The Arts' Positive Influence on Climate Action
A panel of experts around the world shared their thoughts on the most effective ways the arts can prompt climate action, including:
Encouraging human empathy. Climate change is asking us to care about people we’ve never met and to fight for their happiness as well as our own. I have family in the mid-west who I love deeply but who can’t wrap their heads around climate change because it’s “away”. The times when we can have a truly heartfelt conversation about this is when I bring the human element into it, to talk about my friend Abrar in Bangladesh and his infant daughter, to talk about real humans and their stories.
Leading by example. We’ve focused on developing the practical nuts and bolts to help people do sustainability – for everyone in the arts – artists through to tour managers, festivals, buildings. We work with funders and policymakers to put sustainability into the strategy of the sector. We believe that the creative sector is an ecology – from design to heritage – and all of us need to be engaged and talking to one another as well as wider audiences.
Offering concrete solutions. Here in the US unfortunately we are still fighting to prove that climate change is real to many people. The first season of our US documentary TV series Years of Living Dangerously worked to bridge the deep political divide that exists in the country, but for the next season, we will offer concrete solutions. We need to say not only that climate change is happening, but also, here’s the solution.