Editorial | We can’t shirk the climate crisis - Museums Association

Editorial | We can’t shirk the climate crisis

Tough decisions need to be made
Climate Crisis
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Simon Stephens
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All of us at the Museums Association (MA) hope you enjoyed the previous issue of Museums Journal – our first-ever magazine takeover, which was led by Museum X, the team behind the Black British Museum concept.

We have been delighted with the positive feedback and kind words we have received, and we are looking to build on what we learned by continuing to make sure that Museums Journal reflects the amazing diversity of voices, ideas and opinions that the sector contains. 

This issue has a strong focus on a challenge that faces all of us – the climate crisis. We have a profile on Sara Kassam, the MA’s new climate champion, who is clear that, despite the enormity of the problem, tackling the issue is not something anyone in the sector can shy away from. “It’s complex and hard, but the overriding message has to be about hope,” says Kassam, who leads on sustainability at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Tough decisions will need to be made on sponsorship, conservation, capital projects, tourism and many other areas of museum work, and the time to act is now. Hopefully, the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow will act as a spur to the urgent collective action that is needed on a global scale.  

The entire In Practice section is devoted to tackling the climate crisis, and there are other articles on the topic dotted throughout this issue. 

The MA is doing lots of other work in this area. Our annual conference (8-10 November) in Liverpool featured sessions that covered the crisis. We will also soon be sharing our climate actions, which show the measures we are committed to undertaking to get our own house in order. 

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We are also working hard on a new Museum Essentials online learning programme that will help the sector take measures to become more sustainable and to inspire their audiences to engage with the issue.  

We are keen to share examples of good practice in all these areas, so do get in touch if you have been working on projects, campaigns or initiatives that you think others would benefit from knowing about. We’d love to hear from you. 

Simon Stephens is the editor of Museums Journal 

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