What can museums do to communicate the reality of climate change?
Museums Association
A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is the most significant warning about climate change for 20 years. The world is way off keeping global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial times, the report says, thereby jeopardising the planet’s liveabilty

Bridget McKenzie, founder of the Climate Museum UK project

“Face reality as a team: this is a climate emergency. The latest IPCC report is frightening, but it still omits the impacts of feedback loops. Notice your reactions. Support each other to sit with emotions. Flip the model of ‘communicating’ climate to become a space for conversation around it. Invite the voices of people experiencing worse floods, droughts, fires, storms, conflicts or earthquakes. Think systemically: shift the emphasis from consumers to producers, as cause and solution. How can you defuse the power of fossil fuel industries? And contact Climate Museum UK to talk about collaborating.”

Claire Buckley, director of environmental sustainability, Julie’s Bicycle

“With community and stewardship at their heart, and strong ties to the scientific community, museums are well placed to communicate on climate change. It is an overwhelming and complex issue. Ground communication in facts, using straightforward language. Translate the global to the local. Make climate change relevant to what matters to people – clean air, green spaces. Don’t overwhelm with doom and gloom, as this makes people feel powerless. Be positive. Provide people with opportunities to express their ideas and concerns. Be part of the conversation and take positive action.”

Robert Janes, founder and co-chair, Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice

“Tell visitors how climate change and disruption came to be. We are living a massive lie about the impending catastrophe of climate change, and museums of all kinds must start the conversation. Museums are the only organisations with the singular combination of historical consciousness, public accessibility and unprecedented public trust. These precious qualities must now be used to address climate change. Begin by asking some big questions, such as why does your museum exist, what changes are you trying to effect, what solutions will you generate and what are your non-negotiable values?”

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