New alliances show the way
Environmental campaigners Climate Matters Staffordshire have joined forces with the New Vic theatre in Stoke-on-Trent to highlight the threat posed by climate change. Events took place on Monday 12, Wednesday 14 and Friday 16 June at the theatre’s Basford base and was organised as part of the New Vic Borderlines project.
Also supporting the event and the wider campaign to raise awareness were the North Staffordshire branch of Friends of the Earth and Keele University.
Sue Moffat, the director of New Vic Borderlines said at the launch event, held on 12 June, that the campaign was part of the theatre’s ongoing work to “engage with the issues that have an impact on our community”.
She also drew attention to the work the New Vic does to try and ensure its productions are as environmentally friendly as possible, including recycling and reusing props and scenery wherever possible.
The Great Big Green Week
In October 2022, a report produced by the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change committee warned more needs to be done to engage with the public on issues relating to the climate and to encourage them to make behavioural changes.
In response, the Basford event was part of The Great Big Green Week campaign run nationwide by The Climate Coalition, which brings together charities and other groups including the World Wildlife Fund, The National Trust, and the Fairtrade Foundation to campaign on green issues.
The Climate Coalition encourages supporters to contact their local councillors and MPs, calling on them to be more proactive in taking action to support people worldwide suffering from the impact of climate change to prevent the situation becoming worse.
New Vic Borderlines and Climate Matters Staffordshire hope to get this message across through the arts. This includes inviting people to write a ‘letter to the future’ containing their hopes and fears regarding the environment.
The theatre will also be staging the groundbreaking play A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction by Katie Mitchell in partnership with Headlong Theatre Company from 19-24 June.
A need to take action now
Speaking at the launch, former Stoke North MP and patron of Climate Matters Staffordshire Joan Walley said it was time for the government to respond to the climate crisis with policies that are “as ambitious as possible” and that get across “the urgency of taking action now”.
Also speaking at the launch, Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Majid Khan said it was important for people to understand “the impact climate change is having around the world”. Michela Fyson, from Climate Matters Staffordshire, said it was “crucial” that governments and individuals “do something now” to protect the planet for future generations.
These sentiments were echoed by Neil Dawson from Norths Staffordshire Friends of the Earth, who said that awareness raising events were important, as was linking climate change to other issues such as people not being able to afford to heat their homes.
Even more important though, he said, was “what follows on afterwards”, particularly that tackling climate change isn’t about being “good” for one week a year, it’s about “changing the way we behave so we are good for fifty-two weeks a year”.