Culture Declares Emergency

Launch procession, London 2019

Culture Declares Emergency launched on 3rd April 2019, with over 3,000 artists and organisations having now declared climate and ecological emergency

Ackroyd & Harvey are part of the core working group, and co-devised the processional event at Somerset House, Waterloo Bridge, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Tate Modern and The Globe, with live sound cloud by Mira Calix, declarations of planetary emergency, song from poet Zena Edwards and extracts of performed texts from the public and notable writers

For more see this

Somerset House, London declared on 3 April, and Tate declared 17 July 2019. 

“As key members of the Culture Declares Emergency initiative, Ackroyd & Harvey were instrumental in convening a breakfast meeting at the Tate Modern last week between artists, architects, environmentalists and Tate staff, including Antony Gormley, Gary Hume, Cornelia Parker, Jeff McMillan, Mark Wallinger, Andy Holden, the Tate Modern director Frances Morris and the Tate Youth Engagement trustee Anna Lowe. It was as a direct result of this meeting and its strong artist presence that Tate decided to declare a climate emergency, stating that “as an organisation that works with living artists, we should respond to and amplify their concerns”.

Louisa Buck | The Arts Newspaper

See the section for Further Resources for a Declaration statement, which explains the Climate and Ecological Emergency in more detail.
There is no doubt
Humanity faces the combined catastrophes of:
  • societal breakdown due to the climate emergency
  • a mass extinction of vital biodiversity
  • degradation of ecosystems health everywhere

This is the Climate and Ecological Emergency, or the Planetary Emergency.

Of these, climate change is the major threat multiplier because it is non-linear, containing many systems that feed back on each other and accelerate change. This has now become an emergency situation 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 leadership. Fortunately, humans are capable of responding in a remarkable variety of ways to accelerate climate solutions and adaptations, and Culture can help stir up human response as well as creating new stories and visions for our world.

The declaration movement is gaining pace internationally. It started with Climate Mobilization in the US and Australia, and is now promoted by Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, School Strike for Climate and other groups calling for urgent action. Sir David Attenborough has expressed the urgency in a BBC documentary, Climate Change – The Facts. More councils across the UK are declaring all the time, including the Greater London Authority, and are committing resources to tackling this emergency. 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 places, skilled people, community partners, or innovative ideas and 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. See the Why Culture section for more.

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 or council to do the same.