Monday, 11 October 2010

10:10:10 Parties, Folk music and Marrows the size of Texas

Without fear of sounding a) dull or b) pathetic I've found post grad life to b something akin to say a spaghetti western (with some minor alterations here and there). Tumble weed blowing down a lonely street – a metaphor for your social life, quick fire show downs whereby its your CV your snatching from your holster and what feels like time in the sheriff's office when it comes to living back at home with the family...

You see what the academics don't tell you is the three years spent obtaining that much desired 2:1 doesn't necessarily guarantee you a six figure salary, or a life of idle contentment. So desperate to construct a life you'd be happy with you find solace in other ventures (whilst working minimum wage jobs to scrape together the pennies for travel)!

Enter Birmingham Friends of the Earth and my time spent there as a volunteer. For those of you who feel watching your younger brother count as volunteering allow me to elaborate. For me its entailed Tuesday mornings spent manning reception and attending meetings/craft groups for various campaigns. Side effects have included a puffed up chest, a bounce in my step and feelings of euphoria.

Recently I got bestowed the honour of organising an event for 10/10/10 a global action day spearheaded by Over 7000 events occurred in 188 different countries aimed at raising awareness of the climate change crisis. Did you know for instance that currently carbon dioxide emissions are a 390ppm (parts per million) when the safe limit of co2 in the atmosphere is actually a lowly 350ppm (now you see where the figure 350 comes into it)! All over the world communities gathered on Sunday 10th October, to demonstrate their commitment in being part of the solution by hosting work parties and other such events.

After much deliberation here at BFOE we decided to organise a carbon neutral party, not only a great way of raising awareness but also and outlandish excuse to eat our body weight in home made cakes and party like its 1969.

Organising this event has been very much a labour of love, from lugging boxes of locally produced apple juice across Birmingham; to dragging buckets of water to fill a pond (only to discover it leaked...), to practically stalking musicians in order to get performers- the operative has been 'busyness.' Quite honestly I've loved every minute, especially when my much agonised over vegan cakes worked out and I had a full running order of performers.

And would you believe it – not only did everyone turn up, the buffet table was full and the musicians were great, we were even lucky enough to have a day of that supposed 'Indian Summer' we were promised! Dedicated volunteers (too many wonderful people to name but you know who you are), all turned up to transform our dilapidated back garden into a, I quote '...New York style secret garden party...' complete with our very own wish tree. The acts I'm happy to report surpassed everyone's expectations they weren't just good – they were phenomenal. We were treated to the gentle melodies of The 'Ammer & Chain' Black-country Folk Club, along with humour from John the story teller, operatic singing by Lizzie Nunns, rootsy blues stomps from The Brave Sons of Elijah Perry, poignant songs from the lovely Dan Shaw and tribal drumming (that got everyone dancing) from Choconut. Hey we even had magic tricks from the enigmatic Matt!

Being a fan of the hippie fraternity I was pleased to see that we had a great number of the hemp wearing lovelies all of whom bought local/home made food, Aldo being responsible for bringing the marrow the size of Texas (which by the way was delicious)! I know I'm biased but it really did feel like the event embodied the heart of what community means. An assortment of people from all walks of life, sharing in local produce and creating a little happiness through art and conversation.

The message is a profound one; we must continue to make our voices heard if we are to be the change we wish to see in this world. I feel that 10/10/10 although carrying a poignant message, focused rather better on the positive, that our environment is in dire straits but there are many good people out there who genuinely care and who are prepared to be part of the solution.

Now if you don't mind I've got several months worth of sleep to catch up on and enough cake to last until next Christmas!

Until next time comrades...

Wishing you peace, good karma and all that jazz

Sophia Hobbs

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