British museums have come to an agreement to work together in addressing the urgent issue of climate change.
Museums in the UK, both national and regional, have come to a mutual decision to address the climate emergency by adopting sustainable practices in managing their collections and utilizing their influence to educate audiences about the matter.
Museum representatives, organizations, and funders gathered at Tate Modern in London for the inaugural UK Museum Cop event. Attendees included museums and organizations from various cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Leeds, Derby, Liverpool, York, Sheffield, and London. National bodies from England, Wales, and Scotland were also present.
Prominent museums and art galleries, such as Tate, have terminated sponsorship agreements with fossil fuel corporations in response to pressure from environmental activists. The British Museum, which was not involved in the Museum Cop, declared this year that it had concluded its 27-year sponsorship deal with BP.
Museum leaders expressed their responsibility to address the climate and biodiversity crisis in a statement that was described as the first joint commitment for collective action.
According to a statement, museums are institutions that have a focus on the long-term. They hold collections related to the Earth’s past five mass extinctions, and currently we are experiencing the sixth one known as the Anthropocene. Leaders of UK museums believe they have a moral responsibility to address and lessen the harm caused during this time.
The pledge includes using collections, programs, and exhibits to involve audiences in the climate crisis and motivate them to take constructive steps. Additionally, it commits to sustainable management of collections, creating and executing decarbonization plans, and enhancing biodiversity in museum green areas.
Maria Balshaw, the director of Tate and chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council, stated: “Museums and galleries have a distinct viewpoint as institutions that must have a forward-thinking approach in preserving collections and narratives for the future.”
The conference reached a consensus on crucial measures to decrease the environmental effects of museums and demonstrate how they can motivate constructive change in our society.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens’ CEO, Nick Merriman, and the chair of the Cop stated that museums have a unique role in discussing the climate and biodiversity crisis. They can offer a perspective that surpasses the immediate effects of politics and economics.
It is highly significant that the entire museum industry has united to emphasize the need for immediate action. We will collaborate to put into effect the agreed-upon actions.
The conference urged UK politicians and businesses to hasten their efforts towards addressing climate change “before it’s too late.”
The report suggested immediate modifications to zoning regulations and a greater allocation of funds to preserve historic structures. It also advised all museums to prioritize environmentally friendly options in all aspects of their operations.
The conference stated that incorporating environmental sustainability into training and apprenticeships within the sector is important.