I am writing to follow up on one of the topics discussed at the International Conference of National Trusts this past April in Bermuda. Whilst there, I spoke on the theme of “Mobilizing the Culture and Heritage Sectors for Climate Action,” as well as a proposal for a new Climate Heritage Network. Those discussions have continued since ICNT18 and now the plans to launch the network have been finalized. I am writing to invite you to join INTO, ICOMOS and other partners in becoming founding members.
As was previewed in Bermuda, the CHN will be a voluntary, mutual support network of governmental arts, culture and heritage agencies at all levels, site management authorities, as well as NGOs, universities, businesses and other organizations committed to tackling climate change. The idea for the network was conceived at the Climate Heritage Mobilization @ Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco in September 2018. In the months since, teams of volunteers have worked to set up the network. A world-class Steering Committee has been assembled. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in Paris has agreed to be the initial CHN secretariat.
Membership in the CHN is free. To join, an entity need simply demonstrate its commitment to addressing climate change and supporting communities in achieving the decarbonization goals and other ambitions of the Paris Agreement by signing or endorsing the Climate Heritage Network Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Units of government are invited to sign the MOU while businesses, universities, NGOs and other organizations are invited to endorse it. You can join here: http://climateheritage.org/join/
Joining the CHN connects an organization to peers around the world committed to the idea that arts, culture and heritage are both impacted by climate change and an asset for climate action; and that culture constitutes an invaluable resource to help communities reduce GhG emissions and strengthen adaptive capacity. The CHN creates an important multi-disciplinary space linking together for climate action those working with landscapes, institutions and collections, archaeology, buildings and monuments as well as with creativity, intangible heritage, traditional ways of knowing and practices. The CHN membership will ultimately guide which activities the Network take up but you can read about some of the initial ideas here.
The CHN will launch on the evening of 24 October at an evening reception at Edinburgh Castle, part of the Old and New Town of Edinburgh World Heritage site. Representatives of international NGOs in attendance are invited to take party in the launch reception. The launch reception is part of a two-day program (24-25 October) that also includes a symposium and tours and is co-chaired by Historic Environment Scotland and the California Office of Historic Preservation, in conjunction with partners around the world. To learn more about attending in person, visit http://climateheritage.org/launch-2019/ or sign up to attend here.
Whether or not you can attend the Edinburgh event, we ask entities to join the CHN by 24 October so they can be included in the launch momentum. Of course, entities may also join thereafter.
A few final notes:
Despite profound connections between climate change and culture, today there are thousands of arts, culture and heritage actors and advocates whose talents have not yet been mobilized on climate change issues. This is so even in jurisdictions that have made ambitious climate action pledges. The Climate Heritage Network aims to flip that paradigm. Join us!