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Climate Change and Museums

Museums and Climate Action

The climate crisis is not just about science and politics, it is also about culture, history, communication, and social justice. As widely respected and trusted institutions, museums have the power to tell stories, educate, and influence how people see the world. Museums are greatly connected and grounded in their local communities. This puts them in an excellent position to educate and inform people on the climate crisis. Conversations about climate change can be uncomfortable due to the scale of the issue and how daunting it may seem. However, the climate crisis affects all communities, and museums must take the step in actively leading and engaging in these conversations. Through this, they can become even more relevant and socially engaged spaces in our communities.

As much as they are a place of reflection, they are also a place of growth and development through these reflections. Museums can act as a bridge between science and culture. With the variety in collections, especially natural history and science collections, museums can become havens of research. Collections documenting the natural environment could be a huge pool of information regarding sustainable living practices and working with nature - as opposed to against it. This can come from many cross-sector partnerships connecting museums with scientists, research organisations, and universities. By giving more people the opportunity to connect with policies and strategies regarding sustainable development and battling climate change, we will have the space to think more actively about designing a more sustainable way of living. 

 

Museum Carbon Footprints

On top of being places for climate engagement and education, museums can also have a significant "carbon footprint", i.e. their own amount of emissions. Understanding your footprint and taking steps to reduce it are important actions a museum can take in their journey to become more sustainable.

Read more about carbon footprints

Related guide

Background to Culture and Climate Change

A page giving background information to the role of and links between culture and climate change.

Find out more