World Environment Day, held annually on 5 June, brings together millions of people from across the globe, engaging them in the effort to protect and restore the Earth. This year marks the event’s 50th anniversary. #WorldEnvironmentDay is a global platform for inspiring positive change instigated by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), celebrating environmental action and the power of governments, businesses and individuals to create a more sustainable world.
This year’s theme is #BeatPlasticPollution – across the week, folks are being encouraged to be more conscious in their plastic consumption and mindful of plastic pollution matters. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.
You can download UNEP’s “Beat Plastic Pollution Practical Guide” to see how all of us can play a part in this global movement to solve the plastic pollution crisis.
We are always reflecting on our environmental practices and looking for different ways we can reduce our impact. In recent years, environmental impact has become an ever increasing priority for us at Mortal Fools. As a growing organisation that is scaling our offer to meet the demands of our beneficiaries across rural Northumberland, in a sector that has quite fixed norms (i.e. theatre production touring), being environmentally friendly in everything we do, can be a challenge. However, we are known for our ingenuity, and we are determined to do better.
For #WorldEnvironmentDay we thought we would share some of the steps we are actively taking to help protect our world:
1. We now have a named contact in our organisation that is leading this area of work; it’s our Production Manager Craig and you can contact him via email email@example.com – Craig welcomes being contacted to exchange ideas and best practice, especially in the area of environmentally friendly touring.
2. Across Summer 2023, each member of employed staff is committing to at least half a day to tidy up their digital footprint – this includes tidying up cloud storage, getting rid of old files, deleting old hidden pages from our website, and going through email inboxes. This digital detox of Mortal Fools, will improve our digital carbon footprint.
3. We have recently joined Become Green Together and are working towards our Bronze Award! Become Green Together is a support and training programme to help organisations like Mortal Fools to embed environmental sustainability into their working practices and gain the knowledge they need to work with their communities and networks on climate change issues.
This is helping us to monitor and reduce our carbon footprint by providing us with training and resources. We have found it so inspiring to share learning with passionate and committed people from a range of organisations who are on the same journey as we are.
4. As part of our pledge to improve our environmental practices as an Arts Council NPO we are taking part in Julie’s Bicycle’s Environmental Programme which involves closely recording our energy usage and waste and implementing good practices to measurably reduce our environmental impact.
To limit warming to 1.5 degrees, by 2030 every sector must have halved their emissions. The culture sector is already acting, and this programme will accelerate and scale our response to climate crises. We feel so proud to be part of this wider change in the sector which is being led by iconic Northeast organisations including the Baltic, Northern Stage and Tyne and Wear Museums who all took part in Julie’s Bicycle’s spotlight programme 2021-2022.
5. We are in the process of developing a “decision making framework”, which is a matrix of all the factors and considerations that need to be accounted for and explored when making a decision and which take priority. The purpose of this framework is to empower staff at Mortal Fools in their decision making, whilst making 360-degree decision making more conscious. Within that framework, environmental impact is a key consideration.
6. Environmental Impact is now a key consideration in our project planning, project working group agendas and reflective end of project debriefs. This means that every member of staff in each project, irrespective of role is considering their environmental impact, talking about it more openly and striving to do better. Outcomes of this process have been – reducing our marketing print quantities, using more recycled materials than before, budgeting more to purchase higher costing environmentally friendly materials, working with local businesses and easy swaps, like instead of purchasing bottles of water of young people – instead getting cans of water.
7. We regularly reuse props and costumes and over the past four years we have not built a single new stage set. Instead, we reuse our set for all our shows, adjusting and redesigning based on the themes of the show. We have found this presents an interesting creative challenge which we have fully embraced and embedded into our way of working.
8. When we need to update our equipment or buy new office supplies, we have been actively searching for and choosing more sustainable options. Thanks to Community Chest Funding, we were able to invest in eco-friendly LED stage lighting that not only reduces our energy consumption but also enhances the atmosphere of our performances.
9. As our team has grown, we’ve needed more office equipment – people need seats and desks! Instead of purchasing what we need, we’ve managed to secure secondhand furniture and kit from the likes of Virgin Money to give a second life to unwanted items.
10. We strongly encourage car sharing and using public transport where possible. Increasing access to arts and cultural activities in rural areas is a core aim of Mortal Fools, so we often have no choice but to drive however we have found by being more proactive in planning our travel as a team, that we’ve managed to reduce the number of cars driving to and from Mortal Fools’ activities. This will have a big impact on our emissions.
11. As an organization that puts on live events – we are aware of the wider environmental impact of that. Whilst we don’t have any solutions – it is in the forefront of our mind and we are exploring ways we can offset our impact. One of those ways, we are currently exploring is ecolibrium – the live events industry response to the climate crisis; a community of events, festivals, suppliers, artists and music companies in environmental restoration by moving climate action & low-carbon travel into the heart of live events culture.
Combating climate change is a complex ongoing process and for Mortal Fools, is involved balances lots of other priorities as a charity. But we recognise that we need to take responsibility and work together with our Mortal Fools community to make meaningful change.
So on #WorldEnvironmentDay, we invite our Mortal Fools community to share any steps you’re taking to reduce your environmental impact in the comments so that we can learn from each other!