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CHANGE Festival - the remedy for your Eco Anxiety

It seems I spend my time wondering, is it ok that I try to live a plant based lifestyle but I am not a strict vegan' How do I explain to my parents that we can only have a climate revolution with a complete change in our social and economic systems? But then what about developing countries that rely on natural resources like oil for their economies?

And why is Australia applying bail conditions made for organised crime syndicates to Extinction Rebellion activists? Argh, and add to this doom and gloom associated with global temperatures rising and suddenly I feel confused, stressed and deflated. Or, as Becky Burchell creator of CHANGE Festival would put it, I have a bad case of Eco Anxiety. Burchell has taken a cue from a study that looks at the “belief that one’s actions cannot affect climate change” and created an innovative arts festival that aims to remedy “these feelings of helplessness and despair” - otherwise known as your bad case of eco anxiety.

CHANGE Festival arrives at Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry 18 – 20 October 2019 with the aim of inspiring visitors to feel possibility and hope as they face the future. “Through CHANGE Festival we will empower visitors to imagine a better way of living – better communities, better food, better homes for us and the generations to come” Becky says.

“Much of our current popular culture - TV, movies, news, theatre - paints a picture of a bleak, dystopian future where humanity is tearing itself apart, leading to increased eco-anxiety, negativity and paralysis. It’s time to tell different stories - ones that stretch our dreams and inspire courage and hope,” Becky added.

The festival approaches this by experimenting with using arts as a tool for change by providing over 20 ticketed and free events including a new theatre project especially commissioned for the festival. Following five characters across 75 years as they fight, struggle, persevere and triumph in their quest to create a better future, it’s called ‘The World We Made’ and takes its inspiration from Sir Jonathon Porritt’s book of the same name. A fan of the approach to climate change the British environmentalist and writer said “I love the idea of CHANGE Festival using the power of the arts to excite people’s imagination and readiness to get involved”.

A not-for-profit event the festival also includes a one-off comedy show that asks stand-ups to think about the conversations they will be having with their ancestors in years to come (What Will We Tell Our Grandkids?), an evening of music, discussion and performance from indigenous activists about how to be good caretakers of nature (Dash Café, Earthly Wisdom) and a free drumming workshop led by musician Mahendra Patel from Kadence Music plus a whole lot more.

Whether or not all of this will help me leave CHANGE feeling less helpless, more hopeful and cured of my eco anxiety is hard to tell, but I do feel pretty certain there’s plenty to be enjoyed, or as Becky Burchell assures us - “you’ll have a whole lot of fun.”

Change Festival
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Change Festival
18 – 20 October 2019
Warwick Arts Centre
Info and tickets: www.changefestival.org

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