Songs for Our Fragile Earth
By Kim Barlow
Friday, September 20, was a big day around the world. It was the launch of an intense week of global activism focused on climate change, urging governments to act. Here in the Valley we did our part. Glooscap Elementary School planted trees for their new outdoor classroom, Acadia University students led a climate strike from campus through town, and at the Wolfville Farmers Market, a very special afternoon helped get people in the spirit of hope and inspiration.
Celes and Sue Davar came to our community not long ago, but have contributed a great amount of energy and strength here in a short time. Celes has a science background, worked for Parks Canada for many years, and now runs a slow-tourism company called Earth Rhythms. He is also a passionate voice for social justice and environmental efforts. Tim Fisk is a local musician and audiologist frustrated with the lack of climate action from leaders and, overcoming his introverted nature, thought of something he could do. A couple of months ago, Celes and Tim came up with an idea, and worked tirelessly to make it happen. It did happen, in a seamless, ecstatic flow from beginning to end.
Celes contacted Terra Spencer and I a month or two ago and asked if we’d run the songwriting part of this event. We got together and planned our approach by sketching songs, with music, a verse, and a chorus. On the day, we led two groups with a range of participants including elementary school-age kids, university students, working farmers, worried parents, artists, and retirees. We completed our songs: “All In” and “It’s Not About Me,” and performed them for the supper crowd, which was caught on film and can be viewed on Vimeo and Facebook (search for Celes Davar or Our Fragile Earth Songs). We’re currently making plans to reunite the groups and record the songs at Tim Fisk’s studio.
The event was a great example of community building, with all the key components: food, art, laughter, inclusivity, respect, collaboration, singing and dancing. In Celes’ words:
“[On Friday Sept. 20], our community gathered in Wolfville, following a major #FridaysforFuture climate action event that went from Acadia University down the streets of Wolfville to an event that we called Our Fragile Earth Musical Gathering and Experience. A huge team of volunteers and partners stepped up to make this event happen – seamlessly! Thank you.
We heard perspectives from Extinction Rebellion members, an Acadia University student, and then we collaborated in the development, singing, and recording of two new songs of hope and inspiration with stellar Nova Scotia songwriters Kim Barlow and Terra Spencer.
Throughout the day, volunteers prepped a supper menu including two soups, a salad, and delicious dessert, accompanied by pita breads cooked in the Front Street Community Oven, and featuring foods and ingredients from local area producers. A seasonally fresh apple crisp rounded out this fall harvest supper that over 100 people attended. An unexpected appearance of the Raging Grannies singing climate resistance protest songs was followed after supper with four sing-a-long protest songs of well-known melodies adapted to fit the climate change resistance theme.
And, finally, a full evening of dancing with The Melberns to well-recognized musical favourites done in their distinctive style.
We shared our grief and concerns about the climate crisis; collaborated on songs of hope and inspiration; gathered with our community in one of the best community spaces in Wolfville, broke bread together, and expressed our joy and emotions of hope in dance. Oh, What a Day, as we kicked off a week of global climate action right here in the Annapolis Valley, with folks attending from Windsor to Annapolis Royal, Canning and all parts in between. Thanks for coming everyone! This is just the beginning. Change is coming.”
Photo credits: ©CelesDavar2019