Bridging Divides, Loving Earth Conference

09:30 - 18:00
Jul 12th 2023

Join us for a 1-day conference exploring the intersection of climate and peace. How can we come together for the sake of the Earth in a time of division and climate heartbreak? This will be a rich, interactive day, with keynotes, workshops, ritual, music, and a delicious vegetarian meal. With Kaira Jewel Lingo, Scilla Elworthy, David Hinton & more.

For more information contact us.
Feeling Generous (SOLD OUT)



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Students, unwaged & those who need it (SOLD OUT)



**we do not want cost to be a barrier for participation in this event, and we do have some bursary places available. If you’d like to apply for a busary place, please fill in this form, and a member of our team will be in touch.**


Join us for a 1-day conference exploring the intersection of climate and peace. 

How can we come together across our differences to love the Earth in this time of ecological unravelling? What does it mean to look at our civilisational crisis as a spiritual crisis? How do we collaborate rather than fracture into polarisation? What kind of leadership is needed? How can we find the courage to face the truth about the climate emergency? What role can faith or spirituality play in our response? 

This conference aims to give pragmatic tools for navigating the challenges of our time; inspiration for how to forge communities that can withstand differences; modes of being and seeing that restore deep relationship with Earth; and much more. Please join us for a transformational day that will bring diverse voices together. A day of emergent exploration, experiment and possibility. 

This will be a rich, interactive day, with keynotes, workshops, ritual, music, and a delicious vegetarian meal. Held at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. Restored after a bomb blast, St Ethelburga’s is a symbol of renewal from the ashes.

See the event programme here.

Arrivals by 9.30 AM for a 10 AM start. The conference programme ends at 5.45.  The venue will remain open for networking until 6.45.


Join us!

Keynotes and presentations

David Hinton has published numerous books of poetry and essays, and many translations of ancient Chinese poetry and philosophy that create contemporary works of compelling literary power, while also conveying the actual texture and density of the originals. These books are all informed by an abiding interest in deep ecological thinking, in exploring the weave of consciousness and landscape. This work has earned wide acclaim and many national awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and both of the major awards given for poetry translation in the US: the Landon Translation Award and the PEN American Translation Award. Most recently, Hinton received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Hinton’s most recent book is Wild Mind, Wild Earth: Our Place in the Sixth Extinction.

Scilla Elworthy is a three times Nobel Peace Prize nominee for her work with Oxford Research Group to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics. She now leads The Business Plan for Peace to help prevent violent conflict and build sustainable peace throughout the world‚ because it is possible; based on her latest books The Business Plan for Peace: Building a World Without War (2017) and The Mighty Heart: how to transform conflict (2020)‚ now an on-line course. Scilla founded Peace Direct in 2002 to fund, promote and learn from local peace-builders in conflict areas, was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003 and the Luxembourg Peace Prize in 2020.

Kaira Jewel Lingo began practising mindfulness in 1997 and teaches Buddhist meditation, secular mindfulness, and compassion internationally. After living as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thích Nhất Hạnh’s monastic community, Kaira Jewel teaches in the Zen lineage and the Vipassana tradition, at the intersection of racial, climate and social justice with a focus on activists, Black/Indigenous/People of Color, artists, educators, families, and youth. Now based in New York, she offers spiritual mentoring to individuals and groups. She is author of We Were Made for These Times: Skilfully Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption (Parallax, November 2, 2021).

Bruna Kadletz is a facilitator, writer, public speaker and humanitarian activist. Bruna holds an MSc in Sociology and Global Change from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, with focus on forced displacement and climate change. She has visited and worked with refugee communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Serbia, France, among other countries. She is the founder and director of Círculos de Hospitalidade, a Brazilian non-profit organization whose work lies in regenerating a culture of peace and hospitality in times of polarization and xenophobia against refugees and vulnerable immigrants.


Mishal Baig is one of our conference facilitators. In her work at St Ethelburga’s, she assists with developing research into project areas such as moral courage, and navigating for truth and peacebuilding in an information distortion landscape. Mishal is interested in Spiritual Ecology research and uses it as a guide and reference for her creative approach to work.

Clare Martin is one of our conference facilitators. Clare is Co-Director of St Ethelburga’s. Previously Development Director, Clare created and led on the Radical Resilience programme and went on to be the strategic lead on our viewpoint diversity work, before stepping up to co-lead the centre alongside Tarot Couzyn. She brings more than 20 years’ experience facilitating groups for the sake of inner enquiry and outer change, and is interested in how contemplative practices can play a role in cultural repair. 

Panel Discussion

A panel bringing together diverse perspectives on what Earth-centred compassionate action looks like. With professor and campaigner Rupert Read; Just Stop Oil activist Will Goldring; Deputy Chief Executive of Climate Outreach, Noora Firaq; and author and social critic, Minna Salami. 

Rupert Read is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, an author, a journalist and a climate and environmental campaigner. One of his key points of focus is the Climate Majority Project, of which he is a co-director. Previously, Rupert was a frequent spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion and a spokesperson, national parliamentary candidate, European parliamentary candidate and councillor for the Green Party of England and Wales. He also formerly chaired the ecological think tank Green House.  Rupert has extensive experience arguing for the environment in media, having written for The Guardian, The Independent and The Ecologist and many other newspapers and websites.

Will Goldring is a former scientist who dropped out of a neuropharmacology PhD at University College London to devote his entire life to mobilising people to come together in civil resistance against government inaction on climate breakdown. Will has been arrested seven times and charged with criminal damage at universities which refuse to divest from fossil capital, with breaking into fuel terminals and shutting them down, with blocking roads in London, and with causing two hundred and thirty thousand pounds of criminal damage to petrol pumps on the M25. For the last charge, Will is facing a Crown Court Trial in 2024 with a likelihood of a prison sentence if found guilty by a jury (up to maximum of ten years in prison).

Noora Firaq grew up on the frontlines of climate change – in the Maldives – one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world due to the country’s natural land scarcity and low-lying geography. She has lived experience of how climate change shapes socio-economics, psychology and the security of communities. After Business and Law School in the UK, she has worked in charities, co-operatives, and ethical finance in the UK. Noora is currently Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Climate Outreach, an organisation working to create a social mandate for climate action.

Minna Salami is a Nigerian, Finnish, and Swedish feminist author and social critic. She is the Programme Chair of Black Feminism and the Polycrisis at The New Institute. Her research focuses on Black feminist theory, contemporary African thought, and the politics of knowledge production. Minna frequently speaks at international platforms including TEDx, Oxford University, Yale University, Oxford Union, Cambridge Union, the European Parliament, and the Singularity University at NASA. She is a BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt Responsible Leader and sits on the council of The Royal Institute of Philosophy. She is an Associate with Perspectiva and sits on the boards of The African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University and the Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Sahel.

Why ‘Bridging Divides, Loving Earth?’ 

Humanity stands on a precipice. Our ecological and climate systems are fast unravelling. We face global challenges on a scale never before seen in our history. At a moment when we urgently need to find ways to collaborate better, we’re seeing rising conflict and division. That’s why we see ‘bridging divides’ and ‘loving Earth’ as two sides of the same coin. The peace and climate agendas are inextricably intertwined – whether that’s at a pan-national, national, or local community level.

 For all of us, these challenging times offer the possibility of a calling. How are we, as individuals, called to respond? For each of us the answer will be different. Whatever our calling, we’ll need courage to live it. What do faith and courage look like in an age of existential risk and climate catastrophe? 

Key questions this conference will explore:
What’s needed to safeguard inner life  in our time? What do faith and moral courage look like in an age of existential risk and climate catastrophe? What can we learn from looking at the civilisational crisis we face as a crisis of meaning or of spirituality? How can we grow our capacity to respond with integrity to challenging times?  How are the issues of climate and conflict intertwined? What practical strategies are there that can allow us to transcend division for the sake of effecting collective coordination at scale, as is needed to overcome pan-national crises such as climate?  What is needed to safeguard inner life  in our time?

We want to galvanise a network of people in a vital conversation about how to energise Earth-centred compassionate action.

We hope you’ll join us.


Take part in a range of workshops hosted across the St Ethelburga’s venue…

The power of art and pilgrimage in crises: Coat of Hopes – Barbara Keal

The Coat of Hopes is a patchwork pilgrim coat, made, worn and walked by hundreds of people over hundreds of miles from Newhaven on the south coast of England to the gates of COP 26, the UN climate summit, in Glasgow autumn 2021. It is an example of non-oppositional activism, collective meaning-making, art, and pilgrimage as tools for grassroots community mobilising. 

“A Coat that’s made by everyone for everyone to wear” as it says in the song which is sung to declare it’s work whenever a new person wears it – the Coat is made up of pieces of blanket into which people from along its route and beyond have sewn or otherwise marked, their griefs, remembrances, prayers and hopes for their local landscapes in the face of climate breakdown. 

The invitation to put on the coat, is to experience, in its wearing the warmth (of the love it has been made with), empowering you to carry the weight of responsibility we all share. The responsibility to respond with our whole self to the climate and ecological emergency we face together.

In this workshop Barbara will share the Coat song and some stories from its journey, she will also invite participants to wear or hold the Coat if they would like to and share some words or some silence with the group.

Barbara Keal is the instigating artist and guardian of the Coat of Hopes. She is an artist who works with collective artmaking, pilgrimage,  landscape and song. She is exploring a mode of non-oppositional activism that invites participation from people across divides. Barbara grew up in a Christian Community in Notting Hill Gate, and graduated from Wimbledon School of Art with a first class degree in Fine Art, Sculpture, in 2003. In the years since she has persisted in making whimsical work which seeks to interrupt with a call into the present moment. Making, singing, walking, swimming are the processes which form her. Most notably, since 2009 she has been the creator of hundreds of wild and hairy sculptural felt animal hats shown in galleries, boutiques and publications around the world, worn on stage and screen, but most importantly in the street. Sometimes causing the wearer to ask “who am I?” She is a climate activist, a friendly neighbour and a mother of three sons aged 17,14 and 9.

Depolarising Conversations for Activists – Ila Malhotra Gregory & Harriet Terrill

We are living in a time of deep cultural and political polarisation, and these ripples of conflict are often felt and seen in the world of activism. Whether advocating for social, political, economic, or climate justice, activists are frequently met with opposition – both from those who benefit from the structures that they seek to change, and from those who might agree on the problem, but disagree on how to address it. Whilst conflict is to be expected on this path, how we engage with disagreement and difference holds the potential to derail us or lead us to metamorphosis.

What are the ways of being and relating that we can embody in moments of opposition? Which tools and approaches can enable us to transform conflict? How might activism evolve if we lead with love? 

Ila Malhotra Gregory is a facilitator, speaker and community weaver. They have a background in youth activism, re-imagining systems and holding spaces for honest, meaningful discussion and self inquiry. Ila previously worked at a social enterprise, co-creating curricula that teach personal and emotional awareness to other young people, and training teachers and staff members to facilitate this in their own settings. They work with YouthxYouth supporting young changemakers in education, exploring the magic of holding space for diverse people and communities and an inquiring into how we might organise differently and beautifully by growing meaningful relationships with one another.

Harriet Terrill is one of our conference facilitators. In her work at St Ethelburga’s, she is focused on viewpoint diversity from a peacemaker’s perspective. Harriet is also working on an event series that seeks to find new ways to approach conversations that are often difficult, controversial and conflict-ridden. Previously, in her work for Counterweight, Harriet advocated for liberal approaches to diversity and inclusion and viewpoint diversity in the workplace.

Folk Song of this land – Sam Lee

Immerse in the songs of England, Ireland and Wales With rounds and ballads. According to Sam Lee, folk song is “a language of connectedness and enchantment” that enlivens our belonging with the human and more-than-human communities. Joining in with these ancient songs, we give them life to continue as they have been for centuries, sometimes even millenniums before us. And these songs remind us of what it is to be alive with connectedness and communion with the world around us.

Sam Lee is a Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, writer, conservationist, song collector, award winning promoter, broadcaster, activist, pilgrimage guide, lecturer and more. Alongside his organisation, The Nest Collective, Sam has shaken up the music scene breaking boundaries between folk and contemporary music and the assumed places and ways folk song is appreciated. Sam’s helped develop its ecosystem inviting in a new listenership interrogating what the messages in these old songs hold for us today.

Listening as a Tool for Change – Michael Gibbs

In a time when the world is facing numerous crises and the voices of both people and the Earth need to be heard and understood, this workshop explores the transformative power of deep listening. Through experiential exercises and reflective discussions, we will cultivate a capacity to listen empathically, create regenerative spaces, and attune ourselves to the more-than-human voices. This workshop will provide an opportunity to reflect on your communication skills and to heighten awareness of your capacity for empathy and positive change.

Michael Gibbs runs a small consulting firm, MG Consultants, that specialises in communication, crisis/conflict management as well as equality and diversity training. In addition, he is an international mediator and executive coach. Throughout his professional career, Michael has gleaned invaluable knowledge from living and working on five different continents giving him unique insights into the subtleties of race, religion and culture. Working with clients, such as Amnesty International, the International Committee for the Red Cross and the WHO, the focus of Michael’s work is on assisting individuals, communities, and organisations to develop effective communication skills that are necessary for managing relationships and essential for delivering transformative change.

Rights of Earth in Practice – Susie Talbot

Around the world, the rights of rivers, forests, mountains and other natural entities are being recognised in human legal systems. This workshop explores the growing rights of nature movement and the potential implications for our laws, decision-making practices and relationships with the more-than-human world in the UK in coming years.

Susie Talbot is a human rights and environmental justice lawyer working with diverse communities, lawyers and allies around the world to evolve the purpose, content and practice of law, with the aim of collapsing the sense of separation between humans and the more-than-human world and foster transformative change across disciplines and generations. In 2020, she founded the Anima Mundi Law Initiative to take strategic measures to align the law with planetary realities and as a space to envision and co-create ‘a new legal story in an ecological age’.

Why faith and moral courage?  

This conference forms part of a longer event series exploring what faith and moral courage look like in an age of polycrisis. Where does extraordinary courage come from? What can we learn from people who’ve risked everything to live up to their values? What forms of courage are especially needed in our age of unravelling, uncertainty and risk? How can we inspire ourselves and each other to grow our capacity to brave our limits? Are there insights from the world’s spiritual and faith traditions that can help us grow our courage?

This event will be facilitated by the St Ethelburga’s team


 supported by:

**we do not want cost to be a barrier for participation in this event, and we do have some bursary places available. If you’d like to apply for a busary place, please fill in this form, and a member of our team will be in touch.**