In 2015, Bristol is the European Green Capital.
Bristol is the first city in the UK to have this title, taking over from Copenhagen. The launch of European Green Capital 2015 happened on January 24th, and was nothing but spectacular: colourful bright umbrellas, a lot of excited supporters, the Mayor and even a stunt involving a cycle on a wire.
The stunt itself was amazing. Jade Kindar-Martin from Cirque Bijou cycled on the tightrope with trapeze artist Karine Mauffrey hanging below. The title of the performance was ‘Bridging the Gap’, to symbolise the difference between our green intentions and our actions. But perhaps we should also think about bridging the gender gap.
The role of the woman in the stunt was rather passive – hanging below the wire, and waiting to be transported to the other side.
This is somewhat telling of the extent to which women are involved in the green agenda, both globally and in Bristol. Research indicates that there is positive synergy between women’s interests and environmental conservation. Numerous development projects around the world are based on this idea. But when it comes to Europe, women are missing in leading roles on environmental issues.
The Jury for the European Green Capital is predominantly male. Its 6 partners, amongst which are the Committee of Regions, or the Convenant of Mayor Office are lead by mean too.
The Bristol 2015 Ambassador is a man – Tony Juniper. The Bristol Green City Partnership became an independent Community Interest Company in 2014, and the team now consists of 8 Board of CIC Directors, only 3 of which are women: Claire Williams, Liz Zeidler, and Nina Skubala.
Being a Green Capital presents us with opportunities to make Bristol a better place to live. But if throughout this year we want to achieve a truly sustainable city for everybody, we need to get the woman off the passively hanging trapeze and onto the bike.
Photos: BBC and Sian Webb