UKAHT joins the Climate Heritage Network
UKAHT has joined the Climate Heritage Network to help drive climate action through culture and heritage.
UKAHT is proud to announce that we were unanimously approved to join the Climate Heritage Network (CHN) – a global movement to engage culture and heritage with the climate crisis.
The Paris-based association announced that 92 additional organisations have joined the Network following approval of their membership applications by their governing body, the Steering Committee. As a member, UKAHT will take part in the CHN’s Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States committee.
UKAHT currently cares for six heritage sites in Antarctica and was recently commissioned by the FCDO to help protect the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, which was found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea in 2022. UKAHT is uniquely placed to make a real contribution to the efforts of the Climate Heritage Network given that its sites are based in one of the fastest-warming places on the planet.
UKAHT is proud to join the network (Credit: CHN)
UKAHT CEO, Camilla Nichol, explains; “We are seeing the impacts of climate change first-hand as our heritage sites are all set within a very vulnerable landscape. Our flagship site Port Lockroy on the Antarctic Peninsula was also Britain’s very first scientific base on the continent, and the place where Antarctic climate science began, so we have a particular passion and unique perspective on the realities of the climate crisis.”
With climate change a global phenomenon, the CHN was launched in 2019 in Edinburgh, UK, by organisations from around the world seeking to mobilise art, culture and heritage for climate action. The founding members shared a common concern: that the power of culture to drive transformative climate action was not being fully realised and a recognition that business-as-usual leads to an ever-warming globe with catastrophic consequences for the planet, its peoples, and their cultures and heritage.
“On their own, CHN member organisations are implementing programmes, taking climate action, and doing climate change research. Together, through the CHN, they seek nothing less than to reimagine a global system of climate planning that is failing to keep 1.5° alive and deliver transformative adaption by filling a crucial gap – attention to the cultural dimensions of the climate emergency.” – Andrew Potts, CHN Coordinator
The 92 new members are drawn from all five of the CHN’s regions: Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America. The CHN works to promote solidarity with communities on the frontlines of climate change. New CHN members hail from dozens of countries, ranging from Argentina and Bangladesh to Italy and Iraq; New Zealand and Nigeria to Turkey and the USA.
UKAHT operates in a region directly affected by climate change (Credit: Shutterstock)
“With every conversation, every new partner, every opportunity, we advance culture-based climate action. Cultural heritage supports communities towards a low-carbon, resilient future. Further, faster, together,” said Arq Angélica Arias of the Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio de Quito and the CHN’s Co-Chair for Latin America and the Caribbean region.
Other UK-based organisations included the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the University College London Institute of Archaeology. Further afield, CHM has approved memberships from institutions as diverse as Zimbabwe’s Savanna Trust, a Harare-based non-profit organisation that specialises in using theatre, radio drama and film for social transformation and development, to the Academy of Athens, the oldest research institution of Greece. The full list of members can be found here.
Camilla added: “We are very proud to be part of this influential global network and will champion its values, helping to raise awareness and advocate for change. We have the privilege of speaking to a wide range of people captivated by Antarctica and passionate about our heritage; we want to harness this platform to highlight the impacts of climate change and encourage everyone we meet to be part of a global initiative to create a low carbon, just and resilient future.”
What is the Climate Heritage Network?
The CHN connects organisations around the world that share a common commitment to strengthening the use of arts, culture, and heritage to help communities tackle climate change and achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. CHN Members include government boards, offices, ministries at all levels, site management agencies, Indigenous People’s Organisations, as well as NGOs, universities, businesses, and other organisations.
Climate change impacts Antarctica's heritage (Credit: Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock)
Last year, the CHN launched its new Action Plan for 2022-24. The plan is based on a Theory of Change which posits that culture – from arts to heritage – enables transformative climate action by empowering people to imagine and realise low-carbon, just, climate-resilient futures.
In the 2022 UN Climate Conference, COP27, the parties to the UN Climate Convention acknowledged the critical links between culture, heritage and climate change by including these themes in decisions they took and programs they launched addressing loss and damage, climate adaptation, and climate action in cities and urban areas. 2023 will see CHN members working to build on these successes.