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Focus On: Climate Action

Each month we take a look at one of the ten priority areas of Scotland’s museums and galleries strategy.

This page highlights the climate action priority area. It’s full of advice and resources to help you and your museum or gallery make progress on the strategy’s climate action objectives.

Three adults pose for a selfie in front of rolling hills, green trees, and a long red stone viaduct. The adult on the left has light skin, brown hair in a ponytail, and a beard. The adult in the middle has medium-tone skin and shoulder length dark brown hair. The adult on the right has dark skin, glasses, and long dark brown braided hair.

What is the climate action priority area?

Scotland’s museums and galleries will be environmentally sustainable organisations that take action to meet net zero targets.

Museums and galleries have a crucial role to play in helping our society to reach net zero. By educating, influencing, and engaging with people right across Scotland, they can encourage communities to take positive climate action by 2030.

You can read the climate action priority area and actions in full at our strategy hub.

If you’re looking to build climate action into more of your work, you’ll find plenty of helpful information in the resources below.

In 2022 MGS conducted a sector-wide survey to understand the views and actions of Scotland’s museums and galleries.

65% of respondents strongly agreed that their organisations considered climate change to be an important issue that needed to be addressed.

However, only 16% were currently measuring their carbon footprint – which highlighted that few felt they had the knowledge or capacity to take action.

Read our blog post to find out how to measure the carbon footprint of your organisation.

A smiling child with light skin, brown braided hair and a dark green dress. They are holding an activity sheet in one hand and using the other to point at a toy cat hiding on top of a museum display.

Climate action resources

Climate action case studies

These museum case studies cover a range of topics including engagement programmes at National Mining Museum Scotland, Carbon Literacy at MGS, and climate-friendly policies at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Advice topic: climate action

Explore our advice on how museums and galleries can improve their sustainability and engage with audiences on climate action.

Carbon Literacy Toolkit for Museums

This powerful resource from the Carbon Literacy Project offers workers the skills and confidence to take climate action within museums.

Green Arts Portal

This climate action toolkit by Creative Carbon Scotland which is full of ideas to help your organisation tackle the climate crisis.

Museums Association Climate Resources Bank

Help build climate action in the museum and heritage sector with this library of useful tools and information.

Net Zero Handbook

Glasgow Women’s Library has created a practical plan which sets out the changes they will make to reach “operational net zero” by 2030.

Creative Climate Justice Hub

A library of climate justice resources created by Julie’s Bicycle for the arts and culture community.

Act Green 2023

Audience research specialists Indigo have published a report on audience attitudes towards the role of cultural organisations in tackling the climate emergency.

Rows of bicycles suspended from the ceiling of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.
Do you know how to improve your sustainability as an organisation?

You can take steps to improve the energy efficiency of your museum, switch to using seasonal food in cafés, and apply the principles of a circular economy to your work.

Are you helping your visitors to engage with the climate and biodiversity emergency?

You can use your collections, cultural programming, and indoor and outdoor spaces to educate visitors and inspire positive climate action. Your museum can join Good Journey to encourage visitors to use sustainable transport.

Does your museum take part in annual climate action awareness events?

Net Zero Awareness Week takes place in July each year, and World Car-Free Day is on September 22nd. The last week of September is also Scotland’s Climate Week.

MGS funding

The climate action aims of Scotland’s museums and galleries strategy are reflected in our grants outcomes and expectations.

Funding applications must address one or more of our grants outcomes depending on the requirements of the fund. Projects may include objectives such as improving carbon literacy amongst your staff and volunteers or reviewing your environmental impact to identify any improvements that you can make.

Read our grants outcomes and expectations in full here.

The MGS Capital Resilience Fund is open for applications until Tuesday 21 November 2023. This fund aims to build the resilience of museums by increasing energy efficiency, reducing running costs, and preventing increases in maintenance and repair costs.

A green, leaf-shaped label with the title "'Insectaggedon'- the collapse of nature" and several lines of text. Behind the label, inside a glass case, is a display of pinned insects.

Find out more

Climate action connects with other areas of the strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries. Achieving the strategy’s climate action aims can have a positive impact on your progress towards the financial resilience, education, and collaboration priority areas, too.

Next month, we’ll be focussing on the financial resilience priority area of the strategy. If you have any resources, case studies, or questions relating to the climate action or financial resilience priority areas, please get in touch.

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