The Royal Court Theatre Declares a Climate Emergency

Published on Wed 3 Apr 2019


In October 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change reported

that we only have 12 years to change how we live, globally.


Climate breakdown

Since then, new tipping points are still being reached. In December

2018 it was reported that the rate of Greenland’s ice melt has

quadrupled. Soon after, NASA discovered a huge cavern has opened up

under Antarctica, and that a polar vortex destabilised sending freezing

Arctic weather over the American mid-west whilst January was the

warmest month in Australia, ever.


Ecological breakdown

60% of wildlife is already extinct and at least three species are lost to

eternity each hour. In February, there were reports of a catastrophic

decline in insect populations which will soon affect our food supplies.

There is a debilitating loss of soil biodiversity, forests, grasslands, coral

reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and genetic diversity in crop and

livestock species.


Human rights and justice

The environmental crisis is worsening injustices faced by people in the

Global South, indigenous land defenders in particular, and over time it

will intensify inequalities experienced in every country.

Climate breakdown is the leading generational justice issue.




A cultural response to the emergency

If speedy and drastic action is taken, if we apply the solutions within

our reach, we can meet our climate goals. The need to take action on

climate is more urgent and more immediate than ever. Failure to act is

a failure of responsibility.

There is growing recognition of the contribution of arts, heritage and

civic organisations to prompt shifts in the ways we relate to one

another and the world, in our values and behaviours. Climate change

and ecocide is a deeply systemic problem that can only be tackled by

imagining and forging better ways of relating to each other and the



We will work to challenge policies and narratives that obfuscate the

truth or delay action. We will communicate with artists, audiences and

our communities to support them to discover the truth about the

Emergency and the changes that are needed.


We will challenge policies and actions that do not help to reduce

emissions or consumption levels. We will actively work to imagine and

model ways that the theatre economy and ecology can lean towards

regenerating the planet’s resources while providing sustainably for

people’s needs. We pledge to step up our LTC-wide roadmap towards our

emissions reduction target by 2025.


We will do what is possible to enable dialogue and expression amidst

our global community of writers and artists about how the Emergency

will affect them and the changes that are needed.

We will support demands for more democracy within our civic

institutions and government.

We believe that all truth-telling, action and democratic work must be

underpinned by a commitment to justice based on intersectional



For information on our Culture Declares Emergency event see here.

For information on #CultureDeclaresEmergency see here.