Footsteps

... brings together faith groups in Birmingham to respond to the challenge of moving to a low carbon future.

 

Protecting Mother Earth

A seminar was held to mark International Women’s Day on the theme of ‘Protecting Mother Earth’ at the Nishkam Centre, Soho Road on Sunday 8 March 2020. There were speakers from Sikh, Muslim and Hindu faiths, and Footsteps’ chair, Ruth Tetlow, spoke on behalf of the Christian faith. The afternoon concluded with the planting of a tree as an example of the need to plant many more trees to help absorb carbon dioxide. The Woodland Trust is making trees available free of charge.

Footsteps: Faiths for a Low Carbon Future

Many faith communities are taking their own actions to help the environment; by coming together they can take steps side-by-side towards their common goal. The main way Footsteps does this is by organising interfaith and multi-faith events to explore responses to the high carbon present and take action towards a low carbon future. A small organising committee, with representatives from each of the main faith groups, meets once every few months to plan the events; currently two of the members are Anglicans. Footsteps is now a project under Birmingham Council of Faiths – “Speak with Pride, Listen with Respect.” (bhamfaiths.org.uk), an organisation set up to “promote and maintain harmonious relations between people of different faiths in the city”.

Footsteps first came together to organise events in the run-up to the Paris Climate Conference, in November 2015. People were inspired by the Lambeth Declaration, signed by leaders from across the major faiths in Britain, which called us “to care for the earth and have a responsibility to live creatively and sustainably in a world of finite resources.” Individuals, groups, churches, schools, worshipping communities and others that share the Footsteps vision receive newsletters and invitations to events and become part of a multi-faith network working for change.

Since its start Footsteps has been chaired by Ruth Tetlow, a member of All Saints Kings Heath. In 2022 the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded Ruth the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation for her outstanding contribution to interfaith relations in Birmingham over four decades. A second member is John Nightingale.

Footsteps has also been supported by the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ group. This was formed in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in September 2001, when there began to be attacks on some religious premises and worshippers and in response the principal leaders of Birmingham’s six major faith communities began to meet on a regular basis, to build trust and understanding. Almost twenty years later leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist communities still meet on a regular basis to foster good relationships. The Bishop of Birmingham is a member and is often represented by Canon Andrew Smith. The Faith Leaders have issued several statements encouraging the City Council in its plans towards becoming carbon net zero by 2030.

Footsteps organised the participation of some 100 members local faith comunities in the well-attended Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on 6 November 2021 and in the Birmingham Climate Justice Coalition which is continuing to campaign for climate justice after COP26 in Glasgow.

 

Email: footstepsbcf@gmail.com

Twitter: @FootstepsBCF

Facebook: facebook.com/FootstepsBCF

Website: www.footstepsbcf.org.uk