I don’t think there is a single place in the British Isles that hasn’t been affected by the severe weather we have had over the past few weeks. Whilst battling umbrellas that won’t stay up in strong winds, trying to look smart at a meeting when the only sensible footwear is wellingtons, and that inevitable moment that you find out that your waterproof isn’t exactly that waterproof are all frustrating, all this weather is a timely reminder of the broader, more urgent challenge we are facing. The Climate Crisis is becoming more and more evident and the need for us to consider how we personally and collectively respond to that fact is not optional.
Back in 2021, we ran a hot topic debate at our Annual Conference about the creative approach to the climate crisis, and had a really wide-ranging discussion. You can read about it on our website. And since then, we have continued to consider what we as Music Mark should consider, both as a charity and in supporting our membership and the wider sector. Of course, it’s one of the four Investment Principles that Arts Council England have asked us to consider in our work, but even without that incentive (and the funding we have to develop in this area of our work), we know it is vital that everyone undertakes meaningful change.
As a team, we picked up the conversation again recently at a staff meeting, discussing what we can do to further reduce our carbon footprint. I am so grateful for the knowledge and expertise within the staff who are teaching me so much about the hidden impact of our work. With a staff team that works from home in ‘paperless offices’, running the majority of our meetings and training/ events online and a policy to use public transport where possible I am hopeful we are doing quite well. However, even a one-hour discussion unpacked how overwhelming a topic it can be, not only in the scale of the task, but in the information we should digest and act upon! So what’s next?
Well, we agreed that we need to act rather than continue to talk (sound familiar?!), and our first step – although we agreed it was something we should have done a number of years ago – is to publish a ‘Sustainability Policy’. We’ll share it soon, along with details of a planned campaign, but if, like me, you’re not sure where to start and were hoping there were some documents you could read and webinars you could watch as a next step, can I suggest you take a look at our resources pages? Here’s a selection of what’s there:
- The BBC have usefully provided a climate change glossary – this is definitely something which will help me!
- The Department for Education produced a Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy in April 2022. We’ve prepared a summary document and there is a link to the full strategy.
- Julie’s Bicycle have been working in the Climate action space for many years now, and their Creative Climate Literacy 101 is a useful series of introductory webinars.
- The ISM have created how to reduce your climate impact as a musician – a set of ten tips for making more environmentally friendly choices.
- The Scottish Classical Music Green Guide was written collaboratively by over 30 orchestras, ensembles, festivals and individual musicians from across Scotland.
- Digital Declutter for Businesses will help consider the carbon footprint of our digital work.
- Arts Council England have created a set of podcasts on their Investment Principles including Environmental Sustainability.
Please don’t feel overwhelmed by this list! Perhaps pick one and see what response it elicits. We all need to do something and each organisation and individual is likely to develop a slightly different approach, but like Music Mark, perhaps you can take a first step having read this?