• Gordon MacLellan

Faces, voices, stories on film

Faces, voices, stories on film

CelebrationEarth! films on youtube

The Durga Opera

In September, working with Off The Fence film company, WWF-UK and RSPB, CelebrationEarth! released a series of short films exploring the relationships between different perspectives and nature. We talked to Christians and Buddhists. There were representatives from Muslim groups, a Hindu artist, an animist. There was creativity and discussions around reviewing, planning ahead, and a projects for gathering comments, ideas and films from 8 Billion voices….

film: Art and the Environment

At the time, we released these films on vimeo where they can still be viewed on our channel there. But for those who prefer youtube, we now have a Youtube channel where these films can also be viewed For both platforms you could visit our channel and access everything or you might prefer to pick out individual films

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMUYKm2nHFQgmPKU26a1mCg

Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/celebrationearth

1. Why celebrate earth

Martin Palmer, FaithInvest and

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

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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/ZjKqH-Xlp_A

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462130052

2. Buddhism and the Environment

Chantal Elkin, Beliefs and Values WWF

Martin Palmer, Faithinvest

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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/kfvAytkxiQY

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462133079

3. Muslim Faith and the Environment

Dr. Husna Ahmad OBE

Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/ President RSPB

Beginning with a reading from the Qur’an by Faisil, 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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/j1Z5OaVOHSs

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462142076

Dr Husna Ahmad, from Muslim Faith and the Environment

4. Eight Billion Voices (World Wildlife Fund)

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive WWF

Martin Palmer, Faithinvest

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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/NxmPP9XKBYI

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462138826

5. Faith Long Term Plans

Alison Prout INCR

Martin Palmer, FaithInvest

“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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/r4YwrQgAJok

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462137135

Art and the Environment: a puppet team in Buxton woods

6. The Arts and the Environment

Gordon MacLellan, Storyteller Creeping Toad and

Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/ President RSPB

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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/zQjQeRXEgXk

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462144937

7. Yoga and the Environment

Sangita Lakhanpal, Artist

Chantal Elkin, Beliefs and Values WWF

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.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/MYRFvEeojIA

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462147655

The Durga Opera, film: Yoga and the Environment

8. Christian Faith and the Environment

Martin Palmer, FaithInvest and

Miranda Krestovnikoff, Broadcaster/ President RSPB

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?

Youtube: https://youtu.be/d9Pz46Al24s

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/462126740

from Christian Faith and the Environment


  • to all our speakers for their time, enthusiasm and endless support

  • to Off The Fence for their amazing work!


  • Durga (top of page): c. Tim Cragg

  • Art and the environment stills from film shoot: c. Aidan Rhode, Instagram @aidan.rhode

  • Durga (main text): c. John Jolly, Instagram @johnjollycamera or www.johnjolly.camera

  • Others: screenshots from films

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