Change is bad, unless it’s good

Climate%20Change%20FestivalBrum is hosting “the UK’s first Climate Change Festival“. It’s difficult to work out exactly what a climate change festival is, although one can be assured they don’t have the same attitude to climate change as the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival has to erm, Literary.

It’s running for just over a week — Saturday 31st May to Sunday 8th June — which is why I suppose it isn’t Climate Change Week. The plan, as I understand it is to treat the whole thing as an exciting opportunity rather than a “thou shalt not” guilt trip. The festival website puts it thus:

“Every age has its challenge. Ours is climate change. We need to scrap the talk of gloom and sacrifice, and find new ways to create a greener, smarter, fairer and more beautiful city. That’s why we’re starting with a festival.

Birmingham, pioneer of the industrial revolution, will help lead a low-carbon revolution by hosting the UK’s first climate change festival.”

It’s going on in the city centre, with events and displays (even I hear a screening of Nic Gaunt’s Rotunda film – 6th June Centenary Sq-, and maybe, just maybe, Telly Savalas). Here’s a quick few of the highlights (and my personal scores):

Parkour — Victoria and Chamberlain Squares – Sat 31st May: Excitement 4/5 Relevancy to Climate Change  1/5

City Walks and tours — citywide (and Walsall) – all week: Excitement 4/5 Relevancy to Climate Change 5/5

Dr Bike (get your push-bike checked) — Victoria Sq – 31st May, 1st June: Excitement 2/5 Relevancy to Climate Change 4/5

Birmingham’s ‘green’ roofs — meet in Centenary Square – 3rd June: Excitement 4/5 Relevancy to Climate Change 4/5

Seminar “How to minimise waste, reduce your environmental impact and increase profits” — Brindley Place – 4th June: Excitement 1/5 Relevancy to Climate Change 5/5

Low carbon fairground rides — Centenary Sq – 5th-7th June: Excitement 3/5 Relevancy to Climate Change 3/5

Some brilliant stuff (and a lot of stuff) and fine ideals, the full sp at

I worry there’s a tendency to play to the middle-class-hippy (and hence the converted) with this sort of thing “with live world music and dancing on the Saturday,… tai chi, jazz music”. I think there’s been an effort here, tho’. It’s my opinion that a little more of the ideals of this sort of thing could be achieved by showing how stuff (with mainstream appeal) people actually like could work alongside environmental change. Why isn’t there a solar/wind powered rap or rock gig or comedy (the fairground rides are a good stab, but retro stuff isn’t going to appeal to “the kids”)?

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