A couple of years ago, a group of us came together who were involved either as researchers or campaigners or journalists in communicating climate change and poverty issues. We all agreed that we'd done a good job over a couple of decades of telling a story about how very grim all of these individual one-off issues were. But we also agreed we'd done nothing to equip people with an escape route.
We were leaving people that we'd worked with no sense of the exhilaration, the creativity, the opportunity that there is in a moment. One of the problems was the way we were framing these issues as one-off or individual issues. We wanted to represent the moment we’re in as glued together, connected. And of course once you do that, you see that if you begin to resolve challenges and problems in one area, you’re beginning to roll out possibilities in others.
So the phrase Interdependence Day was thrown out into the conversation, and we lit on it as a way of showing that you can’t think about climate change and development and peace as separate issues, you have to thread them together. And we found that just the term interdependence provokes people to think in a more rounded way.
Interdependence Day was meant to put a slightly different frame to give a different sense of energy to these conversations. One of the ways we wanted to do that was simply with a public event. A time when people could come together, maybe not a general public, maybe people who are a bit more engaged – pressure group, academic, student – who were feeling like they were running on empty, and give them a day when they could taste a whole range of things, from performance and art, through to lectures from fantastic people, through to small group workshops where they’d actually be able to say their own piece.
And, actually, the feedback we've had last year and this is that people really want this kind of opportunity.
- Joe Smith was talking as an introduction to Interdependence Day 2007