Footsteps held its second Tread Lightly Conference at the Birmingham Progressive Synagogue on Sunday November 19th.
Nearly 50 people attended to hear presentations about: how faith inspires action; work with young people; Footsteps plans for the coming year; and the of launch our Footsteps Supporters Group. Lively table discussions took place between contributions. This year’s Tread Lightly followed our first conference at the Birmingham Central Mosque last year.
It was a very full afternoon, so to give a flavour of the conference, this report includes the presentations and videos used by the presenters. If you only have time to view one of the presentations, we recommend the Small Footsteps video made this summer:
Our conference began with a welcome by Ruth Tetlow, chair of the Footsteps steering group, who reminded us that Footsteps was only two years old (formed after the Walk of Witness through the centre of Birmingham in November 2015 in the run up to the Paris Climate Summit). Ruth gave a short report of Footsteps activities over the past year.
Faith in Action
- Rabbi Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, shared with us Jewish teaching on the environment.
- John Christophers explained how his Zero Carbon House was a statement of his Christian faith.
- Kamran Fasil introduced the imam sustainability training programme that he and the BAHU Trust has run for local imams. We also saw a short video of the imam training taking place.
- Rev John Nightingale brought us up to date with the COP 23 climate conference in Bonn that had just finished and the GreenFaith Walk on Earth Gently statement. GreenFaith delivered this statement by bicycle to the COP 23 negotiators, and we were encouraged to endorse it at our discussion tables.
Working with Young People
- Steve Baines introduced the video of Small Footsteps: a five-day summer school that took place in the grounds of Fircroft College. Steve emphasised the experience of the volunteers and teachers which had been built up over the past two years.
- Chris Martin, Footsteps secretary, outlined Footsteps’ plans to develop a Small Footsteps resource kit that will help other groups and communities to run faith-based environmental activities for young people.
- Debbie Needle told us about the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust’s ‘Natural Environment’ programme of work with young people.
- We also heard about poverty and the impact of climate change in Malawi from a Young Quaker who will be spending a ‘gap year’ in Malawi
Footsteps’ plans for the future & the launch of the Footsteps Supporters Group
- James Bradbury, Peace Hub management committee, explained the co-operation between Footsteps and Peace Hub (Quaker Peace & Justice Centre) and the benefits that Peace Hub gained from the relationship.
- Di Littler, Footsteps steering group, informed us about speakers and topics available from Footsteps and plans to broaden the range.
- Finally, the Footsteps Supporters Group was formally launched – the aim is to build a network of individuals and organisations that share Footsteps’ vision for a low carbon future. Individuals, faith groups and green organisations are all welcome to join.
We concluded with feedback on ideas for future Footsteps activities; and a short period of silent reflection in the manner of Quaker worship. In all, a very full and productive afternoon!