In a world where the most successful art rakes in huge amounts of money and ends up in the hands of an elite few, creativity for the masses can seem very separate from the world of ‘high art’. It can feel like a bubble disconnected from everyday issues, including struggles for climate justice, but Platform Earth is here to change that.
With a cultural programme that brings together a coalition of artists, scientists and environmental activists, Platform Earth inspire support for marine carbon capture through changing how we use and view the art world. Read on to learn more.
What is Platform Earth
Platform Earth is an environmental arts charity bridging the gap between culture, science and government. In practical terms, they provide a platform for artists to create carbon-negative art, which is then used to fund marine carbon capture projects. They work with high-profile artists to harness the value of their work and redirect it into restoring marine habitats through environmental projects.
They also engage the public through exhibitions and events, often inviting scientists, creatives and activists to share more about caring for our oceans and policy progress in this area.
How does it work?
Platform Earth sees artists as agents of change. They invite a range of highly respected artists to participate in exhibitions in aid of the environment, aiming to offset the UK art world’s carbon emissions by restoring marine habitats and improving carbon capture.
Artists they work with include Es Devlin, Marina Abramovic, Brian Eno, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Ben Okri, Cornelia Parker, and Haroon Mirza. They regularly produce environmental art exhibitions, installations, talks and other events to educate and raise awareness alongside fundraising for their environmental work.
They also raise funds directly by selling work from these artists; aiming to change narratives on the production and consumption of art. One example is 2022’s CARBON collection, in which a group of leading artists both created new work using carbon-negative mediums and donated existing work from their studios. New works were made with Air Ink, an ink developed by Graviky Labs, with MIT, from the exhaust fumes of mopeds in Deli, India, alongside recycled paper and FSC-approved wooden frames.
They then use the money raised from sales to address critical environmental concerns, specifically selecting to fund projects that are able to capture huge amounts of carbon.
Carbon capture through ocean restoration
The funds that Platform Earth raise are directed to environmental programmes, working with scientists and expert partners to restore marine environments. In particular, their projects work to conserve and regenerate kelp, seagrass and other natural carbon sinks in marine environments. All projects are developed in close consultation with local communities to encourage local ownership and participation in tackling the climate crisis.
They focus on the most effective marine carbon capture initiatives, capable of drawing down 20 times more carbon than land-based alternatives. As someone who has looked at the incredible drawdown potential of seaweed and regenerative aquaculture, it’s exciting to find an initiative harnessing creativity to invest in natural restoration.
Sussex Kelp Restoration
Populations of kelp have decreased by 96% in some areas of the British Coast. In particular, kelp stocks in Sussex currently stand at 4% of their range in 1987, due to the impact of trawling practices, storm damage and sediment dumping in coastal waters. Platform Earth’s partnership with the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project seeks to restore this kelp to historic levels.
Funding supports new groundbreaking research on the Sussex Coast, pioneering cutting-edge work in the restoration of this area, aiming to return the habitat to its original size. Successful restoration of the entire area is estimated to be able to capture 800 tonnes of CO2 and promote biodiversity and population of fish stocks, which can also boost local fisheries and economies. Plus, the seaweed also acts as a barrier to storm waves, mitigating wave erosion by 70%.
Funds from the sale of the CARBON Collection in 2022 have been directed towards ecosystem restoration and carbon sequestration in the Solent.
The Solent once hosted abundant oyster reefs, salt marshes, seagrass meadows and kelp forests, but has been subject to consistent degradation. There’s now a unique opportunity to restore these fragmented habitats at an ecosystem scale. If restored, this could see a revitalisation of the Solent waterway, both benefitting fishermen and other local inhabitants, as well as working as a powerful tool to convince the government of the power of large-scale blue carbon ecosystem restoration.
Mangrove Restoration, Honduras
Mangroves are incredible when it comes to carbon drawdown, environmental benefits and coastal community protection. They’re also one of the most threatened habitats in the world.
In 2023 Platform Earth will be supporting a groundbreaking mangrove restoration project in the Bay of Fonseca, Honduras. The project will cover over 2000 hectares, sequestering carbon whilst also increasing biodiversity. Platform Earth’s partners also pride themselves on putting the local community at the forefront of their projects. Poverty is one of the main drivers of deforestation, so the project will also prioritise sustainable income and resources for community use.
Sussex IFCA Trawling Exclusion By-Law
Platform Earth also supported the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority in the passing of a landmark near-shore trawling exclusion bylaw. Signed off in March 2021, just before another season of trawling, the bylaw legislates that trawling is illegal within the 300km2 protected area off the coast of West Sussex.
Following the successful implementation of the bylaw and trawling ban, there are early signs of kelp recovery along the coast of Sussex, with new stands finding a foothold once more and bringing hope for the return of kelp beds. Platform Earth is supporting tracking the progress of this restoration.
All in all, Platform Earth represents an exciting development in the future of creativity. Not only does it show that there are methods for art to be created in more conscious ways, it shows the potential of using art as a force for good, rather than a commodity for the rich. The future of creativity is rich!