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07.10.2019

Icon Joins Fight To Address Climate Emergency

“God has lent us the earth for our life; it is a great entail. It belongs as much to those who are to come after us, and whose names are already written in the book of creation, as to us; and we have no right, by anything that we do or neglect, to involve them in unnecessary penalties, or deprive them of benefits which it was in our power to bequeath.”

John Ruskin 1849, The Seven Lamps of Architecture

 

John Ruskin, a pioneer of the early conservation movement in the UK, didn’t see any distinction between the need to care for our natural environment and to care for our cultural heritage. So, given the immense challenges facing the planet as a result of climate change, it is only right that Icon follows his lead and plays a part in supporting ideas and activities to combat and adapt to climate change within our field of conservation. We don’t have the answers but we can support our members to share good practice and to collaborate on this important issue, and we can also show leadership through our own actions. With that in mind, a few of our Trustees are currently working on a draft environmental policy for Icon, which we hope to publish on the website soon.

We’ve also taken some practical steps in the interim:

Sara Crofts, Icon’s Chief Executive, is a member of the international steering group for the launch of the Climate Heritage Network which will take place in Edinburgh on 24-25 October. The aim of the Climate Heritage Network is to mobilise the cultural heritage sector across the globe and to accelerate the ambition of culture and heritage organisations to support the delivery of the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

As an organisation Icon is taking positive steps to reduce its carbon footprint. Members will be aware that we are now mailing Icon News in 100% recycled paper envelopes instead of the plastic film wrap that we had been using previously. We have also signed up to the DefaultVeg pledge. This means that the food that we provide at meetings and events arranged by Icon staff will be vegetarian and/or vegan.

We continue to contribute to consultations on policy papers related to climate change. An effective recent example is our input into Climate Change Impacts on the Historic Environment: A New Guide for the Sector produced by Historic Environment Scotland as part of Our Place in Time. We also responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation on the Draft Climate Change Adaptation Delivery Plan for Wales and commented on DEFRA's 25 Year Environment Plan

Finally, we are building allegiances with other organisations who are working to address climate change. We have recently joined Fit for the Future, an environmental sustainability network that brings together over 100 charities, heritage organisations, cultural venues and others to share best practice. Their aim is to help people and organisations learn from the experiences of those who are leaders in their fields through case studies, seminars and workshops.

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