‘A planetary emergency’: NHM places climate at the centre of its strategy to 2031 6 Feb 2020

The Natural History Museum has entitled its strategy to 2031 ‘A planetary emergency’, placing biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, pollution and extinction alongside climate change as critical concerns for the decade and for the museum. NHM is home to 800 scientists and sees expanding knowledge as a vital part of the solution, but in itself not enough – it will also seek to harness public engagement to ‘make an impact far beyond our physical limits’. Its major plans include:

  • Becoming the first museum in the world to set a science-based carbon reduction target in line with the Paris climate agreement 1.5°C global warming trajectory.
  • Developing a new offsite centre to free up more space for visitors in South Kensington, and creating new galleries including one for young children.
  • It will also create a new science and digitisation centre to protect past collections and enable the museum to apply ‘brilliant minds and 21st century technologies’.
  • It will transform its five acre grounds for the Urban Nature Project, which will describe how cities can become havens for wildlife, promote citizen science projects and be the centrepiece of a nationwide network.

Its work will be driven by an ‘advocates for the planet’ approach which will first establish a connection to nature through ‘memorable and emotional experiences’, then share stories to allow people to place themselves in the history of the planet, and finally empower visitors to make informed decisions about their own behaviour and actions in the light of this. Director Sir Michael Dixon said “our strategy is built around our vision of a future where people and planet thrive. Our ethos is one of hope that by working together we can change the current path. The Museum is well placed to make a difference.” NHM (overview), NHM (press release),  NHM (full strategy document), M + H, ALVA, Museums Journal