Bristol Fundraiser for Sustaining All Life

On Sunday we had our fundraising tea party. I was more scared in the run up to that than I am about going to Paris. I felt like a juggler who’s trying to cope with a whole cutlery set as well as a few balls.

It went well! Sixty or so people came, including the ‘Red Notes’ choir.

A song of few words, but to the point: ‘One song, one world, one dance, one chance…’

We displayed the exhibition ‘Bristol Voices on Climate Change’ in the foyer – 14 drop down banners with beautiful portraits and interview, put together (with help) by my ‘Older Women for World Change’ group two years ago (see earlier blog post). Unfortunately it is just as relevant as it ever was.

Bristol’s daily carbon emissions as a cube sitting on Queen’s Square – from our exhibition. By Adam Nieman of Carbon Visuals.

There were cafe tables, with cloths and posies, greenery and posters and photographs on the walls. Finger food was already on plates and volunteer waiters (well, I volunteered them) brought hot drinks.

Such food! Three sorts of samosas, meat, veggie and tuna, made by my Somali neighbours and friends, who’d said to me ‘you support us, so of course we must support you’. (They also gave me an envelope containing £80 collected from the local Somali women’s group.) Sandwiches, scones, cakes, including sugarless gluten free muffins, and a vegan chocolate cake I made myself with a luxurious filling of ripe avocado beaten up with honey, lime juice and cocoa.

We sang about taking action against global warming. Then our regional co-counselling leader welcomed everyone and explained that the purpose of the  meeting wasn’t to give facts and figures about climate change but to introduce the process we’d be offering in our Paris workshops. She had people talk to each other in pairs about things that gave them hope.

I followed, explaining what we hoped to do in Paris. I said we all hated to think about climate change. Some of us managed to put it out of our minds and some of us compulsively thought about it, but we still hated it. I invited people to speak out about that for up to three minutes.

Two young women spoke honestly about how their fears about the future stopped them focusing on living, and how much they hated and resented that. An activists said he was even more frightened of the future social effects of global warming than of its effects on the climate. He talked about the increase in conflict and wars, the  migrations of people that are already happening and will increase. An African woman said how disappointed she’d been by Bristol as the ‘Green Capital’. In her village in Guinea, she said, the environment was sacred – but not here. She felt more at home in this gathering than she had at any time since she came to Bristol. After another ‘mini session’ and another song we held our auction.

The beautiful things we were offered were not made by professionals. They were at least as good as things I’ve seen displayed for high prices in boutique shops and art galleries. The people who made these are modest, everyday people who probably underestimate their fantastic creative powers. I bid for several things – prints, a painted Tshirt, a painting and a crocheted bag. I ended up with a beautiful pair of crocheted earrings.

Now on to Paris. I shall take the earrings.

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