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Activate Declares a Climate Emergency

At this time it’s vital we consider the ongoing climate emergency and so we are joining the Culture Declares Emergency movement. In making this declaration, we commit to changing how we work going forward.

There is a climate and ecological emergency. Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity; one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and we know that nature recovery is an important part of the solution. We believe in protecting the environment and our planet’s precious natural resources.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how as a species, we can radically adapt and change our behaviour. During the first stages of lockdown, many of us noticed our local wildlife thriving and quieter streets and skies as people had to stay at home. But the crisis has also created new challenges such as reduced use of public transport and huge increases in single-use products like PPE.

As an organisation we work to:

  • Support artists
  • Enable high quality performing and outdoor arts to thrive
  • Remove obstacles to participation in the arts created by rural isolation, ill health and social deprivation
  • Bring communities together through events that are remembered and talked about for decades.
  • Celebrate our natural landscape and sense of place.

We are committed to providing a quality arts programme in a way that ensures safe and healthy workspaces, events and gatherings for participation, and minimising our impact on the environment.

In our team we are regularly discussing: how we can strike a balance between environmental sustainability, and the need to ensure everyone’s safety against COVID-19, alongside our usual challenges and ethos.

Now more than ever it’s vital we keep a focus on our climate emergency and so we are joining the Culture Declares Emergency movement. 

In making this declaration, we commit to making regular updates here about our progress.

What we’re already doing:

  • We cut down our consumption by reusing things first wherever possible and when we do need to buy new things: choosing fair trade, organic, environmentally friendly products such as green cleaning products and natural hand sanitizer in refillable bottles
  • We keep our energy use to a minimum – such as minimising emails and data transfer
  • We produce a range of our events and outreach programmes in natural landscapes like the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to raise awareness of their environmental importance in creative and thought-provoking ways; our event management planning ensures we create no negative environmental impact
  • We provide drinking water points and ask artists, crew and audiences to bring their own water bottle to all our events
  • We provide vegetarian and vegan food
  • We partner up with organisations who share our values and help communicate the climate emergency. For example, Cape Farewell and Pollution Pods in 2019
  • We loan out our event kit free to artists and partners to cut down on consumption
  • We have formed a climate emergency working group to meet regularly and monitor our progress
  • We have a climate emergency lead on our board – they are one of the founders of the Culture Declares Emergency movement.

What we’re working on:

  • Our biggest impact in normal circumstances is our travel: Dorset is a rural county with minimal public transport. We plan to work with our local authority to support what they are doing about the climate emergency and how they are going to improve public transport infrastructure
  • We have chosen to theme our 2021 Inside Out Dorset festival about climate change to raise awareness 
  • We’re exploring with our landscape partners if we can gather evidence on how the arts can encourage people to act in a more environmentally friendly way 
  • We’re putting the climate emergency on the agenda for all our team and board meetings
  • We’re working with the Culture Declares Emergency movement in the South West to encourage more cultural organisations to declare a climate emergency
  • We’re trialling a solar-powered generator at our festival next year
  • We’re reducing our print across our projects by making more digital materials but making sure we remain inclusive and provide environmentally friendly print when it’s needed 
  • We’re adding a budget line to our festival/live events to support greener travel for artists
  • We’re researching our suppliers and stocking up on event kits that include environmentally friendly products and supplies e.g. reusable cable-ties.

What you can do to help:

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Some of our team recently joined Transition Town Dorchester to help plant trees. With the help of volunteer groups like the Activate team, Transition Town Dorchester have planted over 2,000 trees this year.
The trees were kindly provided by Dorchester Town Council, The Woodland Trust and The Tree Council.    

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