This interview was conducted by Selva Ozelli
What was the idea/inspiration behind creating Museum for Future International?
Students decided to no longer accept failing politicians and decision makers. They protested every Friday – and millions all over the world stood up to support them. Scientists, teacher, parents. As I was very engaged in the Austrian climate movement and had just started working in a museum, I decided upon an initiative from the Folk Life and Folk-Art Museum Vienna to start Museums For Future. Why not unite these special institutions behind scientific claims to not only avoid climate breakdown, but also make the world better in numerous ways!
Tell us about your Organization's https://museumsforfuture.org initiatives to educate a global audience about a museum's role in climate-change education.
Museums For Future is like a valve, created for those, who feel desperate about climate ignorant decision makers. Like Fridays For Future, we actually don´t want to be activists, we don’t want to remind decision makers of their promises. But someone obviously has to. The transition to a climate just world would benefit us in numerous ways, and not acting puts humanity in great danger, hence, we have to do something. Adding our voices, spreading awareness, uniting museums and cultural institutions with their trusted positions in society behind this, we try our best. We actually try everything we can think of to make climate action happen as fast as necessary.
Does your organization collaborate with Museums, if so which ones?
Museums as well as museum professionals make up Museums For Future. As the whole movement started in Vienna, we have already roughly ten institutions in Vienna alone, more in whole Austria and a few more abroad. From Folk Life over Art, from Technology to museum organizations – our institutional members are multifaceted, showing that everyone is able to support ambitious climate measures across disciplines.
This year The International Committee for Museums and Collections of Science and Technology (CIMUSET) which is a scientific committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) during its 48th #CIMUSET Annual Conference: “ Museums & Environmental Concerns, New Insights” -7-11 November 2021, will address our planet's environmental concerns and how Science and Technology museums can approach and present this important issue via education and exhibitions. When did your organization get involved in climate change and plastic pollution related issues and what programs has it instituted in collaboration with Museums?
Our organization was founded alongside the youth climate movement Fridays For Future. Yes, plastic pollution is another big issue, but so are biodiversity loss, acidification of oceans, humus degradation, etc. Fortunately, solutions to all these problems go hand in hand: clever urban planning with more green and less cement, circular economies that stop the insane logic of linear production, more efficient mobility – which means public transport wherever possible and renewable alternatives for everything else –, and more regional, resilient energy infrastructure that is less wasteful and completely renewable.
We are simply here, uniting behind the best available science, emphasizing: Act upon your promises! Enforce the Paris Climate Agreement! Everything else would be reckless.
In the last few decades, the degradation of our environment with increased global warming, melting of the arctic, pollution, increased carbon footprint, ozone layer depletion, natural resource depletion, loss of endangered species, urban sprawl has gone up at an alarming rate.
The worldwide covid-19 pandemic has also added to plastic pollution stemming from single use plastic equipment that are dumped into our world's wetlands, oceans and landfills. Tell us more about your organizations pandemic related plastic pollution related initiatives, programs?
Once again, our main focus is the climate crisis. Raising awareness about plastic pollution is insofar important as it increases awareness about Nature being more than a waste dump or something, we can relentlessly exploit. We need both, climate measures and a responsible plastic waste management, and many more things to avoid ecological collapse.
July is Plastic Free Month celebrated globally. Your organization has gracefully participated in #Tiredearth #MASKUARY CAMPAIGN by publishing art shows launched at London Climate Action Week to raise public awareness in dealing with plastic pollution caused by PPE.
Selva Ozelli, Art in the Time of Corona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty3K1OnC9ec
Fatma Kadir Maskuary – Guarding Nature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-OBdDIsqT4
Semine Hazar – Sea Watcher 2– Maskuary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGqqNEktVZU
Ilhan Sayin – Spring Amidst Mist and Masks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EtLiaW_7p4
How can people reach your Organization?
We have channels on all major social media platforms, and I wholeheartedly invite you to our homepage, where you find the mail address to reach out to us, and also our newsletter to keep you updated on any upcoming campaigns.
Anything else you might want to add.
I want to be able to sit down with my future children, wrap a blanket around their shoulders, when they feel low or sad, look them in their eyes and promise them with honest conviction that everything’s going to be fine. Right now, I wouldn´t be able to do that. Because it won´t be fine. If nothing changes now, everything changes. And that´s why remaining silent or inactive now, is simply no option for me.
Florian Schlederer, born 1992 near Vienna, studied physics and philosophy in Vienna, Oxford and Tokyo. Since 2018, he has been involved with "Fridays For Future", co-organized the successful Austrian Citizen's Climate Petition and founded the international initiative "Museums For Future" as a curator. Currently, as a science writer at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria, he is looking for the best stories to communicate science and sustainability. In July 2021, the joint German book with Katharina Rogenhofer "If nothing changes, everything changes" (translated title) will be published.