• Gordon MacLellan

Celebrating on screen

celebrating on screen:

The CelebrationEarth! films

About 3 weeks ago, after much soul-searching we finally decided that we would have to cancel our planned celebration in St Albans Cathedral. Since March we had been holding onto hope, finding ways forward: reducing, retrenching, planning and replanning, determined, if we could, to still deliver a physical occasion. Until, at the last, we knew that we had trimmed so much off our celebration tree that there was not much left and that we needed a different cultivation system to keep it growing. So, with much sorrow, we said goodbye to St Albans for now (but hopefully, we will be back!).

filming the Durga Opera

Then something wonderful happened. Our friends at Off the Fence who we had already been working with on some short project films, stepped in. In a whirlwind of remarkable creativity they sorted a studio space (the exquisite Sands Films Studio in Rotherhithe, London), we rallied our immediate core of speakers and a day of filming interviews was arranged. That then led to a marathon of editing so that after filming on a Saturday, a set of films was ready for viewing by the following Wednesday.

Film 7: Dr Husna Ahmad talks about Islam and Nature

Now, out of the sorrow of losing St Albans has grown a challenging, inspiring, engaging (we hope) set of films. Mixing conversations with project films, each of these short films explores an aspect of faith, creativity and inspiration and how this can inform a relationship with nature and a determination to act on behalf of the planet

Not content with turning out these 8 films, Off the Fence also produced an edited overview that has been shown several times now on the new EarthX TV channel where a range of exciting environmental films are being broadcast

Our films are available for viewing on Vimeo and we invite you to make a hot drink, assemble some biscuits or perhaps a piece of cake or relevant Tasty Snack, snuggle down and watch. There are 8 films varying from 12 to 30 minutes in length. You can get an overview of the full set here or the links below will take you to the appropriate page on Vimeo

1. Why Celebrate Earth?

Martin Palmer, FaithInvest and

Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/President, RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462130052

Martin and Miranda discuss the urgent need for a new, celebratory approach between Faith Groups, the Arts, and Conservationists. We join Martin Palmer – also an Anglican lay preacher-- in his own church in North Stoke, England, where he holds a funeral for the 160 species that have been declared extinct in the past decade.

What is the role of ritual in caring for our common home? How do we overcome our feelings of anxiety and paralysis over environmental destruction? Martin shows us one example of how Faith and Ritual can help us come to grips with our responsibilities as members of our common home.

Find out more

· Visit our Friends and Supporters page

· Martin Palmer and FaithInvest: https://www.faithinvest.org/

· RSPB: https://www.rspb.org.uk/

2. Christian Faith and the Environment

Martin Palmer, FaithInvest and

Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/ President RSPB

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462126740

In Ethiopia, Church grounds protect what little remains of Ethiopia’s highland forests. The ideas of “sacred” and “protection” are explored in a lively discussion between Miranda and Martin. Are Faith Groups acting too passively in their protection of nature? And are conservation organisations too scientific and dry in their conservation work? Does nature exist solely to serve humanity? Or does nature have its own right to exist, independent of humankind?

Find out more:

· Visit our Friends and Supporters page

· FaithInvest: https://www.faithinvest.org/

· RSPB: https://www.rspb.org.uk/

· Forest Churches: Church Forests

Film 3: filming trees dancing can be easier said than done

3. The Arts and the Environment

Gordon MacLellan, Storyteller Creeping Toad and

Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/ President RSPB

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462144937

The third pillar of Celebration Earth! is Art—poetry, music, dance and theatre. As Arts director for Celebration Earth, Gordon exposes a flaw in current environmental messaging. Shouting doom-laden, finger waving commands that tell us how to travel, recycle, and generally order us around, Gordon offers a different approach.

The arts encourage us to find our own connection to nature, one that can be deep-rooted inside our own personalities. He encourages stillness, and listening, and even playful creative activities. He argues that people are more likely to change their behaviours once their hearts have been moved to change.

Find out more

· Gordon MacLellan: https://creepingtoad.com/

· Stone and Water: https://stoneandwaterblog.wordpress.com/

· RSPB: https://www.rspb.org.uk/

4. Yoga and the Environment

Sangita Lakhanpal, Artist and Chantal Elkin, Beliefs and Values WWF

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462147655

Sangita recently completed her opera based on the traditional Hindu myth of the Divine Goddess, Durga. Performed with audience participation, a short film version of the Opera allows viewers to experience some of the powerful emotions that participants feel as they sing and dance. The Durga Opera is rooted in traditional Hindu song-cycles and uses ancient Sanskrit mantras. The dance utilises yoga positions that anyone can learn.

Sangita explains how singing mantras can reattune the singer’s relationship with their body and with the natural world. Sangita wants us all to reconnect to a feminine divine force that has been overlooked in recent years, but whose presence she believes is vital if we are to save our planet.

Find out more

· Sangita and Shaktileela: http://shaktileela.com/

· Chantal Elkin, Beliefs and Values programme: https://www.wwf.org.uk/

Film 5: in Cambodia Buddhist Monks prepare to ordain forest trees

5. Buddhism and the Environment

Chantal Elkin, Beliefs and Values WWF and Martin Palmer, Faithinvest

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462133079

In Cambodia and Thailand, forests are being cut down at a faster rate than even in Brazil’s rainforest. In order to combat the deforestation, Buddhist monks “ordain” trees as living monks. This prevents loggers from cutting the trees down, as no Buddhist logger wishes to risk the disapproval of their community or indeed their own karmic security. As a conservationist, Chantal worked closely with the Cambodian monks and was deeply moved by their philosophy.

Buddhist belief in the inter-connectedness of all life means that care and compassion for the natural world is at the heart of every action and every thought.

Find out more

· Visit our Friends and Supporters page

· Martin Palmer and FaithInvest: https://www.faithinvest.org/

· Chantal Elkin, Beliefs and Values programme: Beliefs and Values (got to foot of page)

· WWF: https://www.wwf.org.uk/

· Cambodian Forest Monks story, here

Film 6: Tanya Steele describes the 8 Billion Voices project

6. Eight Billion Voices (World Wildlife Fund)

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive WWF and Martin Palmer, Faithinvest

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462138826

As the Chief Executive of WWF in the United Kingdom, Tanya believes passionately in hope. Throughout her deep and thoughtful discussion with Martin, Tanya explores how it is possible to find hope even when the future looks more bleak than ever.

Tanya launches a new WWF-backed project, Eight Billion, that aims to build an online mass-movement of Faith Groups, Conservationists, Artists and Nature Enthusiasts. By coming together, and sharing their stories and films online, they will inspire change. The Environment is after all, the greatest untold story of our time. Eight Billion offers a new opportunity to tell that story in all its range and variety.

Find out more:

· Visit our Friends and Supporters page

· Martin Palmer and FaithInvest: https://www.faithinvest.org/

· Tanya Steel and WWF: https://www.wwf.org.uk/

· 8Billion project: website coming!

7. Muslim Faith and the Environment

Dr. Husna Ahmad OBE and Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/ President RSPB

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462142076

Beginning with a reading from the Qur’an by Faisil, Dr. Husna’s son, this discussion explores how Muslims care for “creation”. Muslims believe that we are all being tested during our time on Earth, and taking care of creation forms an essential part of our duties. She explains initiatives such as taking a “Green Hajj”, and also explains how Politicians often benefit from divisions but Faith Groups and the Environment often benefit from unity. Dr. Ahmad provides viewers with a powerful perspective that is not heard often enough from one of the world’s most philosophical religions.

Find out more

· Dr Ahmed’s work: https://thefrf.org/

· Husna’s work with Global One: https://globalone.org.uk

· IFEES (is becoming Eco Islam): https://www.ifees.org.uk/about/about-ifees/

· RSPB: https://www.rspb.org.uk/

8. Faith Long Term Plans

Alison Prout INCR and Martin Palmer, FaithInvest

Link to film: https://vimeo.com/462137135

“Is this beautiful relationship between Faith, the Environment and the Arts just a one-night stand?” Martin and Alison explore how many groups see time differently. Politicians think in election cycles, and Faith Groups think in generations. How can we be sure that we all commit to action in the long term? Allison announces the Faith Groups commitment to develop Faith Long-term Plans to manage their assets and resources, from their investments, schools and hospitals to their land, purchasing power and influence—to help create an environmentally sustainable future.

Find out more

· Visit our Friends and Supporters page

· Martin Palmer and FaithInvest: https://www.faithinvest.org/

· INCR and the Faith Longterm Plans: https://incrworld.org/

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