip to content top
  3. Skip to quick links
  4. Skip to main menu
  5. Skip to search