Climate Action Needs Culture

A powerful, short film on the enormous but often overlooked potential of the cultural sector to advance climate action has been launched. To make the film in the run-up to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, Creative Carbon Scotland (CCS) brought together the National Galleries of Scotland and several of Scotland’s other largest cultural agencies and institutions.  

Climate Action Needs Culture is narrated by Scottish-Nigerian supermodel, actress and activist Eunice Olumide MBE and is an unprecedented collaboration between CCS, the Scottish charity focused on connecting arts and sustainability, the Galleries and Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Library and Information Council.

This film, produced by Picture Zero, the film company specialising in climate solutions and human climate change stories was launched online on 5 November to policymakers as part of the Scottish Government’s Climate Ambition Zone and on 12 November at the Glasgow City Council COP26 civic reception during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow in 2021. The 5 November launch was followed by climate and cultural leaders including the Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, Sir John Leighton, providing effective examples of collaborations in climate action. 

Climate action needs culture

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Climate Action Needs Culture outlines the distinctive knowledge, skills, and resources that culture can bring to climate action and urges players from both the climate and the culture sides to start collaborating. Eunice Olumide said she wanted to be part of the project because “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impacts of our changing climate.” Pointing out that she grew up in Scotland and her family is Nigerian, Olumide added: “Cultural heritage is important to me and I appreciate what a large role culture plays in how we think and act.”

The film explains that as the climate emergency grows more intense, increased public understanding and engagement are urgently required and innovative ways of thinking and working needed. Ben Twist, director of CCS, said: “Scotland’s cultural institutions and creative sector have a compelling story to tell of the dynamic ways they can and do contribute to climate action but it’s a story that until now has been often overlooked.”  

15 November 2021