Archive for July, 2007

Over? Or only just beginning….

Monday, July 9th, 2007 by

Yesterday was very, very hectic but a very special day for me. Never did I dream I would stand in front of nearly 100,000 people to tell them my story, the story of how my Maasai community have to live with the realities of climate change.

The messages throughout the day were ones of hope; messages that we can make a change and by taking responsibility, stop climate change getting worse.

I arrived at Wembley early and already there were many people heading up to the stadium, despite the fact the concert didn’t start for hours.

You just cannot imagine how busy – or how big – it was behind the scenes! We walked and walked throughout the day; from finding where interviews would take place to the BBC radio trucks and the media rooms.

The sun was out and for the first time in England I felt warm! The crowds all seemed to be enjoying themselves very much – not only enjoying the music but the important messages about climate change which flashed up on the screen.

Soon it was my turn.

Before I l knew it, the wait was over. It was time to tell my story.

I looked through the curtain and the sight was overwhelming. It was like looking at a sea of people – the screams and shouts for the bands were deafening!

Soon the screams and the shouts of the crowd were no longer for the bands but for me! I took to the stage after actress Miranda Richardson introduced my film, there I was shown high above the stage on the big screens!

When I had finished the cheers and clapping of the crowds were deafening! I came off the stage and so many congratulated me and asked to hear more about what was happening in Kenya.

Before I knew it the lights had come up and the day was over was over.

Although the music was over and the crowds emptied into the night – the only evidence of the concert were empty cups which had been left behind and the huge stage being taken apart – but I was left with a feeling that this was just the beginning; the beginning of something exciting for me to take back home and tell my community

Sharon Looremeta

Read Sharon’s speech to Live Earth or watch online at MSN

Speaking at Live Earth!

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

Today I stood in an almost empty Wembley Stadium, looking out to where thousands and thousands of people will come tomorrow, to listen to the music but more importantly to show that they care about our ever changing climate. I have to remain hopeful their actions will mean governments will take action.

The stadium is huge beyond belief; today I watched in wonder as people ran here and they ran there to check the sound system, they laid cables and the noise was deafening!

As I sat in Wembley’s small red plastic seats, I looked out to where so many famous people have played football or sang to big audiences, I realised that tomorrow it is my turn to take to the stage, it is my turn to have the thousands of faces looking at me to see what I have to say.

I sat and comtemplated what it meant for me to be here; to be given the opportunity to tell my story. People keep asking ‘are you nervous?’ and I say ‘no!’ I am hear to tell people my story and what the reality of climate change is. If after hearing me, just a handful of people go home, tell their friends and family and they all make changes to their lives and share the message, it has been worthwhile. It is small steps that start the longest journey.

To represent not only my people but also Practical Action makes me very proud. I told my community about it and how I hoped sharing their experiences would encourage people to change. Afterall, if my community which has so little can change, surely people with so much can change too.

My community has high hopes for LiveEarth and are all is very excited. While they will not be able to watch it on big television screens, when I step onto that stage and look out at the thousands of people staring back at me they will be in my heart as I tell their story.

Hopefully I will write more tomorrow so I can tell you how the day is going, share the excitement as people come together. And also let you know if my nerves are still at bay!

Sharon Looremeta

Glastonbury madness!

Thursday, July 5th, 2007 by

Well, it didn’t just rain – it absolutely poured. My first ever Glastonbury experience was a wet one, but a great one all the same.

Having been back for over a week now I think that I have just about managed to get the mud off EVERYTHING that I took with me, including myself! Several showers later and few nights of comfortable sleep I have finally had a chance to look back on the whole crazy experience …

Like I said, this was my first ever Glastonbury and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had obviously seen TV coverage and many of my friends had been, but I don’t think anything quite prepares you for the enormity of the site and the variety of all that it holds. As we queued to get into the site it became clear that there was much more to this festival than just the Pyramid stage and the headline acts.

Having finally got inside we found our pitch which we were sharing with the Centre for Alternative Technology and the Henry Doubleday Research Association in the Green Futures Field. This field is dedicated to exploring ways for a sustainable future. Wind turbines, solar panels and permaculture gardens are all a feature of this little haven. A brilliant spot for us.

Despite the three organisations in the tent all being distinctly different we were all linked in some way and it was a great opportunity to work together and share ideas. It took a day to set up the stand including assisting CAT to get their wind turbine rigged up, but come Thursday morning the stand looked great and we were ready to do some serious campaigning.

Festivals is something new for Practical Action so every event is a learning curve, but I think we were all pleasantly surprised by the response that we got, with all three of us being kept busy talking and answering questions for most of each day.

Overall 500 people signed a Practical Action postcard to the Prime Minister demanding action on addressing climate injustice. With so much climate change talk in the press, and at the festival, it was great to be one of the few organisations there making the link to the impacts on development and highlighting global climate injustice.

Many people wanted to know more about Practical Action and where we worked, while others wanted to know what they could do in their own lives to cut down on their emissions. For me, it was great to see so many people who had not thought before about the impact their lives were having elsewhere begin to realise the reality of the situation. I remember one girl who after reading the display walked straight up to the table and just said ‘What can I do?’.

I couldn’t help feeling though, sometimes, slightly unsure. A lot of those who ventured up to the Green Fields already had an interest in climate change. They probably already used energy saving light bulbs and used public transport when they could.

But what about the masses who never made it up past the Jazz World stage? For those who didn’t realise that there was more to Glastonbury than just the headliners? Who spent their time in endless queues?

Sometimes the rain was great, because people always need some where to shelter, and when they did we were ready! However, I am sure there were still many who just didn’t know that we existed.

I am sure that ourselves, and I-count, did reach many who previously hadn’t thought much about climate change. I-count did manage to collect 70,000 signatures calling for action by the UK government which is undoubtedly a great base on which we can build.

But building is what we really need to do. As we were leaving the site on Monday afternoon (relatively easy compared to some poor folk – only two tractor tows required) it was impossible not to notice the amount of ‘stuff’ that people had just left behind. Chairs, litter, tables, gazebos, were all just abandoned. Simply bought for the occasion and then deemed to be unfit for further use. I truly believe that there were enough tents left in those fields to house a rural community somewhere in the developing world that has been displaced due to flooding. Is this the mentality of people who are ready and willing to undertake the changes that are going to be required to stop climate chaos?

I don’t want to come across as being too negative. There is no doubt in my mind that many people will have left Glastonbury more informed about the problem that we are facing globally than when they arrived. And I do believe that events such as Glastonbury can have a potentially enormous role in helping to raise awareness and tackling climate change. I guess that sometimes when you work in an environment where everyone is on the same page you forget how many people aren’t there yet …

Later that afternoon as we drove back to Rugby through the beautiful and peaceful landscape of Somerset Glastonbury seemed like a dream. ‘What was that?’ somebody suddenly asked.

To be honest – I’m not entirely sure! But I’m sure I will be back next year to find out …