Hope and action – that’s what our special climate justice issue of Museums Journal (September/October 2022) is about, aiming to inspire, motivate and encourage.
At the Museums Association, we are thrilled to have launched the Museums for Climate Justice campaign, working with the sector to be brave in raising awareness, championing change and embedding climate action. Taking a systems-change approach that focuses on climate and social justice is absolutely right for museums.
As Jacqueline Patterson explains in this issue’s profile, a just transition benefits everyone. Climate justice should be at the core of our society; the fact that it isn’t needs to be dealt with so that we can all thrive. From ecomuseums that use landscapes and history to reconnect communities with their local heritage and encourage responsible tourism, to curating spaces for community, care and justice, there are just so many possibilities.
Everyone is an agent of change, regardless of their role within and around museums. But it is easy to feel overwhelmed,not know where to start or to lack the confidence that what you’re doing is the “right thing”.
Rachael Rowley from Museums Galleries Scotland addresses this in an article on how partnerships are helping the organisation on its climate action journey. We also have Emma Gittins from Manchester Museum taking us through the development of its sustainable retail strategy, providing valuable insight to a challenging area of activity.
So, let’s all get on and take action. Talk to and collaborate with others inside and outside your organisation. Try things out and build on what works. As Sria Chatterjee observes, museums are spaces of discomfort and difficult histories (p16). But they are also spaces of joy and optimism, spaces that have the capacity to help create more just futures for everyone.
Sara Kassam is the sustainability adviser at UK Sport and is an MA board member