Climate Wednesday: #CultureDeclaresEmergency & Natural Climate Solutions launch

Two important responses to the climate crisis are launched today.

With a letter to world leaders, published in several newspapers, a group of notable scientists, authors, activists and artists calls for Natural Climate Solutions to create a better world for wildlife and people.

The world faces two existential crises, developing with terrifying speed: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown. Neither is being addressed with the urgency needed to prevent our life-support systems from spiraling into collapse.

We are writing to champion a thrilling but neglected approach to averting climate chaos while defending the living world: Natural Climate Solutions. This means drawing carbon dioxide out of the air by protecting and restoring ecosystems”. (Read the full letter here).

Also launching today is #CultureDeclaresEmergency, where the arts and cultural sector come together to join a wider environmental movement in naming climate change and the continued degradation of the planet due to human activity as a global emergency. As part of the wealth of practical online material on the CDE site, there is this inspiring future vision:

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.

Talking Birds calls itself a ‘green theatre company’, making work which can be described as ‘gently provocative’. If you know us and our work, you may know we are quietly motivated by a strong sense of social justice and we try to run the company, and our projects in the community, in a fair, principled and collaborative way. We are inspired by, and work towards, the positive world vision represented by the global sustainable development goals, and we use our work to connect people and place, to start conversations and inspire change.

Naming the climate chaos as an emergency is not about spreading fear, but about prioritising action and giving hope. We can solve this; if we work together and galvanise people to act to make changes to the way we live (which in many cases will make us happier, as well as being better for the earth); and if we petition decision-makers and governments to make the larger-scale or legislative changes needed (because up until now those in power have been too slow to act). We’re joining with other arts and cultural organisations under the umbrella of #CultureDeclaresEmergency to help spread the word that the earth needs our urgent help – and to encourage our friends, audiences and supporters to join us in taking action.

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Although this list (below) has been published on this blog before, it felt worth putting it in again here. These are all practical actions that we take, as a company and as individuals, and are (in no particular order) good first steps to take in responding to the emergency:

  • Always carry a refillable water bottle, coffee cup, fork/spoon and reusable carrier bags with you.
  • If you have to grab lunch on the go, choose something with no/minimal/paper packaging (in Coventry, a falafel wrap is a good option for this – but take your own cup if you want juice).
  • Use Ecosia as your search engine, because they will plant a tree for every 45 of your internet searches.
  • Switch your electricity and gas supplier to a renewable energy provider like Good Energy.
  • When food shopping, take your own containers/bags/tubs with you and choose loose organic produce when you can – in Coventry, try the market, or further afield, support the Zero Waste Shop (popping up across Warwickshire) and The Clean Kilo (in Digbeth in Birmingham)
  • If you are not already vegetarian or vegan, try to eat plant-based foods more often – if you need convincing how tasty and filling this can be, take yourself to The Pod for lunch sometime.
  • Get your (organic!) milk delivered in glass bottles – in Coventry, try Luckett’s Dairy.
  • If you can’t live without carbonated water, invest in a carbonating machine (like a Soda Stream) where the gas canisters are recycled.
  • Don’t fly. If you have to travel abroad, go by train. Walk, cycle or use public transport instead of using the car.
  • Actively choose recycled/sustainable options on office paper, toilet roll etc.
  • Use biodegradable cleaning materials such as Ecover (then get refills), Bio D and Method (who use recycled plastic bottles).
  • If you regularly cater for small events (board meetings, networking etc) invest in some washable (ie crockery!) plates, cups and cutlery. Think about changing the balance in favour of vegetarian/vegan options rather than these being considered a ‘special dietary requirement’. Use washable serviettes, beeswax wraps and reuseable kitchen roll.
  • Be nice to people – whoever they are. Listen carefully, care, be supportive, challenge injustice.
  • Try to spend some time outdoors to keep connected to nature, stay well, and observe the changes of the seasons (both expected and unexpected).
  • If you have garden space, grow some salad leaves or herbs, get seeds from the Organic Gardening Catalogue or organic mini-plants from Rocket Gardens. Think about how you can provide nectar to support the dwindling populations of bees and other pollinating insects, and of other ways you can offer refuge and sustenance to wildlife.
  • If you don’t have growing space of your own, but are in Coventry, join the Food Union  or Five Acre Farm.
  • Look for zero waste or plastic-free toiletries, like Ben&Anna’s deodorant, toothpaste in a jar, shampoo in a bar, re-useable toiletries and nappies.
  • Buy less stuff, but think carefully about what and where you buy. Buy local if you can, as every local (rather than chain shop or internet) purchase helps your town – if you don’t have a local bookshop, try hive.co.uk (yes, it is still internet shopping, but your purchase also gives a donation to an independent book shop of your choice, and we understand that they also pay tax).
  • Join or volunteer with organisations that are fighting for climate justice; contact your MP or local council; if you are an arts or cultural organisation or practitioner, there is lots of advice available from Julie’s Bicycle, you might also want to join #CultureDeclaresEmergency; support the School Strikes 4 Climate or take some other kind of direct action.
  • Have a look at (and contribute to) our reading list.

 

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Along with more than 180 arts and cultural organisations, we have signed up to #CultureDeclaresEmergency and we pledge:

  • to be truthful about climate chaos;
  • to share information and support our community in taking action, on whatever scale they feel able, in order to tackle this emergency;
  • to actively work to imagine and model ways that we, as humans and as artists, can regenerate the planet’s resources;
  • to work towards reducing our emissions to net zero (ie on balance one’s activities are zero emissions, taking into account all possible Greenhouse Gas emissions and actions taken to mitigate or offset those emissions) by 2025;
  • to support demands for more democracy within our civic institutions and government;
  • to actively work to enable conversations within our communities about how the emergency will affect us all, and the changes that are needed.
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