Culture Declares Emergency – Letters To The Earth

Inspired by the work of Extinction Rebellion and the global School Strike For Climate, a new initiative – presented by The Royal Court Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre Wales and a host of others, invites the British public – young and old – to write ‘Letters to the Earth’ as a response to the climate and ecological emergency the world is now facing.

The organisers say: “This could be a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea is open to interpretation: it can come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation is open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis. This is an opportunity to ask how this existential threat affects the way we wish to live our lives and the action we take.” 

Letters To The Earth day of action Friday 12 April nationwide

The ‘Letters To The Earth’ will be presented as part of a ‘day of joint action’ on Friday 12 April across theatres, arts venues and community spaces nationwide. The Letters will also be made available rights free for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15 – 28 April, coinciding with the Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion, School Strike 4 Climate, and Earth Day.

Culture Declares Emergency

Organised by members of the creative industries – including actors, directors and playwrights – the Letters To The Earth project is the beginning of a wider campaign which calls on culture to do its part to tell the truth about the climate and ecological crisis and take necessary action.

Theatres and arts venues across the country are invited to get involved in the coming response to the emergency, by hosting readings of Letters To The Earth on Friday 12 April, followed by an open conversation to bring people together in the face of this crisis.

If you are working in the arts and cultural industries and would like to get involved in the Letters to the Earth project and the wider campaign behind it – email letterstotheearth@gmail.com.

In October 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change reported that we only have 12 years to change how we live, globally. That doesn’t mean that we have to act in 12 years time – it means we have to act now to avert disaster, and already we are behind.

In the past year, there are more signs that tipping points are being reached. In December 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 Midwest whilst January was the warmest month in Australia, ever. In February the BBC reported how the Met Office have said that in the next five years’ we could break ‘safe’ thresholds, risking global climate instability and runaway climate heating. Also in February, there were reports of a catastrophic decline in insect populations which will soon affect our food supplies. Increased disasters are now inevitable.

The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change.

Rupert Read, environmental philosopher: ‘ I want to say to those of you who are feeling hopeless… That’s OK. But please don’t use your lack of hope as an excuse for inaction. For that way lies certain nemesis. …Rather, use it as a basis for finding the COURAGE we need at this time. Courage to look reality ever more deeply in the face. Courage to deeply and transformatively adapt. Courage to break the rules; to non-violently resist and seek to change our course, even now.”

Deadline for submissions is midnight Friday 29 March – more information at https://www.letterstotheearth.com.