Culture declares climate emergency

On 3rd April 2019 Happy Museum will join the first wave of cultural organisations declaring climate emergency.  As the accelerating impacts of climate change become increasingly evident it is vital that we face the truth, demand action, support each other and express solidarity with affected communities.

Our declaration follows:

We Happy Museum declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency

Since 2011 Happy Museum has stimulated and supported museum practice that supports wellbeing of people, places and planet. Through academic research, thought leadership, peer networking, advocacy, training and action, HM works directly with over 70 UK museums and impacted many more through events and an online presence which stretches globally.  For our Community of Practice the project is a space to experiment with museum practice, through principles of care, inclusion and collaboration, in a critical time of change.

We are living through  a period of growing awareness about the severity and speed and social and environmental challenges caused by unsustainable growth, climate change and resource insecurity.   In October 2018 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that we have only 12 years to make ‘urgent and unprecedented changes’ necessary to limit climate warming to 1.5 percent and avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty.

Our planet is our only home, and to limit damage and develop resilience as the climate changes will require the engagement of individuals, organisations and nations on a global scale, with each contributing according to its attributes and abilities. There is increasing interest in the potential for museums and cultural organisations (encompassing arts, science, heritage & place) to catalyse civic engagement and place-based activism in this frame.

Happy Museum pledges to work with and support our community of practice, working with other cultural organisations and agencies, in understanding and tackling this Emergency.

These are our intentions:

  1. We will tell the Truth

Governments, and their public broadcasters and cultural agencies, must tell the truth about the Climate and Ecological Emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and communicate the urgency for far-reaching systemic change.

  • We will communicate with our community of practice and support them to discover and share the truth about the Emergency and the changes that are needed.
  1. We will take Action

Governments must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.

  • We pledge to work towards reducing our emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • We will challenge policies and actions of local and national governments and their agencies, where we interact with them, that do not help to reduce emissions or consumption levels.
  • We will actively work to imagine and model ways that we and the organisations in our community of practice can regenerate the planet’s resources.
  1. We are committed to Justice

The emergency has arisen from deeply systemic injustices. Arts and Culture can imagine and forge shifts in the ways we relate to one another and the world, in our values and behaviours.

  • We will do what is possible to enable dialogue and expression amidst and beyond our community of practice about how the Emergency will affect them and the changes that are needed.
  • We will work to encourage new democratic models within civic institutions and government.
  • We believe that all truth-telling, action and democratic work must be underpinned by a commitment to social and environmental justice.

Declaration ends.

Find out more about Culture Declares Emergency (including the climate context, the role of culture and details of how to join the movement) or watch a short video