Green Museums Collective: Tackling the climate emergency in Cornwall's museums
As a global movement, eco-activism – the call for environmental action to tackle climate change – is well-established. Eco-activism has pushed for international cooperation, holding world leaders and corporate conglomerates to account and calling for change. Heritage institutions have shown their support by taking actions such as switching to a new energy supplier, banning plastic packaging, and holding zero-waste events. Such measures have successfully reduced carbon emissions and set an example for other organisations to do the same.
However, for many museums and other heritage bodies, the introduction of eco-measures feels like a daunting, costly and resource-heavy procedure; It can be hard to know where to start and difficult to assess how effective policies will be. For these reasons, Cornwall Museums Partnership has established the Green Museums Collective, a working group of five emerging museum professionals to research and develop a practical environmental action plan for Cornwall’s heritage organisations. The Collective has already supported CMP in the adoption of TerraCycle’s nitrile glove recycling scheme, which is open to all heritage organisations in Cornwall! Drop your gloves off at the CMP office at Krowji, or collect them in your heritage organisation and give them to a CMP staff member when you see them. Once the box reaches the correct weight, the gloves will be sent to recycling.
A survey of Cornish museums and galleries
One of the Collective’s first acts was to carry out a survey to understand what eco-actions Cornish heritage organisations had already taken and what challenges remained. This survey found that ‘energy’ was the biggest area of concern, while the major barrier to action were, as expected, cost and workforce capacity.
Based on the survey results, the Green Museum Collective has decided to create a guide containing realistic measures that organisations can adopt to become more environmentally sustainable.
Why will the Green Museums Guide be useful?
The Collective’s Green Museums Guide will help small heritage institutions to improve their eco-credentials by lifting the burden of research. The guide will contain measures for lowering the energy consumption of physical and digital heritage spaces. It will also advise on more general measures that can be implemented to reduce environmental contamination from waste, water, transport, and food-based facilities. The recommendations will be sorted by their cost and time commitment so that organisations can adapt the order in which they complete these goals to their work environment.
The guide will be printed on a recyclable backing using soy-based ink and will also be available in a digital format. It will be designed and manufactured by members of the collective with Roots Press ( Roots Press Members Area). The aim is to end up with a trust-worthy database of information that can be updated as new eco-actions are researched and tested.
The guide will be ready in May 2022 so keep an eye on CMP’s social media for more information on how to access a copy! The guide will be available both in print and digitally.
Please send any questions about the Green Museums Collective Museums Development Officer Steph Clemens at firstname.lastname@example.org