Thank you to everyone who participated in our Earth Day online programme on 22nd April.
Below are videos of all of the pre-recorded contributions, with links to further information about the contributors. You are welcome to use any of these conference materials, we simply ask that you credit the author of the material, and Footsteps for commissioning it.
You can also read some reflections on the themes and ideas that emerged during the event.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet officer for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council – gave an introduction to the day.
Ruth Tetlow, chair of Footsteps – welcomed everyone to the event.
Rabbi Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, representing Birmingham Faith Leaders Group – gave a faith reflection on the theme of a sabbath for the Earth.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority – extract from a webinar reflecting on lessons we can learn from the current crisis.
Vari McLuskie, Plum Village UK – led a guided meditation and reflection on self-awareness and gratitude (below).
Music, Arts & Poetry as a source of strength
The Choir with No Name Birmingham – gave a rendition of Mr Blue Sky by ELO, performed at Symphony Hall in 2018.
Beatfreeks, an organisation promoting empowerment through the arts – worked with two young poet-activists to produce original poems for this event:
- Matt Sowerby, poet and climate activist – performed Reduce Reuse Recycle.
- Millie Gould, Member of Youth Parliament and poet – performed Mother Nature’s Rest Day.
Moving Souls Dance, an organisation producing participatory arts projects – presented the work of two artists in response to Earth Day:
- Anna Lewis – presented designs for the Earth in Crisis costume
- Subash Viman Gorania, Morph Dance Company– performed a Salutation to the Sun with his young son
Around the World
Jill Carr-Harris, Jai Jagat 2020 – reflected on the Jai Jagat global walk, and the impact of climate change and Covid-19 in India and Armenia. Jai Jagat UK is supporting the initiative from this country.
Simbi Folarin – gave a personal account of visiting relatives in Zimbabwe where cyclones are being worsened by climate change, causing devastation.
Cities Taking the Lead
Tiffany Lam, New Economics Foundation – reflected on cities taking the lead on climate action, and the intersection between climate impacts and other inequalities.
Remi Pagani, cabinet member for Climate Action at Geneva City Council – shared initiatives to cut fossil fuel use that Geneva has put in place as a city.
Mike Berners-Lee, academic and popular-science writer on sustainable living – reflected on the challenges and opportunities for cities in taking climate action.
Lessons for Birmingham
Chris Martin, Footsteps’ representative on Birmingham City Council’s R20 taskforce – shared plans the taskforce are making to help Birmingham achieve its Climate Emergency commitments.
Simbi Fourlain, Climate Action Network West Midlands – shared CANWM’s work on connecting people taking climate action in Birmingham.
Sanaa Pasha, Birmingham Youth Strike for Climate – shared ideas for action from the climate strikers.
John Nightingale, Footsteps – offered a poem Corona, reflecting on the current moment from his Christian perspective.
The Waters family and Toby Lewis – played us out with a soundscape to accompany a moment of awe as reduced pollution offers a view of the Himalayas not seen for 30 years.
Some suggestions of further viewing / reading, and of relevant organisations, offered by our participants during the event:
Hans Rosling – Don’t Panic: the facts about population
Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth – re-envisioning the economy as “a system that meets all our needs without exhausting the planet”.
Greenhouse Gases and the Emerging Climate Emergency by Richard Tuckett
Shamanic faith perspective on climate action.
Reflections on veganism from a Quaker faith perspective.
Faith for the Climate – a network to encourage, inspire and equip faith communities in their work on climate change.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth – local branch of the organisation that campaigns for the environment.
West Midlands Sustainable Schools Network -a network that brings together organisations and individuals who support work on sustainable development in West Midland Schools.
Follow-up to the event
A summary of the key points was fed into Birmingham City Council’s Route to Zero Taskforce, on which Footsteps is represented.
A series of follow-up workshops were held under the banner Earth, Climate & Birmingham. Summaries of the workshops and conclusions are available:
- Just Transition – Communities
- Climate – Perspectives of Young People
- Learning from Covid-19
- Just Transition – Funding the Solutions
Birmingham Faith Leaders group wrote to Cllr Waseem Zaffar following the event, and received a reply. Both parties have kindly agreed to have their correspondence published here.