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Chart2050 is an attempt to reflect on the past two hundred years of animal advocacy to provide a springboard to think of the next thirty. It takes as its inspiration the six-point manifesto issued by the grassroots British movement called the Chartists (see below), who pushed for political reform in the 1830s and 1840s. The logo we’ve created highlights the “ar”—or “animal rights”—that we would argue needs to be embedded in any vision of a resilient, diverse, and equitable future. The map—the “chart”—by which we see our way forward can be encapsulated in its acronym: Chart the change for Human–Animal Relations Toward 2050.

Why the Chartists?

A Notice for a Chartist Meeting

We’re inspired by the Chartists in part because they were near contemporaries of Richard “Humanity Dick” Martin. In 1838, this group of working-class reformers initiated a program to reshape governance in the United Kingdom. They named their six-point manifesto the People’s Charter—and it galvanized millions with its call for a more inclusive and representative public sphere. It took many decades, but eventually all but one of the Chartists’ stated goals was achieved. It is their spirit and determination that chart2050 evokes.

Why Chart2050?

Why is it necessary now to chart the next thirty years? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that this decade is the period beyond which it will be impossible to hold ground-level temperature rise to 1.5°C above the levels it was when Richard Martin was alive. Currently, Earth is on a trajectory of 2°C or even 3°C of global heating by 2100—a catastrophe for human and nonhuman societies. The first two years of this decade have seen a zoonotic pandemic; unprecedented wild fires, droughts, and flooding; and ever-growing numbers of climate refugees. The accompanying collapse of biodiversity, political and social destabilization, and grotesque inequities in who is suffering and who is to blame all point to a need for another people’s charter—a charter for 2050.

What Is Chart2050?

Chart2050 begins in 2022, with a six-part audio documentary on the origins, passage, and aftermath of Martin’s Act. Over the course of 2022, we’ll publish original interviews and essays from leading activists and scholars, and resources and further reading about the Act, its times, and the questions it raises.

Parallel with this, we’ll highlight other events and organizations reflecting on Martin’s Act, including the UK Centre for Animal Law (A-Law), whose conference on the legacy of Martin’s Act on July 18–22 will feature long-time animal activist Kim Stallwood’s Tom Regan Lecture on July 20, and who will reprise the lecture at the British Library in the autumn of 2022. In 2023, we aim to produce more audio documentaries to help provoke conversation and debate, and share unique contributions from around the world on the past, present, and future of the animal advocacy movement.

Beyond that, as you can read in Your chart2050, chart2050 is an invitation for your community, wherever it may be, to develop a vision for the future of human–animal relations, and engage others in it.

Advancing animal advocacy through intellectual and artistic expression