June 3, 2022
June 2022 : Optimism is a moral choice

Thank you for joining us at SCALE – Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency. If you’ve recently learned about us and joined our mailing list since the launch of our website, welcome! We’re so glad to have you with us on our journey as we build a coordinated, artful and impactful response to the climate emergency from Canada’s arts and culture sector.

There’s been no shortage of disheartening news on the climate front lately – grief and despair for the state of the planet are a natural and understandable reaction. And while we must give ourselves the space to abide with these emotions, we cannot allow ourselves to lose sight of the fact that greener, more just futures are possible and actionable. 

The climate crisis is also a crisis of courage, and a crisis of imagination. This is precisely why our sector has such a unique and vital role to play. Arts and culture have both the capacity and the responsibility to catalyse the mindsets that drive positive action. We must hold fast to determined optimism, seeking out and amplifying the solutions already at hand.

“I think of optimism as a choice of moral courage, of moral valour, of strength in the face of adversity. I don’t think of it as denying the realities that are slapping us in the face. I think about optimism as being fully appraised of what’s going on, and then precisely because of those challenges, to
choose to move into a space of agency.Christiana Figueres DBE, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, architect of the Paris Agreement, and Co-Founder of Global Optimism.

It is in this spirit that we share with you these inspiring stories and solutions—from Canada and around the world—to fuel your imagination towards positive change. 

Doorways Youth Art Jam

The “Doorways” Youth Art Jam is a collaboration between youth artists, The School for Climate and the Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign (OCEC). Born of the frustration in the lack of youth representation in the lead-up to the Ontario election, the project consists of art work inspired by OCEC’s 12 Point Climate Action Plan. It gives shape and voice to the youth’s inspirational vision for our future, based on the connections between climate justice, affordability, a resilient health care system, Indigenous sovereignty, equitable representation, and a conscious economy propelled by hope, not paralyzed by fear. 

Rallying support for the project, organizer and SCALE Roundtable member Andre Forsythe said, “I really want the youth to feel the full support of the climate community.  Lofty a goal as it undoubtedly sounds/is, I want them to feel, and I want it to be seen, that the climate community sets a high bar in how they genuinely show up for youth.” The Doorways project is poised for expansion, due to demand and interest, and currently seeking exhibition opportunities. If you can help, please get in touch!

Creative Climate Leadership

Our friends at the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts have partnered with Julie’s Bicycle to host for the first time in Canada the Creative Climate Leadership program, taking place August 1-5, 2022 at the Barrier Lake Field Station in Kananaskis, Alberta. This is an intensive training opportunity for artists, curators, creative and cultural professionals and policy-makers to deepen their understanding and commitment to climate justice and the ecological crisis. Application deadline: June 19th. 

Arctic Arts Summit

The third Arctic Arts Summit will take place from June 27-29, 2022 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Representatives of Arctic countries and Indigenous Nations of the Circumpolar region will be meeting to tackle the relationship between northern arts and culture, and themes such as land, Indigenous sovereignty, decolonization, climate, activism, and possible futures. SCALE will be watching the summit closely to learn about how we can act in solidarity with communities in the High North who are too often forgotten in discussions about the future of arts and culture in Canada. We encourage you to check out their digital programming which features work from Northern artists and articles related to the theme of this year’s summit. You can subscribe for updates on the summit here.  


#NotTooLate is a recently-launched web project from Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua, to invite newcomers to the climate movement as well as encourage those who are already engaged but weary. With equal emphasis on information, imagination and action, it’s a fount of ideas and inspiration to steer you towards courage and optimism, and keep you there.

What’s Your 2040?

The Australian film 2040 is a fascinating blend of documentary and futurism. Currently available on CBC Gem, the film centers hopeful visions from youth around the world, while highlighting currently available solutions to imagine the very real possibility that humanity could reverse global warming and improve the lives of every living thing in the process. An utterly refreshing alternative to the usual dystopia of cli-fi films, this is a great one to watch with the young people in your life. 

Ban Fossil Fuel Advertising

Though we may not like to acknowledge it, advertising is deeply embedded in our culture and has an outsized influence on cultural norms. Representing over half a million Canadian health professionals, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment recently launched a campaign demanding a tobacco-style ban on fossil fuel advertising, including ads for gasoline, fossil fuel utilities and gas-powered vehicles. The campaign also calls for a robust tackling of greenwashing, and for the full disclosure of health risks of fossil fuel products to the public. Join the campaign here.

What’s next for SCALE?

We’re hiring! Keep your eyes peeled for SCALE’s first full-time job posting, landing in your inbox soon.

Please help us grow our network by forwarding this email and encouraging your colleagues to join our mailing list here. If you would like to become more involved in SCALE—by attending Roundtable meetings, joining a committee, partnering with us on a project, or by any other means—please contact us at info@scale-lesaut.ca. Everyone is needed, and everyone is welcome.

In gratitude, optimism and solidarity, 

SCALE Mission Circle