The Green Art Lab Alliance (gala) is a diverse alliance initiated by artists and cultural practitioners seeking to address the breadth of environmental problems that beset the world. In light of the extreme urgency of our global crisis, the organizations that comprise the alliance have come together in order to bolster and amplify our manifold efforts at securing a sustainable future.
gala asserts that a life-sustaining environment is a basic human right that must be fought for, upheld, and defended. We stand united to foster a sustainable future for the people and our shared ecosystem. This entails respect for biodiversity as well as sensitivity to the depth of interdependencies that inform the notion of ecology.
We believe in the power of solidarity, international knowledge exchange and genuine and fair collaboration in order to demand and build new systems that serve people and planet in an equal and balanced way, recognising the problematic underlying legacies that have informed our current world, including colonial, patriarchal and geopolitical histories of power.
This means we reject extractivist practices at all times. Reciprocity is key in our practice and applies not only to ourselves, but extends to artists, participants and other guests we invite to our programs. This is particularly important as some of us are based in indigenous territory. Our aim is to democratise knowledge, making space for different knowledge systems, not just the dominant one(s).
In pursuing our advocacies, gala seeks to harness the best practices from diverse fields and knowledge-bases spanning heritage and innovation, social and natural science, indigenous cosmologies, as well as community organizing and political activism, to formulate interdisciplinary collaborative approaches for creative and process-driven problem-solving, awareness-raising, and capacity-building campaigns.
As a gathering of varied creative agencies, we collectively take up the challenge of envisioning alternatives and of broadening our communal imagination of what is possible, whilst taking our own environmental footprint into account. We make collective efforts to continuously improve our own practice regarding the following practical matters:
- Energy: we commit to using green sources of energy, are aware of our energy suppliers, we monitor, understand and reduce our energy consumption and where possible, move away from fossil fuels. To start understanding our carbon footprint, we make use of the online carbon calculators as developed by partner Julie’s Bicycle.
- Financial services: we switch to ethical banks, do not have any investments in mining, fossil fuels industries, or work with pension funds or insurance companies that have. We do not accept donations or funds from fossil fuel, weapon or mining industries.
- Inhouse: we work with non-chemical and biodegradable products, and promote the usage of non-toxic and alternative materials to our artists. Materials that don’t damage the environment, nor our human health. We use recycled paper and keep printing to a minimum. We use the Future Materials Bank to identify sustainable materials for artists.
- Waste: we take a radical and proactive stance in relation to waste. We work towards a situation where materials circulate and the word ‘waste’ becomes obsolete. We acknowledge that this is an ongoing learning process which we actively pursue. We compost, recycle and up-cycle. Innovative and revived technologies allow us to develop opportunities, ideas and new habits in relation to the materials we use.
- Water: we install rainwater collectors where possible, we don’t pollute our waterways and monitor our water consumption. And we like to drink lots of it!
- Food: For public events involving catering we make conscious and vegetarian decisions regarding our suppliers. We buy local, where possible, organic. We actively reduce our food waste, and keep a compost. Where possible we grow our own foods, we forage and share. When growing our own foods we do not use herbicides and pesticides.
- Mobility: we promote cycling, share cars where possible and opt for the train for distances over land. We stimulate and guide our artists and other visitors in making environmental choices when they visit our organisations, by providing them with information on the best travel options to reach us.
- Community Engagement: By creating a more biodiverse, healthier and more sustainable environment for ourselves we aspire to create momentum for our neighbourhoods to take on similar attitudes. The more people join in this, the easier it becomes to share and circulate ideas and resources. This will lead to an upward spiralling succession of events transforming our environment into a healthier place for both human and non-human actors.
As a network that spans diverse backgrounds and contexts, gala holds a deep regard for cultural diversity, autonomy, transparency, accountability, and mutual trust among its collaborators. We believe diversity gives rise to ecological space for give and take, for mutuality and reciprocity.
We all strive to be open organisations that act, communicate, share and grow as a small part of a bigger whole. We aim to be reflective, critical and transformative and adhere to the values of freedom of expression and interdependence. We encourage our surrounding network to do the same: we welcome artists, scientists, partner organisations, volunteers and the general public to reach out and get involved, to explore, to share work and to exchange knowledge and ideas with us in the creation of an interconnected community for alternative culture. In the same breath, we express our solidarity with the movements that have initiated and sustained the struggle for environmental justice thus far, and invite any and all creatives who seek to uphold the same, to live up to and sign up to our manifesto.