Digital takeover day – The GoMA Youth Group on climate change
For Kids in Museums’ Digital Takeover Day, the GoMA Youth Group discuss their thoughts on climate change and how contemporary art can meaningfully raise awareness of these issues. In the lead up to COP26, which will be hosted in Glasgow in November 2021, the group have formed collaborative partnerships with 2050 Climate Group and RSPB Scotland to educate themselves on the climate emergency.
Read on to hear Natalie and Hollie share their thoughts.
Within the GoMA Youth Group, we’ve been discussing our thoughts on climate change and our responsibility as creative young people to address these issues and raise awareness. Scotland’s 2050 Climate Group gave an insightful presentation about climate action at one of our recent weekly meetings, and I think we all felt inspired to take what we learned and use that knowledge to empower other young people.
On a personal level, the presentation also made me think about the hidden implications of climate change that touch so many areas of our lives almost without us stopping to notice. I began to investigate the role of the visual arts in fuelling the current climate emergency and discovered just how significant these issues are across the galleries, studios, auction houses, art fairs, and art businesses many of us are passionate about.
The arts campaign group Julie’s Bicycle have reported that the visual arts sector generates 70 million tonnes of CO2e per annum (to put that into perspective, the average petrol car in the UK produces the equivalent of 180g of CO2 every kilometre.) Of these 70 million tonnes of CO2, 85% is generated by the visiting public travelling to and from galleries and art fairs. We also need to factor in the energy it takes to light and heat art galleries and museums, and the water and waste produced by visitors and staff too.
With the visual arts sector playing a role in the creation of the climate emergency, I think it’s particularly important for people who care about arts and culture to both speak up and act. This could start with us as artists and creatives, using our talents to convey an essential green message that could encourage the rest of the sector to take inspiration and follow our lead. As I continue to work as part of the GoMA Youth Group, these ideas will always be in the back of my mind.
Hello I’m Hollie! I love that the GoMA Youth Group has given me opportunities to think about the climate crisis and the need for a more sustainable future. A few weeks ago, we had a chat with the 2050 Climate Group, and they asked us about the kind of future we hoped for. I actually found this a bit emotional because I realised I hadn’t been asked this before as a young person. The kind of sustainable solutions that other GYG members were suggesting instilled a lot of hope in me.
Issues around climate change, the global economy, and big greedy companies feel overwhelming and beyond my control. Art helps me to make sense of these things and how I feel. Works like Anna Atkin’s cyanotypes remind me of the beauty of the natural world and how essential it is. Works like Ilana Halperin’s reflect the anger and grief I feel when I think about the climate crisis. Jacki Parry’s rain catcher works gives me hope for a more sustainable future. Jade Montserrat’s ‘Clay’ helps me to emphasise with others and reflect on their relationship to the natural landscape.
The GoMA Youth Group is funded by the Scottish Government’s Youth Arts Fund through Creative Scotland with the support from Youth Music Initiative and Time to Shine.