ideas into action
This page highlights just a few of the many resources and initiatives that anyone interested in accelerating and enhancing climate action through museums can draw on.
'Networks' includes networks that museum professionals and other interested people and organisations can join. 'Initiatives' showcases programmes that museums and museum professionals can support and empower people to participate in by providing relevant activities. 'Books' features a number of publications focussed on museums and climate action. In addition, you will be able to find many references to further material in the MfCA Book and Toolkit, when these are available in November.
There are a number of international networks that anyone interested in climate change and museums can join. In addition to these, there are more that are focussed within particular countries or regions.
Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice mobilizes and supports Canadian museum workers and their organizations in building public awareness, mitigation and resilience in the face of climate change. Although it has a Canadian focus, its activities have a wider relevance for museums and museum workers worldwide.
Museums and Climate Change Network is a community of interest, that shares ideas and inspiration about creating effective outreach, sharing powerful stories, and supporting understanding around the challenges of global environmental change. The website is a good source of information and reviews on climate activities in museums worldwide.
Museums for Future is a non-profit, independent organization. It is a global community powered by passionate local networks of museum workers, cultural heritage professionals, and dedicated institutions.
Culture Declares Emergency are a growing international movement of individuals and organisations in the cultural sector declaring climate and ecological emergency. This means telling the truth, taking action and seeking justice.
Climate Heritage Network is a voluntary, mutual support network of arts, culture and heritage organisations committed to aiding their communities in tackling climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
The Education, Communication, and Outreach Stakeholder Community (ECOS) was formed in 2016 as a community officially recognized by the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, to support effective, innovative efforts to build the capacity of individuals, communities, and organizations (both non-government and government) to make informed climate decisions. As a “network of networks”, ECOS aspires to become a forum and clearinghouse for those involved with Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), the original goals of Article 6 of the UNFCCC, which call for public involvement in developing meaningful and constructive responses to climate change.
Initiatives can help cultural institutions reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), and to collaborate with others to support education, awareness and participation to support climate action (mitigation and adaptation).
Climate Neutral Now is one of several initiatives launched by the UNFCCC secretariat to increase climate action in 2015. It has evolved to become a much wider tool for awareness-raising, capacity building, partnership development, promoting and facilitating the estimation of carbon footprints, the reduction of those footprints, and voluntary compensation (offsetting).
SME Climate Commitment enables small organisations, including cultural institutions, to participate in the United Nations Race to Zero.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has a working group on sustainability that advises ICOM on how to mainstream sustainability initiatives to help achieve the goals set in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
United for Biodiversity was launched by the European Commission in 2020, to raise awareness about the need to protect biodiversity. In 2021, the Commission invited all national parks, aquariums, botanic gardens, zoos, science and natural history museums, research centres and other actors to join forces and raise their voice about the nature crisis.
Declarations and commitments
Bremerhaven Declaration on the Role of Museums in Addressing the Climate Crisis, 2020
Resolutions adopted by the International Council of Museums, Kyoto, 2019:
The Tokyo Protocol is a set of principles to successfully contribute to society and was explicitly endorsed and agreed upon by the world’s science centres/museums networks in support of Sustainable Development Goals at the Science Centre World Summit, Tokyo, 2017.
The SME Climate Hub for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provides a one-stop-shop to make a climate commitment and access best-in-class tools and resources. The tools and resources provide support in regards to measuring your emissions, developing your climate strategy, reducing your own emissions and the emissions in your value chain, and exemplify complementary offset projects.
The Creative Green Tools are a free set of unique carbon calculators developed by Julie's Bicycle specifically for the creative industries. They’re used by over 5,000 organisations across 50 different countries to understand the environmental impacts of cultural buildings, offices, outdoor events, tours and productions.
The Sustainable Practices Wiki of the American Institute of Conservation provides resources for a more sustainable approach to conservation practices in the cultural sector.
The “Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action” report of ICOMOS covers a broad scope of aspects that relate cultural heritage and climate change to one another. It aims at engaging cultural heritage in climate action in a multidisciplinary way. ICOMOS also has a 'Climate Change and Heritage Working Group'.
Cameron, F.R. and Neilson, B. (Eds.) (2015). Climate Change and Museum Futures, London: Routledge.
Harrison, R. (2013). Heritage: Critical Approaches, Abingdon: Routledge.
Janes, R. R. (2009). Museums in a Troubled World: Renewal, Irrelevance or Collapse?, London: Routledge.
Janes, R. R. (2016). Museums Without Borders. Abingdon: Routledge.
Janes, R.R. and R. Sandell (2019). Museum Activism. Abingdon: Routledge.
Leal Filho ,W., B. Lackner and H. McGhie (Eds.) (2018). Addressing the Challenges in Communicating Climate Change Across Various Audiences. Gland: Springer.
Leal Filho, W., Manolas, E., Azul, A.M., Azeiteiro, U.M. and H. McGhie (Eds.) (2017–18). Handbook of Climate Change Communication. Three vols. Berlin: Springer.
Newell, J., Libby Robin and Kirsten Wehner (Eds.) (2016). Curating the Future: Museums, Communities and Climate Change, Routledge Environmental Humanities.