How Arizona Museums Can Save the World
Members of the American Alliance of Museums’ Environment and Climate Network are encouraging museums to join the We Are Still In (WASI) coalition as part of the newly created Cultural Institution sector.
We Are Still In is a coalition of more than 2,700 CEOs, mayors, governors, college presidents, and other leaders committed to climate action that was created following the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2017. Individual organizations sign-on through the WASI website and can declare that they will “contribute” through making public commitments to one or more of the 17 sustainable development goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.
MAA was the first state museum association to join We Are Still In. Our decision to sign on was based on what the Board determined that the organization could do to educate its members and the general public on their role in preserving the environment for future generations.
There are many possible commitments that organizations can make, so it may feel overwhelming for some museums to become part of this coalition. However, you can chose which ones to participate in, or you can sign on now and chose commitments at a later date.
Here are a few commitments that are do-able by even the smallest museum:
Commit to Reduce Climate Impacts of Packaging and Reducing Waste
There are many ways to reduce the climate impact of packaging including reducing materials (i.e., “source reduction”); replacing virgin materials with post-consumer recycled content; replacing traditional plastics made from fossil fuels with biopolymers; re-designing packaging to be more compact and therefore efficient for transport and storage; using biodegradable packing materials; and recycling at the end of the packaging’s life to name just a few practices.
Commit to Reducing the Climate Impact of Your Transportation
Organizations making a commitment to reduce the climate impact of transportation should consider practices such as measuring transportation greenhouse gas emissions and reducing transit- and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can develop a green transportation action plan to map the movement of goods to market and identify opportunities to increase efficiency. Organizations can buy hybrid and electric vehicles within their own fleet, and can reduce the footprint of their workforce through incentivizing public transportation, installing EV charging stations, promoting telework, and locating near transit centers.
Commit to Community Education and Communication
Commit to offering education opportunities that are designed for staff, adults, and children, and feature information on clean energy, stewardship, individual/household climate actions, climate advocacy, and any other applicable subjects. The importance of building environmental literacy in changing habits and perceptions is profound, and organizations and institutions trusted to convene the community are among the most impactful educators.
More information is available on the Environment and Climate Network website