End of the Pier show
The End of the Pier Show and the planned follow up event are the work of a small group of local climate justice activists, Little Blue Dot. Activist and artist Cathy Dunbar is design and artwork director for the events.
The first event featured a number of inspirational speakers, performers and activists:
- Singer songwriter Rachel Caldwell, who is a frequent performer with the Aldeburgh Young Musicians and Love Music, Hate Racism. Rachel performed songs specially written for the occasion.
- Activist, singer songwriter Citrus George, who performed his own work, including a set featuring his young daughter Heidi. The song they performed, ‘Now is the Time’, was written with Amy and Dan Ellis and children from the Mayfields School in Cambridge.
- Campaigner and Cambridge resident Nicky Glegg spoke about the current campaign to protect St Matthew’s Piece. Nicky is a member of Friends of St Matthew’s Piece, which is fighting a development that threatens trees, public open space and the tranquillity of the only park in the most densely populated ward in Cambridge. In sharing this story, Nicky also reflected on some key lessons learnt by Petersfield campaigners over 40 years of protecting their local area and battling against the greedy interests of big business and the carelessness of our local Councils.
- Susan Buckingham spoke on the links between social (particularly gender) inequality and environmental problems, a subject she has researched and written about for many years. Sue is also an activist, was a trustee for the Women’s Environmental Network for 10 years, and is currently the elected Environment Officer for the Cambridge Labour Party, working for the urgently needed response to the climate emergency, which will also reduce social inequality in the city. Her name may also be familiar to TCC members from her presentation at True Tales for Change: A Project for a Fairer Future.
- Marion Leeper, a well-known Cambridge storyteller, and previous Bard of Cambridge. Marion is a local storyteller who uses stories to help us understand our connection with the planet and climate change, and how working together always saves the day. She brought a story to the Pier about survival from the Mitchell Islands, themselves threatened by rising sea levels.
- Elena Moses, who belongs to Trust the People, a movement that began in Extinction Rebellion (XR) but now extends far beyond and is committed to helping build a genuine democracy from the bottom up. To mark the closing of the End of the Pier Show, Elena was invited to hold a People’s Assembly on Midsummer Common. This was a very fitting place, because Commons are a legacy of land not only used for grazing animals but also historically where people gathered to talk about matters communal and national. Participants in the assembly we were asked to identify ‘what is good and not good about living in the different areas of Cambridge, given the current crisis’.
- Long-time Cambridge resident and activist Ian Ralls, co-runs the Cambridge branch of Friends of the Earth. Ian spoke about the successful campaign against the Waterbeach waste incinerator and the ongoing campaign about the Milton sewage works being moved to the greenbelt. The local branch is very involved in supporting others to become involved in Local issues.
- Kit Westlake, who co-runs the Cambridge branch of Greenpeace, led a group of walking, talking elements of nature – the ‘Greenpeace superheroes’. These elements can often be seen at different public events running information stalls and activities.
- A reading of Dr Zeus’s The Lorax by two students from the Cambridge Schools Eco Council. The Eco Council was formed in February 2019 and organises the youth strikes and advocates for the youth voice in climate activism, the council has members from schools across Cambridge, unable to protest during the Covid outbreak they have been running a monthly online event .
- Artist and activist Cathy Dunbar has been involved in community art for many years. She is also a member of Movement Against Racism, a local group which keeps the issues of racism and justice in the public eye, through events, monthly marches and education. She was a long-time coordinator of the Strawberry fair (www.strawberry-fair.org.uk) arts area Eastern Bloco, which used art to highlight the issues of the day. Following the End of the Pier Show, Cathy was invited by Oblique Arts (www.oblique-arts.com) to make some art for an online gallery ‘Post Covid-19 Exhibition’. The pieces of art ‘Earth Science’ and ‘The End of the Pier’ are two bits of a triptych she is producing. She also shared the first event on the Pivotal website https://www.pivotal.org.uk/galleries
A key aim of the End of the Pier events is to attract people in and around Cambridge City who do not normally engage with environmental issues – people who may want to be active but do not feel empowered to be, or who are too busy coping with day-to-day life to focus on problems that seem further away. The events:
- Raise awareness of the impending nature of the climate crisis
- Highlight the fact that those who contribute least to climate crisis suffer its worst impacts
- Focus on the need for a just transition
- Help people to take collective action on local and wider environmental issues
The message is that individual action on its own will not solve the crisis, especially among those who contribute little to it anyway. But if we act together, we can make a difference. And, as we unite to combat the climate, we also create an opportunity to envision a more just and sustainable world.