Now online: NEMO Webinar on museum action for climate empowerment

 This is a screenshot of a webinar. On the left are the presentation slides. On the right is a video of the speaker, wearing a headset and smiling into the camera.

The recording of the NEMO Webinar on museum actions for climate empowerment from 14 November 2022 is now available to watch online. It also includes a sneak peek of some main findings from the Europe-wide survey on museums and climate change that NEMO ran earlier this year.

Organised to coincide with COP27, the annual United Nation’s conference on climate change, Henry McGhie, Curating Tomorrow, and NEMO Policy Officer Elizabeth Wilde dedicated an hour to inspire museum professionals to start or continue fighting climate change. While governments and their representatives progressed the political aspects of climate action at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, we invited to a practical session on how to make museums part of the change.

With the webinar, we want hope to bridge the gap between policy agendas and on the ground action and how museums and cultural institutions can be part of this important work. Museums are capable to, and should aim to, reduce emission and help others reduce theirs, make sure to adapt to climate change and help communities do the same as well as to be part of building a world that fairer, protects nature and is better than the one we inherited.

Elizabeth Wilde kicked off the webinar with an introduction to NEMO's most recent work and research regarding museums and their status within the sustainable transition of Europe.

Henry McGhie took over by outlining the Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, which was adopted at COP26, runs till 2031, and is the main opportunity for museums to contribute to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Paris Agreement in concrete ways.

McGhie also introduced the participants to a new guide on measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, developed in partnership with Co2Action, a US-based greenhouse gases (GHG) accounting firm.

In the webinar, McGhie suggested a simple blueprint for climate action in and with museums​:

  1. Mitigation through museums
    Support all of society to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. ​
  2. Mitigation in museums
    Museums must reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions across​all aspects of their activity, in line with Paris Agreement commitments.​
  3. Adaptation through museums
    Support all of society, and nature, to face and cope with current and projected climate impacts.​
  4. Adaptation in museums
    Make sure museums and collections can survive climate impacts.​
  5. Climate action as part of sustainable development, climate justice and a just transition
    Make sure it is fair, and that climate action also addresses other sustainable development challenges (inequality, poverty).​

Further reading by McGhie

Meet the speakers

Henry McGhie has a background as an ecologist, museum curator and manager. He set up Curating Tomorrow in 2019 to help empower museums to contribute to sustainable development agendas, including the SDGs, climate action, biodiversity conservation, Disaster Risk Reduction and human rights. He is a member of the ICOM Sustainability Working Group, and works internationally with museums, museum organisations and partners. He has been involved with the UNFCCC since 2017 and was involved in the development of the Glasgow Work Programme.

Elizabeth Wilde has been involved in a variety of cultural and political organisations and projects and currently contributes to the Museums for Future initiative. She studied political science at California State University Long Beach and earned her MA at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, in both instances dedicating her research to the socio-political impact of cultural policies and practices. Passionate about the role of cultural institutions in achieving social and climate justice, she is committed to advocating for museums at the Network of European Museum Organisations as their Policy Officer.