Climate change has become one of the most significant and fastest growing threats to people and their cultural heritage worldwide (ICOMOS, 19GA 2017/30). Yet the conservation of cultural heritage is inextricably linked to activities with a high environmental impact, such as construction and development, buildings operations, land management and tourism (Heritage Declares, 2019). It is clear that we need to make a commitment to the health and wellbeing of the planet, and we are working hard to understand how to achieve this.
We have already become founding members of the International Climate Heritage Network, mobilising the cultural heritage sector for Climate Action across the globe. We are also amongst the first to sign up to Heritage Declares. This means that, with other leading heritage professionals, we are dedicated to promoting environmental awareness and cultural change, to shifting conservation priorities without harming cultural significance, to encouraging the adaptation of buildings rather than demolishing them, and putting climate and ecological sustainability at the heart of planning and design.
In addition, in 2021 the OPT team will pledge to make a change each week which will do something more to help the planet, big or small. Over 52 weeks we will look to make changes with our own green spaces and buildings – from signing up to Heritage Declares to agreeing to only drink water from the tap. You can follow our progress below or by finding us on social media with @OxfordPresTrust and #OPTClimateChallenge. You can also read more in our blog post “Our health and wellbeing, from the personal to the planet” by clicking here.
Links to further reading:
OPT Trustee and Chair of the Planning Committee Carole Souter speaking at the Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change