Ah-ha! Insights on Creative Climate Leadership

Large pyramid greenhouse

By Claude Schryer

Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) is a training programme developed by Julie’s Bicycle and partners across Europe and the USA, supporting artists and cultural professionals to explore cultural leadership and creative action on climate change. Julie’s Bicycle has trained 73 cultural workers from around the world, and are now extending the programme to Scandinavia in early 2021. Hear how it impacted one participant’s thinking below.

Claude Schryer is a composer and arts administrator from Ottawa. He did soundscape composition, acoustic ecology and environmental art in the 80s and 90s in Banff and Montreal and was a manager and senior advisor at Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa in the 00s and 10s. He participated in the Creative Climate Leadership programme at the Biosphere2 in Arizona in March 2020.

Republished from http://www.conscient.ca/


I attended Creative Climate Leadership Arizona to fine-tune my leadership skills, to deepen my knowledge of climate change issues and to develop content for www.conscient.ca, a blog and podcast about how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action.

Among the many excellent presentations at this intensive 5-day course, here are 7 ‘ah-ha’ moments that hit me in the gut:

1. Sustainable Culture

There are no sustainability practises only cultural practices. We need to develop sustainable culture practises.

2. Imagination

We need to imagine a positive future. Artists are good at that. We need to support artists so that they can share their visions and passions.

3. Indigenous Knowledge

Humanity already knows how to live sustainably through indigenous traditional ways and knowledge. We need to support and listen to these voices.

4. The Mother of Intersectionality

The climate crisis reveals the urgency of intersectionality. We are intrinsically and inexorably interconnected (as COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates). We need everyone to participate.

5. Overshooting

When I heard that we will likely “overshoot” our 1.5 C carbon reduction target in order to address climate justice objectives and then return to 1.5c through carbon sinks and decarbonization, I allowed myself to feel a bit of optimism. We need to develop and implement low carbon climate justice strategies.

6. The Post-Woke Era

A majority of the population have now woken up to the reality of climate change (c. 75% of those under 35 see it as an existential threat) but are NOT changing their behaviour (or not enough). We need to create more space for feeling and healing in order to move from paralyzing grief to concerted action.

7. Crisis Principles

Four key principles emerged out of Creative Climate Leadership Arizona in relation to crisis management and the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. We Are in This Together

2. Reflect. Reframe. Refresh. Reset.

3. Stay Present with the Challenge

4. What is the Creative and Just Response?

I invite you to read, share and comment upon this statement written by the CCL Arizona group:

Crisis: Principles for Just and Creative Responses

Note: see links in this page for French and Spanish versions

I also invite you to use these tags: #ccleaders and #creativeresponses and to list places where you distributed these principles HERE.

Thanks to the organizers of Creative Climate Leadership Arizona, notably Alison Tickell and Sholeh Johnston of Julie’s Bicycle, in partnership with Marda Kirn of EcoArts Connections, Diana Liverman of the University of Arizona, Shireen Miller of the Colorado European Union Center for Excellence and Alexis Frasz for this opportunity and to my fellow participants for sharing their knowledge and for your solidarity.