Did you catch our Earth Day social media campaign? We’d love your feedback and welcome opportunities to share our experiences of adapting to climate change with you, or just the creative activities we so love and use in our work. Here on our web home, it seems worth saying a bit more. Our participation in Earth Day campaigning is not an opportunistic gimmick.
The campaign was part of a restating of who we are. We know people and other organisations are sometimes confused by us. We resist categorisation. We are deeply values led and impact orientated. We are trying to create the world we want to live in, and that others want to be part of.
Last summer we wrote and adopted a decarbonisation policy. Read it here. Last autumn we committed to a range of actions across all aspects of the organisation and made reviewing our environmental profile as important as our financial one at Board meetings.
Our artists find inspiration from nature – and the evidence from our community projects is so do our participants. Lots of other research and anecdotes point to the natural world as healing to mental health challenges. We decided it felt wrong to not make this correlation explicit across our work, and lean into the challenges of decarbonisation.
Last week in the run up to Earth Day, after a four month research project, one of our artist associate’s presented a sobering report to our Board. We all realised we need to move beyond simple mitigation of climate impacts, but into preparing for now inevitable impacts on everything we do. That puncture because of a ginormous pot hole caused by extreme weather, and that delayed start because of flash flooding and talking to stressed and stranded participants trying to get to us – they are climate change in action. We can’t fix everything, but we can adapt how and where we work recognising the risks and challenges ahead.
Our Director, Catherine, is currently participating in an 8-week research project and peer support programme by University of Exeter researchers and the Art & Energy collective about Art & Eco Anxiety. We are not the only ones recognising a correlation between creativity, mental health and nature. In our current ecological context, not all of the correlations are positive. However, we are part of a wider community of creatives who believe that the arts and creative action can be part of the solution. We don’t mean attention-grabbing activism, but in coming to terms emotionally with the challenges of climate change, to using creativity to assist communities on a journey to behaviour change, and finding joy and satisfaction in the actions we do take. There is something about the conversations we have, choices we make, and materials we use, and the peer support.
All that said, experienced, and thought, we are especially pleased with our new short video. We think our passion and impact come through much more powerfully than in our earnest words. All of the snippets of video are from activity since the pandemic, which itself perhaps sharpens our awareness of how interconnected we are to a global ecosystem that benefits from our reflective consideration in how we live our lives.