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Climate Crisis Declaration

Sat 19 September 2020
Part of: Encounters Festivals
The Rebellion Image 1. Photo by Jane Hobson

The Board and staff of Yorkshire Dance declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency

We pledge to work with and support our communities and local government in tackling this Emergency, and we call on others to do the same. We believe the climate crisis endangers our ability to carry out our charitable objectives. Our vision is to be a best-practice arts and cultural organisation, with environmental, social and economic sustainability at the heart of what we do. With sustainability fully embedded into the heart of our organisation, its operations and programming, our efforts today strengthen a creative green future for tomorrow.

Why have we made this decision?
In October 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change reported that we only have 12 years to make ‘urgent and unprecedented changes’ necessary to limit climate warming to 1.5 percent and avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty.

Climate breakdown
Since then new tipping points are still being reached. In December 2018 it was reported that the rate of Greenland’s ice melt has quadrupled. Soon after, NASA discovered a huge cavern has opened up under Antarctica, and that a polar vortex destabilised sending freezing Arctic weather over the American mid-west whilst January was the warmest month in Australia, ever.

Ecological breakdown
60% of wildlife is already extinct and at least three species are lost to eternity each hour. In February, there were reports of a catastrophic decline in insect populations which will soon affect our food supplies. There is a debilitating loss of soil biodiversity, forests, grasslands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species.

Human rights and justice
The environmental crisis is worsening injustices faced by people in the Global South, indigenous land defenders in particular, and over time it will intensify inequalities experienced in every country. Climate breakdown is the leading generational justice issue.

What can we do?

A cultural response to the emergency
If speedy and drastic action is taken, if we apply the solutions within our reach, we can meet our climate goals. The need to take action on climate is more urgent and more immediate than ever. Failure to act is a failure of responsibility.

There is growing recognition of the contribution of arts, heritage and civic organisations to prompt shifts in the ways we relate to one another and the world, in our values and behaviours. Climate change and ecocide is a deeply systemic problem that can only be tackled by imagining and forging better ways of relating to each other and the world.

We will tell the truth

We will communicate with artists, audiences and our communities to support them to discover the truth about the Emergency and the changes that are needed.

We will take action

We will actively work to imagine and model ways that the dance economy and ecology can lean towards regenerating the planet’s resources while providing sustainably for people’s needs.

We pledge to work towards reducing our emissions to net zero by 2030.

We are committed to justice.

We will do what is possible to enable dialogue and expression amidst our local, regional and international communities about how the Emergency will affect them and the changes that are needed.

We embrace principles of co-design and democratisation of decision making and encourage other to do the same.

We believe that all truth-telling, action and democratic work must be underpinned by a commitment to social and environmental justice.

What’s Next?
To date, we have acquired silver and are working towards gold for our Investors in the Environment Award. We are working alongside Julie’s Bicycle to monitor our environmental impact.

For information on #CultureDeclaresEmergency see here.

Image credit: Jane Hobson. Featuring first year students at NSCD performing in Instant Dissidence’s ‘The Rebellion’ as part of FlockFest 2019

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