How Enfield united over tackling the climate crisis

As global leaders gather in Glasgow to tackle the climate emergency, Hannah Dyson looks back on a two-week festival in Enfield that firmly put climate on the local agenda

Enfield People's Theatre performing in Pymmes Park as part of Enfield’s Big Green Climate Festival
Enfield People’s Theatre performing in Pymmes Park as part of Enfield’s Big Green Climate Festival

Enfield’s Big Green Climate Festival saw 100 climate events and activities take place in September, becoming the largest festival of its kind held in the borough.

The informal launch was on Saturday 11th September at the Little Green Dragon pub in Winchmore Hill. The festival, organised by Enfield Climate Action Forum (EnCaf), aimed to raise awareness of the climate emergency and encourage people to come together to form ideas on tackling this issue.

Watching the play If Not Now Then When? by the brilliant Enfield People’s Theatre, outside in the backyard with a glass of organic pear cider in hand, I felt immensely proud of the actors and producers who’d put their heart and soul into a play to raise awareness of the climate emergency. It was a delicious blend of the serious issues we face in the climate emergency juxtaposed with humour and community spirit.

Standing beside me during the launch event was Paul Everitt, the former head of arts and culture at Enfield Council who is now the director of culture and community infrastructure at Love Your Doorstep. Paul had a central role in organising the festival, using his decades of expertise to create successful events and work with community. To the right of me was Vicki Pite, a former Labour councillor who is now immersed in environmental activism, and was instrumental in setting up EnCaf in January 2020 – demonstrating that there is definitely life after politics!

Inside the pub, I caught up with Derek Levy, a Community First councillor for Southgate, as he played his Spanish ukulele. The conversation turned to how civil society could come together to make changes, to make voices get heard, and to bring together ideas and solutions.

Over the following two weeks, highlights of the festival included poetry by the river; a climate fair; Enfield People’s Theatre performing their play at Pymmes Park; a discussion about the Edmonton incinerator rebuild; a Fairtrade wine and chocolate evening; plus a climate emergency art slam in which a plethora of locals performed poetry, songs and readings with climate themes, ending with Victor Romero Evans performing his legendary songs and musing about his childhood in Jamaica. Victor argued that we must stand up against the rebuild of the incinerator to protect our climate.

Also as part of the festival, several environmentally-themed webinars were streamed via the Facebook groups Enfield Voices and Globalnet21, which are forums discussing local, national and international issues. They were later uploaded to the GlobalNet21 YouTube channel and it includes an interview with Anthony Fisher and Marion Elia from eco cleaning business Chela. Anthony is working towards ensuring the firm’s supply chain is sustainable and believes that collaboration between companies to achieve a sustainable future is an “essential business model in the 21st Century”.

With so many different people involved and such a wide range of events, Enfield Climate Festival demonstrates how far we have all come since EnCaf was launched two years ago. The organisation of the festival was led by Francis Sealey, founder of GlobalNet21 and Enfield Voices. I’ve been proud to have been involved in this citizen journalism over the last three years, developing webinars, and the subsequent creation of EnCaf has been inspirational. It offers an exciting future for Enfield.

If you wish to join EnCaf:
Visit
encaf.org

Watch the webinars produced by GlobalNet21:
Visit
youtube.com/c/Globalnet21Org/videos