Cross-posted from Environment Network from Manchester, but links added byMCFly.
On March 5th between sixty and seventy members of the voluntary and community sector from around the country attended the Black Environment Network conference. Organisers of the event were pleased with the turnout, although it has been higher in previous years.
Five minute presentations were given by a range of groups including Red Rose Forest, Sustainable Schools North West and the Big Lottery Fund. Workshops covered issues as diverse as how to support Gypsy and Traveller communities, to the more obscure ‘how to engage and involve ethnic communities in bat conservation’.
I attended the afternoon of the event and took part in a particularly inspiring workshop by Hanna Thomas of the Otesha Project. We were encouraged to think about aspects of our life that we have had no control over, both privileges and disadvantages. With powerful and provocative exercises we considered how these aspects of people’s lives may have effected the way some people feel more confident to act on environment issues than others. It was food for thought indeed!
BEN promotes equality of opportunity with respect to ethnic communities in environmentalism. The mission statement explains that the word ‘black’ is used symbolically recognising that the black communities are the most visible of all ethnic groups. The network works with white, black and other ethnic communities.