Culture Takes Action framework

What do you do after declaring a climate and ecological emergency?

If you’d like to work with us to develop teams and organisations in these areas, see more about our professional offer.

Here you can download the full toolkit with many links, diagrams and ideas for each pathway.

See also the People Take Action toolkit, which is aimed at anyone, not just the cultural sector.

Read on for a summary of the pathways.

The eight pathways of action

1. Truth-telling through Arts and Education

  • Culture profoundly highlights our own truths and helps us see from other perspectives. Truth-telling is best when done in participatory ways, creating space for dialogue and acknowledging that there is no single truth but shared truths can be agreed from different experiences.
  • Values-based education can nurture forgiveness, enabling truth-telling and dialogue between people with different experiences.
  • Arts & technology can make the invisible more visible e.g. raising awareness of pollution.
  • There are opportunities to raise awareness, e.g. to help people understand connections between consumption, climate change, biodiversity, conflict and migration.

2. Decarbonising cultural practice

  • Go beyond CO2 to include a wider ecological footprint, aiming to positively benefit people, place and planet.
  • Reduce dependency on flight-based tourism and touring of arts productions, while enabling a just transition for cultural workers whose dependence on touring & tourism has been disrupted by pandemics.
  • Resist and work to end cultural sponsorship by harmful industries, particularly fossil fuels.
  • Support eco-enterprise within cultural practice: develop products & services with green materials, designs & methods
  • Encourage the re-use and sharing of materials and products.
  • Expand definitions of Culture beyond notions of commodity, virtuosity or as a carrier of messages, and include ideas of Culture connecting us to place.

3. Supporting transition by local communities

  • Support local self-sufficiency, acknowledging the basic importance of food, water, energy and shelter in people’s education and community activism.
  • Support regenerative forms of place-making, giving a new meaning to ‘regeneration’ of localities.
  • Culture can play an active role in the transition to greener and more local economies, helping people gain a ‘sense of place’ and feel able to imagine possible futures.
  • Provide cultural services as an alternative to consumerism, while supporting people in poverty.
  • Outdoor arts, cultural heritage and citizen science projects can raise appreciation and stewardship of biodiversity, green space and green infrastructure for resilience to extreme weather.

4. Ambitious global system-changing action

  • Advocate for any or all UN policies for peace, equality and sustainability that you feel able to support.
  • Work to embed the Sustainable Development Globals, or Global Goals.
  • Offer resources and space for activists to learn, and to plan actions for systemic change.
  • Enable pluralistic, conversational learning to combat propaganda and corruption, and develop critical thinking and global awareness in your audiences.
  • Work for a law to end Ecocide and bolster laws to protect Earth and human rights.
  • Expose corruption and create opportunities for participatory democracy. Work for more inclusion in democratic and civic processes that tackle the Earth crisis, for example, actively supporting indigenous people and people from Most Affected Areas to participate in future COPs and related events.
  • Practice or promote directly reparative forms of arts & design, e.g, artists actively involved in restoring land on a large scale, or working with vulnerable or displaced communities.
  • Promote Bioregionalism as an alternative frame to growth-obsessed nationalism.

5. Providing cultural therapy and care

  • Support for activists: culture / creativity can hold people at the low point of despair when leaders have failed or we must rise to action and compassion.
  • Enable wellbeing and immunity in brains and bodies, through play, sport, dance, outdoor exploration, and work on diet and addiction. Access to biodiverse nature reduces stress and improves wellbeing.
  • Offer cultural therapy for people affected by eco-anxiety in anticipation of trauma
  • Work with appropriate services to support traumatised people (e.g. displaced by climate impacts and conflict).
  • Help change attitudes to our fellow beings, to be more generous and less materialist.

6. Decolonising culture & seeking reparation

  • Co-educate with and for those people who are most affected by histories & current impacts of extractivism and degenerative development.
  • Work to expose and dismantle systems of oppression and exploitation, alongside decarbonisation efforts.
  • Use cultural resources to learn from indigenous and innovative peoples, and open up platforms for them.
  • Protect and safely restore or return intangible, indigenous heritage, in consultative collaboration.
  • Support those in frontlines of ecocide & climate impacts
  • Tackle inequalities in cultural & environmental movements.

7. Ecological innovation & design

  • Explore the potential of technology for new and ecologically beneficial forms of cultural value, production and exchange.
  • Promote a ‘knowledge commons’: open up access to expertise, data and ideas.
  • Design digital services for change-makers and activists.
  • Help young people to be ‘positively deviant’, to envisage and build resilient careers and movements to change big systems from Degenerative to Regenerative.
  • Prefigure and generate ecological and social innovations such as microsolidarity, rewilding, circular forms of production, and urban food growing.
  • Smart tech can provide better data feedback about ecological footprints, community needs and ecosystem changes, and can involve communities as citizen scientists.

8. Adapting to impacts & protecting heritage

  • Protect heritage from impacts of climate change and ecocidal damage, through trying adaptive strategies, and working with creatives and experts to explore and promote these strategies, in ways that involve communities and generate ingenious solutions.
  • Virtual creation of lost places, e.g. digital or literary/imagined places or 3D reconstructions.
  • Memorialise lost species, cultures & places; give space to spiritual activities and support grief at loss.
  • Educate audiences, aiming for justice and care for migrants and climate refugees.
  • Offer refuge and support in disaster or crisis situations (e.g. space, equipment and emotional support).

Find community

Background to this framework



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Director of Flow & Climate Museum UK. Co-founder Culture Declares. Cultural consultant & researcher, artist-curator, educator.