At this stage, concentrate on minimising the use of resources, choosing sustainable transport and staff education.
The main goal at this stage is the implementation of practices making use of water, heating, cooling and electrical appliances more efficient.
Ecological solutions make it possible to limit energy consumption, lower carbon dioxide emissions and reduce waste by choosing appropriate equipment and recycling it. Digital technologies account for a similar amount of global CO2 emissions as aviation. The internet is powered by physical infrastructure operating 24/7, running on the electricity derived from fossil fuels. Pro-environmental activities which are easiest to introduce include information ecology, e-mail use standards and appropriate disposal methods.
If your institution manages a green area, pay attention to how it is looked after by your institution and your neighbours. In all your activities associated with the ecosystem pay attention to what is happening ‘next door’ to support the change holistically and widen the area fit for animals in the city. The first step would simply be to refrain from adverse activities such as removing fallen leaves and twigs and excessively mowing the grass.
Good neighbourliness may be a particularly good topic for finding and developing activities supporting climate action. Partly because many institutions already carry out projects aimed at developing local and neighbourly partnerships, other institutions have fixed programmes which involve reaching out to the closest neighbourhood. An increasing number of institutions provide common green space for their neighbours in the vicinity of their buildings. This also extends to caring for the natural world: there are wildflower meadows, communal gardens and bee hives for urban bees. In this context, adding ecological activity to these experiences will not be difficult, but it may deepen the meaning of these initiatives. You can also try to weave them into other elements of institutional programmes.
Raising the subject of employees and their rights in the context of climate change and the ecological crisis may be surprising. However, the change associated with the notion of greening cannot omit the issues concerning the employees of cultural institutions. The principle of exploiting resources for profit affects every sector, including culture – and, like everywhere else, requires revision.
Exploitation, hierarchisation, inequality, discrimination, abuse are words we know from the existing economic system, which the natural world is entangled in, and which are transferred to the world of social relationships. Similarly, while introducing changes to the functioning of a cultural institution, one should not omit self-reflection about the practices within the institution. It is an organism which we need to care for and be collectively responsible for.
Look around – you are bound to find a supporter of the green cause among your colleagues. Set up a team yourself or share your idea with the management. Together you will mutually motivate yourselves to act.
Make a first step and revise your current processes associated with the production and use of materials. Think how to reduce commissioning and production of new things, how to reuse the resources you already have, how to recycle them, how to avoid production traps and which products you should avoid in order not to produce unnecessary waste. Being aware of your decision-making process is key to further stages of sustainable production.
The overarching goal is to reduce harmful emissions at events. There are many possible courses of action, so it may seem that a sustainable event production is difficult and complex. However, most solutions are actually simple and based on changing habits and increasing awareness about our impact on the environment and taking sustainable decisions. As the topic is vast, do not think that all the changes need to be implemented perfectly and at once. Begin from the ones that you have an influence on and gradually implement others, including those which require broader consultation, e.g. within the whole institution.
In this step, your activities should be focused mainly on revising the existing methods of communication and promotion and attempting to balance them. We should consider how to adjust the scale of promotion to the projects to avoid producing unnecessary prints and promotional items or investing time and resources into channels which for some reason failed to work. It is also important to introduce a sustainable prints policy and consider alternative solutions, e.g. digital communication. We also encourage you to systematically reuse and recycle your existing resources and to pay attention to the resources of your immediate neighbourhood. At this stage, it is also a good idea to consider the language used in your standard communication, making sure it is accessible and inclusive.
At this stage, an institution may carry out an analysis of good practices and ideas with the help of its employees.
At this stage, what is important is assessing the current situation of the institution, i.e. addressing the question: what quantities of resources are used. At first, it is worth choosing areas that are easy to monitor, such as: consumption of energy, water, paper, fuel in company cars. The necessary information is available on meters or invoices.
First, identify the needs of your institution/organisation and appreciate your own resources, particularly human resources (and the associated competences), but also material and legal. Map your local environs. Talk to other people and institutions about common needs and issues. Even if it turns out that institutional cooperation is not possible at this moment, it may still be possible at the level of specific people. It is good to start with a small initiative and develop it further as more people and organisations join in.
Give yourself some time for reflection. The design and planning stage is extremely important as it is then that we decide about many solutions that would shape the character of our initiatives. Think about how friendly to the environment, both natural and work environment, these initiatives are going to be. Look at the contexts that form the basis for the programme of greening cultural institutions: the surrounding overproduction, the concept of post-growth, the idea of a feminist cultural institution, and ‘care collectives’. The critical self-diagnosis made at this stage can help us remodel existing patterns and introduce alternative scenarios.
Eco-ethics is a set of values, norms and priorities that indicate a respectful human attitude towards the natural environment. The eco-ethics of cooperation is therefore the application of ecological rules in economic and business relations. This can be achieved through organising environmentally and socially sustainable tenders, researching the company or institution’s policy, introducing relevant provisions in contracts or by activities promoting the change of legal regulations at the municipal, city or even national level.
Climate Emergency is a moment when education and work on the development of pro-environmental awareness outside and inside an institution become crucial. Earmark funds for such activities in the budgets of your projects. Remember that the key to sustainable budgeting is appropriate planning.
Mapping the ongoing changes and current needs should be undertaken on several levels: both those located inside the institution, based on the practices and needs of individual employees, and those outside which the institution can respond to, i.e. global challenges posed by the effects of climate change and ecological crises. In the first step, it is best to take care of the process of non-intrusive education, i.e. one that will be integrated with the functioning of the institution.