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Creatives for Climate: How can we take action today?

Time is running out and tackling the climate crisis will require commitment from all sectors of society, including the creative industries. Here a few things you and your agency can do to take action today.

Time is running out and tackling the climate crisis will require commitment from all sectors of society, including the creative industries. Here a few things you can do to take meaningful action today.

In May, Extinction Rebellion made an explicit call to the industry to use its power for good. It read: “As mediators between the public and brands, the advertising industry is uniquely capable of driving rapid behaviour change across society, around the world and should take the lead rather than be driven.”

The call to action was simple: “Declare a climate & ecological emergency and act accordingly. Persuade your clients and their audiences to do the same.”

In the UK, this message has landed and businesses are using their platforms to take a stand. However here in The Netherlands the response has - so far - been muted at best. This is why on September 18th, we have launched the Creatives for Climate Summit bringing together key stakeholders within the Dutch advertising and marketing industry to create a collective plan of action.  

Since announcing, we have been overwhelmed with interest, receiving more than 350 RSVPS. We have not been able to accommodate everyone this time; and we apologize for this! However, everyone can get involved, and start to take action today.

Enough with talking - it's time to act!

A lot of people have been asking if we’ll be spearheading a new manifesto, a joint commitment, or a new committee as part of this effort.

New ideas and creative solutions are key. However, the climate emergency is now so urgent - we really need to collaboratively join our efforts and support existing movements. It will take wide-spread collaborative systems-change to make the difference.

Our intention is to give climate activist group Extinction Rebellion a platform, engage with leading brands and brand activists, and provide a simple framework to reflect on demands already made by XR as well as efforts - largely led by the UK - within this industry to create change.

Here is the call to action from Extinction Rebellion to The Dutch creative industries.

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‍The brief is open however. XR The Netherlands are calling for help - stating:

"We are not here to serve solutions to you. You are creatives, and you have the power of communication. What can you come up with?

Below is a framework we intend to discuss with the community at large, bringing in creative ideas, energy and commitment from the Dutch creative industries to take this forward.

  1. Tell the truth about the climate emergency. Talk about the science and make the climate emergency real. Do this in boardrooms, in meetings, and in private conversations. Use your power and creativity to tell this message across campaigns - on billboards and on screens.
  2. Declare a climate and ecological emergency and act accordingly. Persuade your clients and their audiences to do the same.
  3. Join, sign on, and use your creative talents to get active in the following movements:
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  • Global Climate Strike. September 20th UK - September 27 in NL. Sign on to Create and Strike, joining more than 20 UK agencies to support the Global Climate Strike Sept 20-27. As an agency, this commits you to giving staff time off to join the strike - and dedicating your creative talents to amplify this message.
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  • https://fridayfuture.love/ has both inspiration and guidance on how to get involved. You can also find the world’s largest database of climate protest posters here courtesy of Glug, UKSCN and Friday’s for Future.

Please note: The UK Strike date is Sept 20th, but here in The Netherlands its Friday September 27th. The main one is in The Hague, but there is also one in Amsterdam. More information on both can be found here.

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  • Global Rebellion Week. Starting Oct 7th. Support Extinction Rebellion during Global Rebellion Week starting Oct 7th. Join them in the streets. You can follow and get involved with Extinction Rebellion event here.
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  • The Creative Climate Disclosure - join as an individual or agency. Join more than 100 agencies who’ve signed on to the Creatives for Climate Disclosure to disclose income based on industry, including fossil fuel and other high carbon clients.

4. Move from a competitive to a collaborative mindset. While many of us already working in this positive impact space want to devise our own solutions, building a sustainable society is a massive, complex and system-wide challenge. There is power in numbers. While you can join Extinction Rebellion as an individual, as a business you can also sign onto movements like B Corporation who have been paving the way on balancing purpose and profit.

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5. Realize that you’re not too small to make a difference. You are in a position of power and influence; therefore you have a responsibility to use this power and influence to drive this message.

Last night, in the lead up to the event, my business partner Jessica Hartley and I brought together Alex Weller from Patagonia, Mark Aink Native Circles, Tessa Wernink Fairphone Co-Founder and Extinction Rebellion activists to reflect on what message we were really hoped landed next week.

"Understand your agency and use it; take ownership for this movement, and self-organize!"
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We are planning subsequent events to be announced soon however change is in your hands - we encourage anyone wanting to host an event under this banner to contact us; or take this forward independently.

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any" - Alice Walker.

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