What to do to respond to the emergency
Emergency action is called for
In a time of emergency, we need to be emergent as resilient practitioners and organisations, ready to adapt to external changes and to ‘be the change’. ‘Emergent’ in ecology means to stand above the rest, to be visible or prominent, so this is a chance to announce your stance on the planetary crisis and its many implications for justice.
We are in the preparatory months - even days - to change minds to create some stability and to save some lives. We are all at risk, and that risk will not disappear even if these demands are met.
Co-creating a regenerative culture - one that is inclusive, healthy, life-supporting, resilient and adaptable - requires rebuilding just and ethical relationships between ourselves, and with other species and the landscape. This takes time.
Regenerative culture includes:
Suggestions of preparatory work you can do now
Being a platform or helper
Hold space for public discussion
Consider your own/team wellbeing in face of Emergency
Make an Emergency action plan
Agree limits on direct action
Sustaining change longer term
Use the resources and frameworks here to further your knowledge and build capabilities to respond as the emergency deepens:
Do use existing tools and frameworks so you don’t reinvent the wheel. But also, this emergency needs radical and diverse ideas to change our organisations:
See below more inspirational examples, networks and resources to help you.
More resources and links
Inspiring cultural organisations
These are organisations with a legacy of inspiring ecological or climate-related practice. If you are an organisation declaring, use the form to tell us about the work you are doing and we may be able to add you to this list. See these Pinterest boards that showcase individuals and organisations who have declared.
Arcola Theatre: Good green practice in every aspect of the organisation
Artdotearth: A family of arts and ecology organisations centred around the South West of England – a great website promoting many residencies and exhibitions.
Arts Catalyst: Contemporary art about our changing world, science and environment.
Art for Extinction Rebellion: Publicise and co-ordinate art for XR actions.
Art Not Oil: A coalition of campaigners resisting sponsorship by oil companies
Cambridge Centre for Curiosity and Imagination: Early years, creativity and the environment
Cape Farewell: Artist journeys to environments that strongly indicate climate change
Centre for Contemporary Art in the Natural World: Commissions, research and exhibitions exploring ecology.
CIWEM Arts & Environment Network: Research and arts projects on water and broader environmental topics.
Climaginaries: Multidisciplinary group of scholars exploring creative ways of envisioning how a post-fossil world might look
Climate Museum UK: Mobile museum responding to the climate emergency
Climate Cultures: Network of practitioners, creative conversations for the Anthropocene
Climate Revolution: Backed by Vivienne Westwood, supporting creative activism against climate change
Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice: International network based in Canada
Coney: Interactive theatre makers, making work around climate and issues of interest to their participants
Counterpoints Arts: A leading national organisation in the field of arts, migration and cultural change.
Creative Carbon Scotland putting culture at the heart of sustainability in Scotland
Culture Unstained: Research and engagement on oil sponsorship of culture
Culture Shift: How artists are responding to sustainability in Wales
Dark Mountain Project: A network of artists and writers who have stopped believing the stories civilisation tells us
Eco Art Scotland: Platform for environmental arts in Scotland
Encounters Arts: Participatory creativity, dialogue and change projects in the South West
The Enoughness Project: Indigenous knowledge
Grizedale Arts: Forest and land art in the Lake District
Happy Museum: A network of museums exploring wellbeing through an environmental frame
Invisible Dust: Curation of high quality environmental contemporary art projects
Julie’s Bicycle: Guidance, frameworks, leadership training, events and Season for Change
LTCGreen: London Theatre Consortium sustainability projects, such as the 2018 Artists Climate Lab
Morning Boat: A floating lab for research and action about ecology
Museums and Climate Change Network: International network based in Australia
ONCA Gallery: Creating space for change, art for social and environmental justice. Based in Brighton.
Open Jar Collective: Socially engaged arts collective
Platform London: Well-researched resources and campaigns on oil industry, economy and the arts
Remembrance Day for Lost Species: A network that organises Lost Species Day annually on 30th November. Initiator of use of extinction symbol and funerals for lost species.
Royal Court Theatre: A writer's theatre, hosting work on a range of contemporary issues including climate change.
Stories of Change: OU research project on cultures and narratives of climate change
System Change Hive: A creative engine room to explore alternative visions for the future of society, based in Brighton.
What Next Climate Change group: Meets in London quarterly, supported by Julie’s Bicycle
UN Live Museum: An emerging major museum in Denmark and online/everywhere, inspiring people to tackle global challenges of climate change and the other Sustainable Development Goals.
Inspiring environmental organisations
Resources and ideas for environmental and social change. Many of these organisations already work in partnership with cultural organisations and practitioners and are keen to do more.
Atlas of the Future: Lots of solutions, includes a map of creative/arts projects working on social & ecological challenges
Centre for Alternative Technology: offers practical solutions and hands-on learning to help create a zero carbon world. See Zero Carbon Britain. Works with cultural sector.
Climate Outreach: Provides resources to ensure climate change and its impacts are understood, accepted and acted upon across the breadth of society, creating a truly sustainable future.
Commons Abundance Network: Group working on the commons as core paradigm for sustainability and social change.
Common Cause Foundation: Training and research on Values and Frames towards social and environmental impact. Works with cultural sector.
Earth Protectors: Campaign to make Ecocide an international crime against peace. Founder Polly Higgins (sadly lost to us Easter 2019) has worked with arts and culture to explore and promote this idea.
Natural Climate Solutions: Creating a better world for wildlife and people.
Permaculture Association UK: Helps design intelligent systems which meet human needs whilst enhancing biodiversity, reducing our impact on the planet, and creating a fairer world for us all.
Public Interest Research Centre: Works with civil society to develop stories and strategies for a more equal, green and democratic society.
Rapid Transition Alliance: Evidence-based hope for transition, because the climate is changing faster than we are.
Schumacher College: Internationally renowned learning community offering ecology-centred masters programmes and short courses.
Transition Network: A network of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world.
Zero Carbon Britain: An initiative of CAT, since 2007 it has offered the hard data and confidence required for visualising a future where we have risen to the demands of climate science. It has helped to show that it is possible for the UK to rapidly transition to net-zero emissions with existing technologies.
Deeper reading: Publications, toolkits and ideas
20 types of cultural response to emergency: Bridget McKenzie
Dark Mountain: books and blogposts
Designing Regenerative Cultures: Book by Daniel Christian Wahl
The Deep Adaptation Agenda: Paper by Professor Jem Bendell
‘Playing for Time: making art as if the world mattered’ Book by Lucy Neal and Charlotte du Cann, 60 narratives of artist activism looking at planetary challenges.
The Memory We Could Be: Overcoming Fear to Create Our Ecological Future, by Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik
Resources on Declarations of Emergency
Climate Emergency (UK)
Climate Emergency Declaration (Australia)
Demand a Climate Emergency Action Plan (Centre for Alternative Technology, UK)