Soren Dahlgaard, Maldives Exodus Caravan Show, 2015, Federation Square Melbourne

CLIMARTE is bringing together a broad alliance of arts organisations, practitioners, administrators, patrons and academics from across the spectrum of the arts sector, including the visual arts, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, and cinema. By joining this alliance we acknowledge the enormous risks that human induced climate change poses to our world and we commit to advocating for immediate, effective and creative action to be taken to restore a safe climate, capable of supporting a healthy and sustainable environment.

We acknowledge the many thousands of experts in their fields – oceanographers, solar physicists, biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists and snow and ice researchers among others from the world over – whose work has informed our understanding of science. For a long time our experts have been warning us of the dangers we face by ignoring the laws of chemistry and physics that allow life on earth. We are encouraged by the scientists and technical experts who have already provided us with many of the ideas and technologies we need to solve our environmental problems.

Our aim is to create a strong arts voice to join with other concerned citizens in calling for immediate, effective and creative action to secure a safe future for humankind and for all life on Earth. In essence, this voice will be one of creative ingenuity. It will communicate with passion the concerns and desires of people who make and support creative responses and expressions. Our collective voice will demonstrate the genuine conviction and leadership that we so desperately need in the 21st century.

The arts can not only show but indeed they can make us feel the very problems that we are facing. They can inspire us to acknowledge that we are part of nature and not separate from it. Creative thinking and expression help us to communicate and understand the rich relationships which exist between all things; for these relationships are what make our world the dynamic, intriguing, challenging and wondrous experience that it is. As key interpreters of this wondrous experience, we believe the arts has a major role and responsibility to encourage the transformational thinking required to move us away from our current destructive practices, and towards the environmental sustainability that we need to protect life on our planet.

By itself, just imagining a sustainable, efficient, flourishing society will not make it happen. Yet creating a vision is vital to guide and motivate our community’s actions. From the beginning of time the arts has been a powerful tool in communicating, narrating and empowering new visions to enlighten humanity. Now, perhaps more than any other time in history, we need the arts to take a lead.

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Those of us involved in the arts have a strong sense of belonging to ‘the arts community’. Our networks are ideally suited to disseminate, explore and share information. On a local and global level our networks can play a pivotal role in promoting sustainability through reciprocal learning. We can give and receive support, encouragement, and hope.

If we do nothing climate change could destroy the accumulated beauty and meaning that the arts have so painstakingly created over millennia. Our grandchildren could inherit a cultural stone age. At their most fundamental level, climate change and sustainability are ethical issues. Our desire to behave ethically and our ability to create art are defining human qualities. Thus, for humanity’s sake, those of us immersed in the arts must demand that ethical action be taken now to secure a safe climate for us, for our descendants, and for this tiny blue planet on which we all depend.

Please contact us for any queries and to register your support for CLIMARTE. We would like to hear what you or your organisation is doing now, or planning to do in the future. Tell us what events you have coming up. Tell us how you think the Arts can take the lead on climate change and sustainability. We welcome your ideas!


Image credits: 1. Jamie North, Nature/Revelation Exhibition at Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, 2015  2. Jonathan Delafield Cook, Sperm Whale  3. Jasmine Targett, Blindspot (detail)  4.  Jasmine Targett, Blindspot, 2014  5. Raymond Arnold, Elsewhere World, 2014 – 2015