Recognising an urgent need to play our part in combating the climate and ecological emergency

Environmental Response Plan

Art has the universal power to inspire us and all of our stakeholders in responding to the collective challenge we face. 

A new Environmental Response Plan has been developed through close consultation with colleagues from across our organisation. It recognises that a significant amount of work has already been achieved, and much of it behind the scenes.

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Climate Action Needs Culture

Initiated by Creative Carbon Scotland, a collaboration of cultural bodies in Scotland including the National Galleries of Scotland has commissioned a powerful short film – ‘Climate Action Needs Culture’. 

This film was launched online on 5 November 2021 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 COP26. 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. You can watch the launch event here.

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© Creative Carbon Scotland 2021

Art & Artists

Patricia Macdonald Braided river and Caledonian pines, Glen Feshie, Cairngorms, Scotland , 1988 - 2016 (triptych)

© Patricia & Angus Macdonald

Patricia Macdonald

In this series of features, Patricia Macdonald (University of Edinburgh and Aerographica consultancy) considers environmental issues relating to climate change and biodiversity in the contexts of a series of key Scottish landscapes.

Exploring environmental change

Considering melting ice

Looking at sea-level rise

Patricia NicDhòmhnaill Abhainn le lùban agus craobhan-giuthais Albannach, Gleann Fhèisidh, am Monadh Ruadh, Alba, 1988 - 2016 (trì dealbhan)

© Patricia & Aonghas Dòmhnallach

Patricia NicDhòmhnaill

San fhoillseachadh seo, a tha a’ tighinn a-mach ann an trì earrannan, tha Patricia NicDhòmhnaill (à Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann agus a’ bhuidhinn comhairleachaidh Aerographica) a’ tòiseachadh le trì de na dealbhan ealain aice a thogadh bhon adhar, a-mach à cruinneachadh Gailearaidhean Nàiseanta na h-Alba, gus beachdachadh air gnothaichean àrainneachd a bhuineas do atharrachadh na gnàth-shìde, is bith-iomadachd an cois sreath de làraichean iomraiteach Albannach.

A’ sgrùdadh atharrachadh àrainneachd

Beachdachadh air deigh ri leaghadh

Beachdachadh air èirigh na mara

Sasha Saben Callaghan Gorgie Road
Preserving Pasts, Imagining Futures

In the run-up to and during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, (COP26) in 2021, the National Galleries of Scotland and National Library of Scotland invited visitors to respond creatively to works from the national collections to visualise how Scotland has been and will continue to be impacted by the climate and ecological emergency, unless decisive action is taken.

Take a look at the online responses
View submissions from creative workshops run by the Galleries and Library

Renewables powering the nation for a sustainable future by Gavin Harrison, from Inverurie
NGS teams up with WWF on Great Scottish Canvas project

NGS curators played an instrumental role in selecting artworks made by members of the public that were shown at the COP26 conference.

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Submitted by Tom Shields
Art Competition for Schools and Families 2020

The category for entrants in S1 to S3 was 'climate change'.

> Find out more


In 2022, the National Galleries of Scotland was invited by the Scottish Government to write a guest blog on how we are embedding sustainable procurement in our Environmental Response Plan (ERP).

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Get involved

Art in the Open... at home

Spending time outside in nature is beneficial to our wellbeing. Making art and being creative is fun and relaxing – so why not combine both?

Pick up some materials and head out to your favourite local spot.

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Question challenge

Pupils from Corstorphine Primary in Edinburgh invite you to make something inspired by the question: ‘Will the earth ever end?’

An art challenge designed by children, for children. We want to inspire you to think, wonder, make and share your art in our online gallery. It could be 2D, 3D, film, animation, performance, writing or anything else you can think of.

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Your visit

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Green Tourism Award

National Galleries of Scotland are holders of a Green Tourism Gold award. This is the highest level award and demonstrates that we are an organisation committed to being an environmentally responsible visitor attraction, which champion sustainable practises within their operations and promote green tourism.

The Galleries were scored on a number of categories covering everything from how our buildings are managed, biodiversity on our grounds to social and equality issues.

More information

Conservation staff caring for the collection

The Art Works

The Art Works is our project to deliver a sustainable new facility to care for, research and share Scotland’s renowned art collection.

This exciting and transformative initiative supports Scotland’s green recovery by delivering the largest building in the country designed to the Passivhaus environmental standard.

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