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  • Writer's pictureamanda haran

Stepping Forward With Confidence: How Carbon Literacy Education Equips Community Artists To Address The Climate Crisis



As a community artist, I have always endeavoured to create sustainably and conscientiously. However, I sensed that more than these measures were needed to address the climate crisis. That's why I enrolled in carbon literacy education courses last week.


My aim was to obtain my carbon literacy accreditation, but with what area of focus in mind? I opted for two courses: Arts and Culture, provided by SAIL, and Communities and Individuals, provided by Sustainable(ish). These courses had overlaps, as climate science is, after all, climate science. Still, their focus, case studies, and discussion concerned two significant areas of my practice, neither of which was more important.


As a member of the Arts and Cultural community, I am obligated to educate and impact the potentially huge audiences I serve in sensitive, sustainable ways. However, discussing climate change with partners or participants can be emotive. That's where the second course complemented the first, providing a rich guide to having these discussions. It also supported the belief that being an expert was not required, merely a generosity of spirit and an active listening stance.


Jen Gale of Sustainable(ish) delivered her mantra of 'doing what you can, one baby step at a time. No preaching, no judgement, no expectations of 'eco-perfection.'' No question, comment, or discussion was off the table; we could chat away for the two days of the course in complete confidence that we could appear as our authentic selves. It was a real treat and encouraged me to amend my own manifesto.


When I carried a felled Silver Birch around the centre of Coventry as an anchor woman of Walking Forest, the response from onlookers could be anxiety-provoking. Some called us 'witches,' an interesting response. Events such as this have provided my discussion concerns with fuel.


These two carbon literacy course bedfellows sit so wonderfully together to enthuse the community artist into stepping forward with confidence into their obligation to address the climate crisis as holistically and person-centred as possible. In conclusion, environmental education is essential for collaboratives in addressing the climate crisis. It provides a framework for sustainable and sensitive means of creating, discussing, and educating. It also encourages a generosity of spirit and an active listening stance, enabling discussions that may be passionate but necessary.


Let's take baby steps towards a greener future, one course and one artwork at a time.

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