The call of Brno’s cultural institutions to declare a state of climate emergency in the city of Brno

We live in times of extraordinary and dramatic changes, one of which is climate change. There were times when the warnings of rising emissions were rather sporadic. Today, however, a substantial body of experts in the field are calling for reductions in CO2.

We believe that it is high time to start doing something about reducing emissions. In the spring of 2019, the Centre for Experimental Theatre, together with the HaDivadlo and Husa na provázku theatres and the platform Terén, issued a call for Brno City Municipality to declare a state of climate emergency at the level of the city and for the city leaders to draw up a plan to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

In this call, we state:

We, the representatives of cultural institutions operating in Brno, feel a responsibility for our shared future and do not intend to accept the apathy of government elites and the inaction of the majority of society. We therefore propose that Brno City Municipality declare a state of climate emergency at a city level and that the city leaders draw up a plan to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We are convinced that the target for 2030 could be more ambitious than what will be declared in the forthcoming Brno Action Plan for Sustainable Energy and Climate. Achieving this requires transformation not only in the field of energy, but also in many other areas. At the same time, these plans should be socially sensitive and should not put vulnerable groups of inhabitants at risk.

The full text of the call can be found here: https://www.kultura-klima-brno.cz/#text (in Czech)

As artists, we turned primarily to our colleagues in the field of culture. Almost fifty Brno cultural institutions and universities immediately responded to our call, which was prompted by the report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from October 2018. Among the institutions supporting the call are:

National Theatre in Brno
JAMU
FaVU
The publishing house and magazine Host
Moravian Library
Museum of Romani Culture
Scala University Cinema
Brno House of Arts
Moravian Gallery in Brno
Fléda
Brno City Museum
Brno Philharmonic

A list of all signatories can be found here: https://www.kultura-klima-brno.cz/#podporuji

This call by the Centre for Experimental Theatre is not an isolated cry, but follows a Prague call of cultural institutions addressing the representatives of the city of Prague. This call was also preceded by other similar initiatives in Europe and the US. It is encouraging that other cities and districts are themselves declaring that they will radically reduce emissions (some, for example, by 50% by 2030, with others aiming for zero in the same year) and are introducing concrete measures.

We expect many other cities to join in the initiative to radically reduce emissions over the next five years. This is why we need to prepare and begin implementing clear and effective measures as soon as possible. We would be happy if the city of Brno clearly and openly signed up to this call and began to act. It would be wonderful if Brno signed up alongside other progressive and ecologically minded cities and became a role model and positive example to others. Brno’s size, population composition and a number of other factors make it a very good candidate for this.

Following up on this call, the Centre for Experimental Theatre also organized two public lectures on climate crisis:

ON CLIMATE CRISIS

Thirty years of international conferences to bring global warming under control have failed. In 2018, mankind once again released a record amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and climate crisis continues to gain momentum. With urgent concern, we also observe its manifestations in the Czech Republic, for example, in the form of drought lasting several years. What other dangers does it pose? And how can we tackle it? This lecture by ecologist Alexander Ač and sociologist Vojtěch Pecka focuses on the manifestations of climate crisis, but also on the possible ways out of it.

Date: 17 June 2019

Guests:

VOJTĚCH PECKA

Vojtěch Pecka graduated with a Master’s degree in theoretical sociology from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University. He also completed a one-year study stay at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and at the University of Ljubljana. His doctoral research at the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University in Brno focuses on the sociology of climate change and the broader relationship of the interactions of the social system with geophysical and ecosystem reality in the Anthropocene.

ALEXANDER AČ

Alexander Ač is one of the leading experts on climate change and works at the Global Change Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences. He graduated in environmental ecology from the Pavel Jozef Šafárik University in Košice and received a doctorate in 2011 from the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. After a number of research stays at foreign universities, he joined the Global Change Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences, where he works today as a researcher. He regularly contributes to public debate in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on current social issues. He also lectures on climate change and energy and cooperates with the non-profit sector (Friends of the Earth - CEPA, Tree of Life, Greenpeace, Veronika). He is the co-editor of Věk nerovnováhy [The Age of Imbalance] and the author of the Slovak translation of Sustainable Energy – without the hot air by David J.C. MacKay.

A recording of the lecture is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqVz2E11eeU

CLIMATE FACTS - WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

What do we know for sure about the climate system and what do only have a rough idea of? What is the basis for the belief that current climate change is caused by human activity? What future developments can we expect, what impacts are inevitable, and what can we influence? What do the different scenarios of development look like? What are the inaccurate or erroneous arguments of protesting students or sceptics? Reports on climate change and how we can influence it are sometimes contradictory, often torn out of context. They sometimes seem like random cries, and sometimes a struggle between ‘alarmists’ and ‘deniers’. How to make any sense of it? This lecture is designed to help general public better understand the topic. The lecture is given by Ondřej Přibyl and Marek Lahoda, participants in the project faktaoklimatu.cz. They clearly and comprehensibly present information contained in scientific reports, refer to the available data, and help generally anchor the discussion in context.

Date: 19 September 2019

Guests:

MAREK LAHODA

Marek Lahoda studied theoretical physics and taught the subject ‘Climate Changes’ at Masaryk University for several years. His current work is concerned with dealing with group conflicts and systemic interventions in organizations.

ONDŘEJ PŘIBYL

Ondrěj Přibyl is a doctoral student of Physical Geography at the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University and works part-time at the Global Change Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (CzechGlobe). He spent the first two months of this year working at the Czech Polar Base in Antarctica.

A recording of the lecture is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RupqCwOKW_s

HaDivadlo and Husa na provázku theatres and the Terén platform continue to focus on climate change and environmental themes in their artistic and accompanying programmes.