Guest Blog ~ Act Now: Sing for the Climate by Anna Brook

What will singing do? I think it can do a whole lot.

It feels good to sing. It feels great to sing the same song as lots of other people at the same time. To feel part of something big. And it gives us courage to act.

Song has long been part of protest. But for some people, even here where our rights are protected, the idea of a protest is off-putting, boring, too political, scary even. If we are going to get enough people talking about this and thinking about this, asking questions, demanding action, we need to build a movement that people want to be part of. A movement which is fun, creative and sociable could be attractive to children, families and other people. It could be a way for people who are just interested to find out more in a gentle way. It’s important for everyone to have an easy welcome into our movement. This is why I think we should sing for the climate.

We need a reason for people to talk to each other about the damage we are doing to our world and how we can stop it. And I think our children are that reason. Parents, grandparents, carers, friends, family, we all care so much for our children. They bring us together, they are our common cause. But we’re leaving them a rotten legacy.

Our children are the reason and our children can lead the way.

In September, I co-facilitated a session with a group of 6-8 year old children at which we talked to them about the importance of climate change and helped them to understand what they could do to help. It is so powerful for all of us to know that we can act and that our actions can have an impact. These children talked about walking instead of taking cars, shopping locally and reading instead of watching tv and then they made posters and banners to take on the Four Rivers Rally and they made up a song to sing as they walked. They sang the whole way as we walked the river route into Sheffield and they stood on the steps of our town hall and sang with everyone on the rally: Act now, Act now. And we should listen to them.

All the individual actions we take are a vital part of the solution but they are not enough. I think it is important to be honest with children about that. For me, it feels so important to give our children power to demand that bigger change – they can’t vote (yet) but they can write to MPs and they can take part in action, like a march, and their voices are heard alongside all the others. Singing for the climate gives us all a voice.

I asked my son, who is seven, what he thought about the Sheffield Four Rivers Rally. This is what he said: ‘I felt happy and I liked singing. I don’t want the world to end. And singing will help people to do what we need them to do to stop it.’

Singing will help people to do what we need them to do.

I agree with him. I think if children and other people learn the same song, they start to ask questions, explore and get involved. Our singing demonstrates our support for the far-reaching action that is required by all people in all nations to secure a future for all our children and grandchildren. Mass support gives our world leaders the mandate to go far enough. It shows them that we are all prepared to support the difficult changes ahead. I was really inspired by http://www.singfortheclimate.com/EN/default.aspx and I’d like to work with others who are too to do this in Sheffield.

We’ve just started talking to a few local choirs, and we need to get schools involved, community and faith groups, trade unions, workplace choirs and others from across the city. I’d love it if we could organise some workshops too. I’m sure the more people who get involved the more ideas we’ll come up with and better we can make it.

The group of children I mentioned earlier are part of the Woodcraft Folk, an organisation that has been promoting child and youth-led action and fighting to protect our planet for decades. When I was in Woodcraft Folk myself as a child, we used to say a creed together at the end of each session. It concluded with the following phrase, and I can’t think of a better way to end.

And we shall go singing to the fashioning of a new world.
Want to join the climate choir?

Get in touch with Anna via the contact form or connect with Sheffield Climate Alliance on Facebook if you’d like to be involved in making this happen in Sheffield.