In Our Element is a poet’s enquiry into climate change. In each episode, Linda France takes an element as a starting point to explore the complexity and challenges of this critical time we live in: Earth, Water, Fire and Air; with, from the Chinese tradition, Wood and Metal; as well as Space and Consciousness, elements that feature in some Buddhist practices. Investigating these help us find common ground to deal with difficult subjects. Is the climate crisis asking for radical system change and a change of hearts and minds? Does it reflect a crisis of the imagination, of consciousness, of global ethics? How might extracting, consuming, travelling and working less benefit our well-being as well as simply bringing down carbon emissions?
Across ten episodes, Linda France talks to activists, engineers, conservationists, academics, thinkers, poets and musicians around the world to hear their take on these questions. Her guests include Pulitzer Prize-winner Jorie Graham in North America, environmental activist John Kinsella in Western Australia and renowned Welsh language poet Menna Elfyn. Indigenous wisdom is discussed with Associate Professor Deborah McGregor in Canada and poet and artist Charmaine Papertalk Green in Australia. Newcastle University’s Professor of Earth Systems Engineering and Director of Research and Innovation Richard Dawson provides a scientific overview for wide-ranging conversations and a reading of their poems on environmental themes by, among others, Colette Bryce, Nancy Campbell, Inua Ellams and Pascale Petit. Contributions also include music: from Joshua Green and his specially commissioned signature song, Northumbrian folk duo The Brothers Gillespie, and Una and Freya, two small girls who added their own big voices to the Fridays for the Future School Climate Strike in September 2019.
In Our Element is a Sonderbug production with New Writing North, in association with Newcastle University. It also airs on Resonance FM and several local radio stations nationwide throughout October and November.