30 Britons to set out on historic walk along the entire length of UK in the run-up to COP-26; new ‘Land movement’ calls on ‘everyone, everywhere’ to register their own walk, and to have their say on nature and climate.
30 members of the British general public will set out to walk the entire length of the UK this Autumn in order to urge world leaders to seize our last chance to avert climate catastrophe—and they are calling on everyone anywhere in the world who is concerned about the future of our planet to join them.
Listening to the Land’s 30 pilgrims will undertake an epic eight-week, 500-mile odyssey along the ancient ‘Spine of Albion’ pilgrimage route, stopping to gather the hopes and fears of ordinary citizens they meet along the route.
The immense journey launches on Saturday 4 September and weaves through many of Britain’s key historic centres of cultural, industrial, spiritual and political power, including Stratford, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Winchester and Carlisle before arriving in Glasgow for the start of the UN climate conference in November.
The pilgrims have committed to do the full walk, along with 'pollinators' who are experts in the fields of performance, the arts, biodiversity, land workers, health experts etc who will come to inspire conversations, we will hold meetings in the communities and have already heard from many many people who want to come join us on our walk. Members of the public are invited to join the pilgrims for any portion of the walk, and to participate in the creative workshops, talks, and performances that will be delivered during the pilgrimage.
The pilgrims and organisers will harvest the views and feelings of everyone who takes part in these gatherings, weaving their words into a landmark piece of performance art and co-created document to be presented to delegates at COP26 in Glasgow on Monday 8th November, with members of the public’s ‘vox pops’ appearing on bespoke illuminated street signage all over the rooftops of Glasgow during the conference.
The group’s founders and partners have issued a rallying cry for individuals and organisations across Britain and all over the world to join their landmark effort—calling on ‘everyone, everywhere’ to demonstrate their love for the land by logging their own pilgrimage or nature walk online at Walking the Land and to insist leaders act on whatever element of the climate and biodiversity crisis they feel most strongly about by contributing their thoughts to the shared document, Voices of the Land.
‘We are running out of time for leaders to act to prevent runaway climate change,’ says Listening to the Land co-founder Jolie C Booth. ‘Which is why 30 perfectly ordinary citizens of the UK have chosen to do something utterly extraordinary, certainly life-changing and possibly slightly berserk this Autumn, putting their lives, work and relationships on hold to embark on this truly epic exercise. It feels an apt, almost mythological way to express our love for the Earth and our hopes and fears for our collective futures.
‘While walking for eight weeks will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those that take part, for millions of people, because of work, health, caring responsibilities, or geography, it would be completely inconceivable to do something of this scale. That’s why we’re so excited to launch the Walking the Land digital campaign and the Voices of the Land document to run alongside the Listening to the Land pilgrimage—we hope that by the time we arrive in Glasgow tens of thousands of people will have uploaded a photograph of their own sacred walk, and added their voice to our Voices of the Land document, which we will present to world leaders. Our vision is to include as many voices as possible in this beautiful, creative act of reverence for earth, and as we call on world leaders to walk the walk on climate,’ says Booth.
Listening to the Land is funded by the Arts Council England, and is a co-production between Kriya Arts and No Planet B Initiative. It launches with the backing of founder partner organizations: the National Trust, the Wisdom Keepers, the British Pilgrimage Trust, Julie’s Bicycles, Slow Ways, Tree Sisters, Seed Sistas and Still Moving. It is intended as a community project—open-ended and to be shared in the hope that we can continue to build momentum and voices. If you or your organisation is interested in helping or in taking any aspect of our work forward, please get in touch.
We Need Your Help!
We are incredibly grateful for all the help we are already receiving from volunteers and from venues offering us accommodation, but we are also looking for help with funding for logistical support, which will allow us to cover the costs of things like food for the pilgrims, a support vehicle to carry tents and to respond to emergencies, insurance where we need it, emergency and first aid kits and materials for outreach. A little money goes a long way and any funds donated will be gratefully received.