Bridging Divides, Loving Earth Conference

All Day
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? Kaira Jewel Lingo, Scilla Elworthy, David Hinton, Sam Lee and many more.

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We do not want cost to be a barrier to anyone interested in attending this event. For bursary tickets see the link below.


**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 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.

Join us!

Speakers & Facilitators

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).

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.

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.

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 also work 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.

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.

Sam Lee will be opening the conference with an enchanting performance of his song of the Nightingales. He is a highly inventive and original singer, folk song interpreter, a passionate conservationist and a committed song collector. in 2021, Sam releases his debut novel ‘The Nightingale, notes on a songbird’ telling the epic tale of this highly endangered bird and their place in culture folklore, folksong, music and literature throughout the millennia. Sam has shaken up the live music scene, breaking the boundaries between folk and contemporary music and the assumed place and way folksong is heard.  Sam’s helped develop its ecosystem inviting in a new listenership interrogating what the messages in these old songs hold for us today.

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.

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.

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. Her goal is to invite a broader range of perspectives into St Ethelburga’s projects and events. 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.

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…

– Coat of Hopes – Barbara Keal

– Depolarising Conversations for Activists – Ila Malhotra Gregory & Harriet Terrill

– Singing with Sam Lee

– Listening as a Tool for Change – Michael Gibbs

– And more to come.

St Ethelburga's nave, participants eat together.

The plan for the day

The day will begin in song with a performance by folk singer Sam Lee. Then
3 keynotes will follow, first by Kaira Jewel Lingo, a Zen teacher, a former student of Thích Nhất Hạnh’s, and an author; then three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Scilla Elworthy who is a peace builder, an author, and a visionary; and finally, poet and author David Hinton. 

Following a vegetarian lunch, there will be a Q&A with the keynote speakers. Next, we’ll offer a selection of workshops for attendees to choose from. Then, we will hold a panel discussion on the themes of courage and bridging divides and loving Earth.

There will be plenty of space for people to connect and network throughout the day. This is the broad outline of the conference, watch this page for more workshop leaders and panellists’ names to follow. 

Why faith and moral courage?  

This is the culminatory event in St Ethelburga’s year-long enquiry into the themes of faith and moral courage. 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 simple practices that can help with this? 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.**