TCG has included climate change as a topic in our National Conference and other event programming for many years. At 2008’s Denver Conference, Dr. Alexander E. MacDonald from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped us understand the widespread changes that would occur in the near future, and we saw how the next generation of theatre artists were beginning to talk about environmental issues in their work. At our 2019 National Conference in Miami, we worked with a Conference Committee on Climate to curate a robust track of climate action programming and featured our first Conference Artist in Residence: climate artist-activist, Xavier Cortada, whose work is focused on the accelerating threat of rising seas. In 2021, we held two Climate Action Summits, in April and December, and made climate action a central theme of our June 2021 National Conference. Climate was once again a major programmatic focus at our June 2022 TCG National Conference.
Climate action is an important part of our new strategic plan and mission: to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology. This process started before we were faced with COVID-19, a pandemic that was caused in part by human encroachment on the natural habitats of wildlife and other extractive economic practices. Even before the pandemic, more and more theatres had been shuttered by wildfires, flooding, and other disasters caused and worsened by climate change. We have also received a powerful blueprint for an equitable future from the BIPOC organizers of We See You, White American Theater, whose work includes demands at the intersection of racial justice and climate justice. It’s clear that the time for collective action is now.
For in order to be truly just and thriving, our theatre ecology must confront the existential challenges of environmental racism and white supremacy. In doing so, we will all benefit from regenerative practices, decolonized movement-building, and renewable resources. TCG will explore these opportunities in partnership with organizations like Groundwater Arts and Broadway Green Alliance, and with a commitment to centering Black and Indigenous leaders and frontline communities as we move forward.
Start by joining the Climate Action Community on the TCG Circle. (If you're not sure how to do that, email Corinna Schulenburg at email@example.com.)
Next, read on for ways to get involved with TCG and our partners in the field on climate action, starting today. Remember: to change everything, we need everyone.