Bristol’s Reset, Nature’s Recovery – the Partnership’s first online Gathering
14th July 2020
On 8th July, nearly 100 people took part in the Partnership’s first online Gathering ‘Bristol’s Reset, Nature’s Recovery’. Although many of us miss meeting face-to-face, virtual meeting technology allowed us to listen to powerful presentations, share our reflections and ideas, and have discussions in small groups. It also allowed those who find it difficult to attended face-to-face events to participate. You can listen to the presentations here (please note that unfortunately some of the presentations were cut off at the beginning).
The first half of the event focused on aspirations for Bristol as it emerges from the crisis stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. A poll at the start found that there were different levels of optimism among attendees, with almost half (49%) feeling a bit or much more positive about Bristol’s ambitions to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, with 18% feeling the same and 33% a bit more or much more negative.
Project Assistant at Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Clara Fung, shared an overview of the results from a member survey conducted in May about their experiences, hopes and concerns for addressing the climate and ecological emergencies in Bristol following the pandemic. You can find more information about the survey results here.
This was followed Gnisha Bevan, who is a member of the Black & Green Ambassadors project steering committee and spoke powerfully about the need to simultaneously tackle the crises of climate, ecology, Covid-19 and oppression. She reflected on views and ideas that came from a recent Black & Green Ambassadors workshop, including the need to work collectively to break down walls, to draw on the experience and enthusiasm of environmentalists of colour, and to question whether there is a one-size-fits-all solutions to the crises we face, or whether the solutions are “as varied as the places and cultures of people in the world”.
In the next section of the event, three speakers shared their reflections on what Bristol’s recovery could look like, focusing on three areas that are really central. Danni Rochman of Bristol Food Network spoke about how we have seen “an extraordinary shift in people’s perception of food, characterised by a better understanding of its value and its role in a resilient recovery”, and that we have a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to…give everyone a sense of ownership of our city’s food system.” Zoe Banks-Gross of Knowle West Media Centre talked about community empowerment, including how aspects of the lockdown facilitated people’s ability to do more volunteering and actively engage with their community, and how moving forward need to make the city more equitable, including digital access. Ann O’Driscoll of North Bristol SusCom reflected on the impact of Covid-19 on the way we travel, and how businesses have adapted, including enabling flexible working, investing in cycling facilities and reconfiguring offices to create collaborative working spaces.
Attendees then had smaller group discussions about what role can we all play as our city transitions out of Covid 19 to ensure we emerge greener, fairer and more resilient.
The second half of the gathering focused on the Ecological Emergency, and the One City Ecological Emergency Action Plan being developed to tackle it in Bristol. After Ian Barrett of Avon Wildlife Trust gave a brief recap of the Ecological Emergency and its potential impacts, Savita Willmott of The Natural History Consortium introduced the One City Ecological Emergency Action Plan, which is due to be launched in September. The four key themes that have emerged so far are Habitat (Create Nature Recovery Networks), Pesticides (Stop use), Pollution and Plastics (Stop at source) and Supply chain (Put nature at heart of decisions).
Attendees then took part in a workshop in smaller groups to feed into the Action Plan, particularly around thoughts on the calls to action for organisations. The input gathered will be used by the team developing the plan, which is due to be published in September.
Many thanks to all the speakers and attendees, and we will provide updates on the Ecological Emergency Action Plan when they are available.