The Climate Flags stall at the Darebin Kite Festival was a big success. Around 90 flags were decorated by visitors to the festival last Sunday in Reservoir, Victoria. The decorating event gave many people from varied backgrounds the opportunity to engage with the issue of climate change, with Climate Flag organisers on-hand to support people and answer questions. It was so great to see the project in action in this way.
“A neighbourhood-scale parent activist group called “Newlands Parents for Climate Action” were behind the flag event. They brought energy and enthusiasm to their various roles as flag sewers, stall assisters, equipment lenders, climate communicators and change makers!
The Climate Flag project is ever-evolving, with each community group making the project their own. The Newlands group are keen to refine how they run flag decorating events, to create more space for reflection and conversation in the process, because this is at the heart of the Climate Flag vision. They are also in discussion about where to fly the flags, so their local community get a chance to see all these beautiful and thought provoking messages.
Group organiser, Nina Roberts says ‘an evening sewing bee with wine will be just the place for a chat, while we attach the 90 flags to strings!’ As always, the Climate Flag project works on many levels: from engaging the broader community with the issue of climate change, to community building within smaller groups of friends and neighbours.
People who come together to organise Climate Flags events for their local area, invariably comment that flag sewing sessions are an enjoyable and supportive way to connect with others about the painful issue of climate change, and to transform fear into creative action.
The Castlemaine community turned out in force yesterday to launch the Climate Flags project. The event was everything we hoped for: vibrant, celebratory and a great community event, while allowing for sober reflection about climate change and our need to come out of paralysis and into action.
Coming together en masse to sit and draw, talk and to write messages, felt a such positive and supportive way to build community and gather our collective energy towards action on climate change.
The welcome table was a constant buzz throughout the launch, with a flow of people collecting flags, adding their names and postcodes to the record of flag makers and sewers adding newly made flags to strings.
People were moved to tears during speeches and many commented afterwards that they felt inspired to come out of their own personal inertia around climate change. Speakers included the Castlemaine Mayor (Browen Machin), three founders of the Student Strike 4 Climate (Milou, Harriet and Tully) and Climate Flags founder (Cassia Read). Kerry Calcraft, part of the core Climate Flags organising team, was MC.
Local musicians contributed to the creative and festive atmosphere and balanced the emotion in the room. Musicians included: Dezebells (playing Zimbabwean Mbira), year 8 Students Amy, Tilly, Ava and Lucy playing their own compositions, and singer songwriter Hilary Blackshaw. After the speeches, the Ukeladies led the crowd in singing ‘This Whole World.”
Flag making continued throughout the event with kids and adults embracing the opportunity to express themselves. Flags made were moving and stunning in their direct statements and creativity.
Climate Flag organisers will get busy this week sewing the new flags onto strings to fly over the coming weeks around Castlemaine and at the coming Climate Strike on the 15th March.
We will be officially launching the Climate Flags project on Saturday 23rd February 2019 in the Castlemaine Library foyer. There will be music, finger food, brief speeches and flags for the making. Come along and add your voice to the chorus.