Culture Declares Emergency

Procession, London 2019

Culture Declares Climate & Ecological Emergency launched on 3rd April 2019, with the first wave of 193 declarers announced.

Ackroyd & Harvey are part of the core working group, and devised a processional event with declarations of planetary emergency for the launch at Somerset House, Waterloo Bridge, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Tate Modern and The Globe.

For more see this short film and a clip of Zena Edwards singing. Since this event, hundreds more have registered to declare and you can too.

Somerset House declared on 3 April, Tate declared 17 July and Whitechapel Gallery in process of declaring. 

See the How to Declare 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:
  • climate change
  • a mass extinction of vital biodiversity
  • a 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.