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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday March 12, 2021

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Barbara Fischer

Barbara Fischer

Liaison Counsel , German National Library

Working for climate justice - an update from the ENA Climate Group

In this post, Barbara Fischer of the Europeana Network Association (ENA) Climate Group shares how they are working and collaborating with other cultural heritage movements  to raise awareness of climate change in the cultural heritage sector. Find out more about a new cultural heritage climate action map and event on 19 March!

Trees in spring on a hillside
The Caroline Spring at Næsby on Funen
Dankvart Dreyer
Statens Museum for Kunst

Cultural heritage and climate change

On March 19, the Fridays For Future Movement is calling for global climate protests. The Europeana Climate Action Group feels that current political and economic measures for protecting climate, biodiversity, and human health are inadequate and lacking in urgency. In solidarity with global climate action, we are calling out to cultural heritage climate activists to push for collective climate action and focusing on steps that the sector can take to achieve this.

Climate change endangers our present and our future, and consequently our ability to share and learn from our past - as preserved in our cultural heritage - is at stake. Our profession and our institutions are at risk, when the impact of climate change is turning the world as we know it upside down. 

We have been working with members of various movements which bridge arts, culture and care for our planet, including We Are Museums and members of the grassroot movement Museums4Future. Together we want to highlight and share the climate action work we do as cultural heritage professionals. We want to make a difference collectively, as a sector, to the fight against climate change and work together to protect our planet. 

Introducing a Climate Action Map

To work towards this goal, we are supporting the launch of a Climate Action Map where cultural heritage institutions and organisations can share their climate actions, whether small or large. Together with other movements and initiatives, we are mapping these climate actions because we acknowledge the special social responsibility of galleries, libraries, archives, museums, theatres, concert halls and science institutions to care for the future of our civilisation, our culture, our planet. 

We are all aware of the many actions we can take, both on an individual level and as institutions, to inform, mediate and advocate for climate action in societal discourse. Now, it is time to share and connect our knowledge. 

The map is open source and easy to use, and offers five categories of actions which share actions which could be taken at an institutional level, offering information and inspiration for actions which professionals can lobby for in their own cultural heritage institutions. 

  1. Moving - tips on what you can do as individual climate activist

  2. Informing - on climate change through exhibitions, documentaries, seminars, art interventions

  3. Debating - arranging workshops and similar activities where climate action is debated

  4. Changing - house policies through actions like a sustainability audit, green waste disposal, renewable energy, considering your digital footprint, green events only, a vegetarian cantine. 

  5. Advocating - as political climate activist and raising your institutional voice against climate neglect 

To use the map, you click on the city where your institution is based, and the map-app will invite you to fill in a questionnaire. The answers are transformed into a colored pin on the map. Clicking on the pin will open the information up to the viewer and share climate action activities. We invite you to take part and create the map with us!

Stronger together

The ENA Climate Action Group is working on this map as part of a wider group of dedicated GLAM professionals who love arts and culture and want to preserve cultural heritage. We work in communication and cultural mediation, as cataloguers, librarians, archivists, curators, data managers and many other varied roles. We all believe that as we care for the past, we must equally care for the future and protect it for the following generations and that together, our efforts are stronger.  

Get involved

  • Contribute to the map and help us share the actions that the cultural sector can take now to make a difference - use #NoMoreEmptyPromises to link up to the global movement for climate justice.

  • Join us on Friday 19 March when we will be holding an online meeting to improve the map, share information on suitable climate actions in input talks held by experts, and debate how to move on. Sign up for the event

  • You can also join the ENA climate group on Basecamp to exchange information and get support and feedback on your work.