Julie’s Bicycle finds the missing link in environment policy: culture

Julie’s Bicycle, a leading international NGO that mobilises the arts and culture to act on the climate crisis, has found that governments around the world have failed to adapt their culture policies to reflect the environmental emergency and commitments to the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

In recent research, Julie’s Bicycle set out to understand the contribution that arts and culture makes – and could make — to environmental progress. The research, funded by the British Council, analyses questionnaires and feedback from more than 50 countries as well as interviews with arts leaders, and roundtable discussions with the culture community in Indonesia, Turkey, Colombia and Nigeria.

Overwhelmingly arts and culture organisations said they need the statutory authority to integrate climate imperatives into culture policy. A statutory framework would unlock support and funding as well as setting targets and pathways for carbon cutting within the culture sector. Half of respondents said that the lack of a legal mandate was a key barrier to making culture policy environmentally sensitive.

The sector is at a turning point: the arts and creative industries have widely embraced environmental issues at the micro level. But in order to take their individual efforts to scale, governments must step in and link culture policy to environment policy.

“The cultural community no longer needs to be sensitised to the environmental emergency.” the report says. “They need the policy frameworks and authority, funding and accountability to be fully mainstreamed into national environmental planning. Cultural ambition everywhere is high, solutions abound, and creativity is in abundant supply. An urgent and overdue policy dialogue with national policymakers is the missing link.”

” We hope this research will focus the priorities of culture ministers across the world. It is particularly important for the ministers gathered for the COP26 climate summit, very few of whom will be culture ministers. Recognising the power of culture is long overdue,” said the foreword by Alison Tickell, CEO of Julie’s Bicycle.

Julie’s Bicycle will take the message to Glasgow with an event planned for November 5th, bringing together artists and authors to discuss how all forms of creative enterprise can make a difference to climate change. More information on the report and the event can be found on www.juliesbicycle.com.

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