Tate Directors Make A Stand On Climate Change

Olafur Eliasson Tate Modern

The directors of Tate have come out emphatically declaring a climate emergency. In a letter dated today, the organisation hopes to spread the word that our fragile planet has reached breaking point.

The following is extracted from a Tate statement

“We have reached a defining moment in the history of our planet and the cultural sector has a unique part to play in effecting change. This week Tate’s Directors are declaring a climate emergency. Our pledge is to respond with actions across all four Tate galleries, and at our stores, that put this centre stage.

Olafur Eliasson's exhibition at Tate Modern
Olafur Eliasson’s Climate Change related exhibition at Tate Modern

We took his ethical commitment to addressing environmental issues as a cue to offer a platform for discussion in partnership with artists, campaigners, artistic communities and cultural organisations. Hundreds gathered to debate in the Turbine Hall. Tate is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by at least 10 percent by 2023 and is switching to a green electricity tariff across all four galleries. We have helped shape international green museum principles for the care of collections and are sustainably sourcing food in our restaurants and bars, offering greater emphasis on vegetarian and vegan choices. We are auditing our travel and are adopting a train-first policy.

There are, nevertheless, some hard truths to face about how we operate; about the sustainability of public institutions, like our museums, and about the future of culture. Large public buildings, attracting millions of visitors from the UK and overseas, require energy. We see caring for and sharing a national art collection as a public good, but it also consumes resource. We are rooted in the UK but international in outlook: making art accessible globally depends on the movement of works of art across the world.

That’s why we pledge to make our long-term commitment ambitious in scope. We will interrogate our systems, our values and our programmes, and look for ways to become more adaptive and responsible.

As an organisation that works with living artists, we should respond to and amplify their concerns. And, as our audiences and communities across the world confront climate extinction, so we must shine a spotlight on this critical issue through art.”

Our declaration of a climate emergency is just the beginning in our determination to affect and inspire change.

With climate change on everyone’s lips it is important that public institutions take a stand and this will mean dropping sponsors with a poor environmental record.

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