There is no doubt. Humanity faces the combined catastrophes of: climate change, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity & a degradation of ecosystems health. This is the Climate and Ecological Emergency. The declaration movement is gaining pace internationally, with Councils and Governments, and now, following the leadership of Culture Declares Emergency, by many sectors and organisations.
What would it mean for your organisation to declare an Emergency? You could follow these steps as a way of rehearsing for a final decision to sign up with Culture Declares Emergency.
Step 1: Do we all understand the Emergency? Do we have a sense of what it means for each of us? How will it affect the mission and longevity of our organisation?
Step 2: What impact do we hope to make by declaring? Who do we hope to influence? What ultimate change do we want to see?
Step 3: What do we have to offer? What do we have to offer to our local civic institutions and communities in this Emergency? Your assets can include people, qualities of practice, ideas and values, not just resources.
Step 4: What actions can we take beyond a declaration? How will we show our pledges are meaningful? What changes are we willing to make to respond to the Emergency?
Step 5: Do we all agree that we should go ahead? Use an inclusive process to agree. Will you need to consult stakeholders, and consider funders?
For charities, the Board of Trustees would need to be confident that any declaration or related campaigning “must be undertaken by a charity only in the context of supporting the delivery of its charitable purposes. You could add to a Declaration text a form of words such as “the Emergency endangers our ability to deliver [insert charitable objective] because [insert reasons]”.
If you can’t reach agreement as a whole, can smaller teams or individuals get support to take some action?
Step 6: How will we make the declaration? What text do we want to issue? How will we announce it?
Step 7: How will we evaluate it? How will we check in to maintain action and see if it is having an impact? How will we review change at all levels, including operations, programming, partnerships and ethos? Who is responsible amongst us?