Art For Your World is a new campaign for WWF, led by curatorial practice Artwise, to mobilise and unite the art world in the fight against the climate crisis.The campaign #ArtForYourWorld will run on Instagram from September through to November to align with COP26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties taking place 1–12 November in Glasgow) - the defining moment for our future and the health of our planet.
From practising artists to commercial galleries, cultural centres to museums and beyond, this is a wide call to action for the cultural sector to come together with a united voice to say that climate change matters and we must act now.
The funds raised by Art For Your World will be used to support key areas of WWF’s work that contribute to combatting dangerous climate change, such as: halting deforestation; supporting communities; restoring trees and forests; replanting seagrass meadows; protecting endangered species; and promoting sustainable lifestyles
Founded 60 years ago to drive funding and support for conservation, WWF remains at the forefront of the fight against the climate and nature crisis today. While conservation efforts over this time have led to victories for nature, the mission has grown exponentially. Every year the challenges become tougher and there is still much work to be done.
From poverty to wildlife extinction, so many of the world’s biggest challenges are made more difficult by climate change. Things will only get worse if we do nothing but we can still do something about it.
Through Art For Your World we want to bring together the creativity and generosity of the art world and help support WWF in the frontline fight against the climate crisis.
This project is devised, curated and produced for WWF by Artwise.
JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
Art For Your World is supporting five key WWF projects and areas of work that aim to restore nature, tackle deforestation and combat dangerous climate change.
Destruction of nature and climate change are the biggest environmental crises of our time, and we are the last generation that can stop the most devastating impacts. Poverty, wildlife extinction and habitat destruction are all made worse by the additional stresses that climate change brings. Global land and ocean temperatures have been rising for over a century, speeding up in the last few years, with the last decade the hottest on record.
If people and nature are to survive, let alone thrive, we will all need a safe and stable climate. We need to cut man-made greenhouse gas emissions drastically, phase out fossil fuels and move faster to renewable energy. We should use less energy and be more efficient in the energy that we do use, and we need to maximise the potential of nature and agriculture to address climate change – which includes tackling deforestation and eating more plants and less meat. Global efforts must limit warming of our planet to 1.5°C, as every fraction of a degree matters. Science shows this is possible but it now requires action to make it happen.
BELOW ARE THE FIVE KEY WWF PROJECTS AND AREAS OF WORK BEING SUPPORTED BY ART FOR YOUR WORLD
PROTECTING HABITATS AND SPECIES
Nature is in freefall, and according to WWF's flagship Living Planet Report we've seen an average drop in global wildlife population sizes of 68% since 1970. WWF is working to halt the loss of habitats and re-build natural life support systems for people and species in some of the world's most biodiverse places. All kinds of wildlife will struggle to survive if their natural environment is damaged or destroyed.
The same can be said for some people. We all depend on natural resources to provide water, food, fuel and often incomes. But people in the poorest parts of the world are most closely reliant on their local natural environment, and often have a unique understanding of natural resources and how to use them sustainably. As global levels of consumption increase our natural resources come under greater pressure, which can result in natural spaces becoming fractured or lost entirely. This affects the structure and functioning of environments - impacting the people, animals and plants that live there. WWF is working for the recovery of some of our planet's critical landscapes, for species and for local communities, to show that together we can halt species extinction and create living exemplars of people and nature thriving together.
Conservation efforts over the last 60 years by local communities, governments and organisations like WWF have led to victories for nature - including wild tiger numbers increasing again after 95% of the world's population was lost, as well as Antarctic blue whales and bowhead whales making a regional comeback in polar waters. However, there is still much work to be done.
REPLANTING SEAGRASS MEADOWS IN UK WATERS
Seagrass meadows living in shallow waters along our coastline are vital for biodiversity and marine life - harbouring up to 30 times more animals than bare sediment. They are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, providing spawning, nursery and feeding grounds for endangered wildlife such as seahorses, as well as 20% of the world's 25 biggest fisheries. Seagrasses also play a crucial role in regulating our climate - accounting for between 10 -18 percent of total ocean carbon storage - as they rapidly store organic carbon into sediments, where it remains 'locked up' for long time periods. Global analysis of these rates indicates that a hectare of seagrass meadow can store carbon at rates of up to 35 times that of a hectare of tropical rainforest. However, seagrass meadows are also one of the most rapidly declining ecosystems on Earth, losing 7% of their known area per year, with major biodiversity impacts.
The overall vision for this work is to re-establish and replant seagrass meadows and the range of ecosystem services they provide us, as thriving nurseries for juvenile fish and carbon stores, through replicating successful approaches to their restoration around the UK coast. WWF, working with partners, recently completed the planting of the UK's first large seagrass restoration project at Dale in Pembrokeshire and are now looking to scale up this work. We will be undertaking trials to mechanise the restoration process alongside restoring a further 16 hectares of seagrass meadows in the UK by 2026. By this time, we will have provided a seagrass restoration model for government to lead further restoration efforts.
SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES AND DRIVING CHANGE
The way we live, and the food we eat, is driving the destruction of global habitats, and pushing climate change well into the danger zone. Collectively, the public, businesses and politicians need to find a way to globally feed up to ten billion people, restore nature and make the climate safe.In order to tackle our environmental impact, we first need to understand it. Through campaign and advocacy work and education programmes with schools and young people, WWF helps provide people with the tools they need to understand the threats facing our planet and how to take action. WWF also engages with business and government, pressing for ambitious goals and targets, including committing to and then delivering tough environmental laws to protect nature at home and overseas.
For over 30 years, WWF have also been working with teachers and schools to provide a wide range of topical classroom resources and real-world activities to engage and inspire young people. More than 10,000 schools across the UK participate in WWF education programmes and they provide a wide range of climate change resources, species and food-growing activities to inspire students. WWF have also created a carbon footprint calculator, which allows users to answer simple questions about lifestyle areas such as travel, food and their shopping habits. This is then used to calculate individuals’ carbon footprints and provide guidance on how to reduce them. There is also an app, My Footprint, which offers users challenges to make changes in their own lives.
TACKLING DEFORESTATION AND PROTECTING LIVELIHOODS IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST
The fate of the Amazon and its peoples has never been more urgent. The global health crisis of the past year has made it clear that humanity's destruction of nature, bringing people and wildlife into ever closer and more frequent contact, is not only a huge contributor to climate change but is at the root of pandemics. Every hectare of the Amazon that is cleared is breaking down the vast ecosystem's ability to sustain itself and, in turn, to sustain humanity.
Scientists estimate that if we lose another 5% of the Amazon we could tip it over the edge, preventing its ability to recycle water and turning large parts of it from a resilient, moist rainforest into a dry, degraded savannah, which will lock in dangerous climate change worldwide as carbon is released. This would ruin the lives of communities that rely on the Amazon for their livelihoods, destroy the home of more than 10% of the world's species, and impact rainfall across South America.
WWF is working in partnership with communities in the Brazilian Amazon, providing tools and training for local and indigenous peoples to protect their lands, access legal representation, and a forum to communicate between local and global communities.
Video of Amazon rainforest trees on fire with smoke in illegal deforestation to open area for agriculture © Shutterstock / Paralaxis / WWF
RESTORING FORESTS THROUGH TRILLION TREES
As signs of Earth’s climate crisis become unavoidable, the tree is one of nature’s most effective tools in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. Our forests are living ecosystems that store carbon, while also helping to maintain rainfall, provide habitats for more than half of all species found on land and support the livelihoods of over a billion people. Our climate is changing fast. But it is not too late to fix it. Together, we need to protect our existing trees and bring back some of our forests, so we create a world where forests are expanding rather than shrinking.
Trillion Trees is a joint venture between three of the world’s largest conservation charities: BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and WWF. The vision is that by 2050, one trillion trees will have been re-grown, saved from loss and be better protected around the world. One trillion trees will store an estimated 36-50 gigatons of carbon– four times the amount released annually through human activity. Supporting forest landscapes in more than 60 countries, Trillion Trees has the expertise and long-standing relationships with governments, civil society, businesses and local communities to end deforestation and support tree cover where it is needed most. Since launch in 2016, the venture has supported the protection of 18.3 billion trees and the restoration of 1.8 billion.
"At WWF, we know that the art world is increasingly conscious of the role it can play in saving the environment, whether by reducing carbon emissions or exploring environmental issues through art. The paralysis caused by the pandemic has been a moment to consider a new way forward, and we believe that now is the time to join forces, in order to ensure that both the art world and the art-loving public can respond to the urgency of the climate crisis."
- Tanya Steele, CEO WWF