2Degrees Festival: insightful people sharing a common love and respect of our interdependence with the Earth

By Lorelle Mykoo

On Thursday 15th June 2Degrees Festival put on a beautiful evening of poetry, audio, visual media and discussions. We were there for an evening of stories on climate justice.

I have to admit I walked in there not knowing the answer to the question ‘‘what is Climate Justice?”  And so I quickly Googled it: it’s the term that brings to light how global warming is a political and ethical subject, not just an environmental issue. It’s a term that allows people to see the relation between climate change and human rights and our duties to our planet. I never knew such a term existed, but when you think of it, how could it not? It’s not new information to any of us that climate change is due to the effect of humans impacting on nature. And there are still indigenous populations living in harmony with the planet at the heart of where some of the most devastating effects are taking place.

The event took place in Toynbee Studios, East London. When the evening was introduced, the presenters promised that we the audience would be encouraged on various occasions to share our thoughts and beliefs in the hope OF sparking up a healthy conversation on the subject. We were cleverly captured by the enticing words of Selina Nwulu and Sai Murray in a collaborative poem, which left you feeling almost too aware of our unconscious acts of negligence on the earth. The audience was totally rapt by the two speakers, they highlighted everyday things we depend on that derive from the earth’s natural elements  such as oil, and how when we take ourselves out of the equation, petrol running out is not just a problem for us individuals, but for our community and on a huge scale for the Earth. They encouraged us to look at how the rising cost of most worldly goods isn’t just a problem for us, but a problem for the world as surges in price can only mean one thing - a once abundant commodity has become a rare commodity.

What was special about the evening was that we, the audience, unconscious partakers in the destruction of our planet were never made to feel bad or guilty for our unwitting negligence. We were only encouraged to do more than we already do, to set off small chains of change. We were tickled with ideas and inspired to want to contribute our time and efforts to preserve the earth. They resurrected the collective ‘we’ within us all, as a community of like-minds we were encouraged to not be consumed with powerlessness (remove and pain of the) or overwhelmed by knowledge of all the selfish human acts that damage the earth but to ‘be the change we want to see happen’ as Mahatma Ghandi put so poignantly.  We as an audience answered each other's questions surrounding climate justice and how we as individuals can do small things to contribute to the great movement of change that is rising to the surface of our political agenda.

I will definitely go along next year to the 2 Degrees Festival, it’s a great place to go to learn and be educated about our planet and the relationship we have with it. Whether you are already a strong agent of change or you are new to the idea of protecting our planet, this is the place to go to meet enthusiastic and insightful people who all share a common love and respect for our interdependence with the earth.

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