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Our Faith, Our Planet, Our Action Conference 2019

 

This week Manchester Cathedral hosted the annual Our Faith Our Planet Our Action Conference, which saw the coming together of people across all faiths and communities to discuss ongoing and future action towards climate change within Manchester. 

 

The evening started with a wonderful selection of food supplied by Open Kitchen MCR, a waste food social enterprise, which transforms food into delicious meals and snacks, that would have otherwise gone to waste.

 

The conference began with a welcome from the Dean of Manchester, Rogers Govender, who discussed the need to ‘recharge and re-aware’ ourselves with climate change, and to help inspire those in the community who may not be currently engaged with the subject. He highlighted the importance of us working together to mobilise as many people as possible across the city to get change to happen. 

 

Nine year old Maya Minocha then gave a passionate and motivating speech which underlying theme was to encourage people ‘to play their part’. She discussed her recent inspiration from the BBC documentary War on Plastic and encouraged people to watch the programme to see what can be done about the huge plastic problem we are facing. She highlighted examples of best practice across other European cities, such as the plastic bottle deposit schemes happening in Germany and elsewhere. She closed her speech with a poignant quote from Ghandi, ‘the world has enough for everyone’s needs, not everyone’s greed’, prompting the audience to think about how they can act urgently to the pressing crisis. 

 

A keynote speech was given by Emma Krijnen-Kemp from Manchester City Council who is the project manager for Keep Manchester Tidy. She stressed the importance of litter picking across the city, and the benefits it can bring to individuals and communities - these included obvious environmental benefits, but also health, social and wildlife benefits. Once again, the importance of working together in tackling climate change and the issues surrounding it was emphasised in Emma’s speech, ‘we need to work together to keep Manchester tidy’. Emma also mentioned the upcoming Litter Picking event happening on the 29th July, 1.30pm, in the area around Great Ducie Street - for more info or to sign up email saintgabriel@talktalk.net

 

The evening then broke into four round-tables, each discussing a big environmental issue in Manchester. Plastic, food production and procurement, stopping big organizations investing in fossil fuels, inspiring and educating young people were all discussed. PlasticfreeGM, Groundwork and Christin Aid were all represented and lead the various discussions. There was a positive response to these challenges with tips and useful organisations being shared among the audience. One inspiring story was shared by Kalwant Gil-Faci, who with her family uses an allotment to grow food for a homeless shelter and was looking to inspire others to follow suit. Although a very special act was being done, she remarked that it is sad that she has to put so much effort into what is such a basic provision, is this not something the government should be providing? This theme is one that recurred throughout the evening. 

The Discussions drew to a close, the evening was recapped and the audience asked what they had learnt. A poignant assertion was made. There was an awareness that the audience were already in some ways engaged in the various issues discussed and were willing to put time and effort into finding, less plastic, more ethical, lower carbon alternatives. What was concluded by many, is the need for systemic change within organisations and to mainstream these alternatives to allow everyone to have an easier choice. To do the right thing should surely not have to be so hard. 

If you would like a similar event for your faith community please get in contact. We would like to hear your communities experiences with Climate Change and environmental issues, and what we at the Manchester Climate Change Agency can do to help you make a positive change in your community and beyond. Email - info@manchesterclimate.com