Seed Gifting

On 30th October 1909, Suffragette Rose Lamartine Yates planted an Monterey Pine sapling in the Suffragette Arboretum in Batheaston to commemorate those involved in the hard-fought campaigns for women’s equality. This Monterey Pine is the only tree that remains standing today, and has become a touchstone for inspiration through Walking Forest, and we have been gifting its seeds of courage, survival and hope to todays Earth protectors.

In December 2018, COP24 Climate Talks in Katowice provided the inspiration for Walking Forest to ‘gift’ a seed of Rose’s tree to change-makers there. 

The idea gained momentum during our early encounters with climate lawyer Farhana Yamin, now a close Walking Forest collaborator. She suggested the seed needed ‘protecting’, and soon after the launch of Extinction Rebellion in October 2018, we met at her house to sew small bags in which the seed could travel. Tucking single seeds inside small boxes on miniature beds of wool, with a story folded inside that told the seed’s story and how to plant and germinate it, each box then had a beautiful ‘gift’ bag to be initialed with each giftee’s name. 

We went to COP24 at the instigation of Marda Kirn of U.S. based EcoArts Connections as artist observers, and with Julie’s Bicycle where we met faith leaders, ministers and activists. Travelling by train, we devised a short ceremony acknowledging the connections the seed could make through time and place to the courage being demonstrated by change makers the world over.  

Once there Farhana made introductions for us to delegates, officiants, lawyers and negotiators inside the talks. She’d attended all 30 years of ‘COPs’, and took on the role of gifting a seed to Executive Secretary of UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa. Our collaboration with Farhana continued through the COP26 in Glasgow  2021, around the Climate Change Conference in Bonn June 2023, and is ongoing.

In both scheduled encounters that took weeks of planning and others improvised on the spot, we created a 6 minute ritual to enact with each ‘giftee’. We told the story of Rose and her last standing Suffragette tree, and asked people if they’d like a gift of a seed.  The seed catalysed an intimate act of exchange which made space for the non-human, amidst the dizzying scale of talks hosting 30,000 people from all over the world – albeit in windowless buildings under strip lighting.

When people accept the gift of the seed, we ask them to close their eyes, breathe and be quiet for a while, then to hold their hands out, when we place the seed box in their hands. After a moment of silence, we ask them to reflect on the intention with which the seed was planted by Rose, a Suffragette imprisoned 100 years ago. To reflect on how the seed connected back to the campaign for the struggle for Votes for Women, to today, the work our giftees are doing themselves, forward to the future, and to the strongly held intentions to bring about change. We hope the seed’s tininess potential gives them courage and fortitude for the work they are doing.

These close human exchanges with strangers are humbling and remain so, for gifting continues. In a few still minutes it’s possible to make space for something rich and encouraging, as though handing back to people their own emotional strength, courage and trust in nature’s potential for restoration and renewal.

Whether or not these seeds are planted as our own have been, they keep a line of sight on the potential to plant new forests and new dreams that can seed and bring change in the world, even if it takes 100 years.

The Radicle Sisters seedlings

Seed Giftees

December 2018:

COP24 at Krakow, Poland, 7th Dec: 

Quaker United Nations Office in the lobby near Information Zone, 8th Dec:

  • Dr. Achala C. Abeysinghe
    Legal and Strategic Advisor, LDC, Quaker United Nations Office near Information Zone B
  • Isabel Cavelier Adarve
    The Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean, AILAC by Information desk Zone B with baby daughter Gabriella from Colombia
  • Jennifer Morgan
    Executive Director Greenpeace International in Information Lobby, by potted plant, based in Holland
  • Michael Northrop
    Program Director Sustainable Development, middle of lobby
  • Ruha Matin 
    Executive Assistant to the CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Sustainable Energy for All  

Dec 9th:

Dec 10th:

  • Tamsin Omond
    Author, activist and communications & campaigns strategist
    Outside the Park Inn Radisson Hotel Katowice
  • Farhana Yamin
    Lawyer, IPCC report author and activist
    Farhana Yamin Delegation of the Marshall Islands

Climate Vulnerable Forum Expert Advisory Group by Christmas tree in the lobby of the Park Inn Hotel, Radisson Katowice:

Walking Forest Vigil, Batheaston, UK, Dec 21st

  • Eileen Paddock
    Retired midwife, Eagle Park

February, 2019:

  • Jay Jordan
    Artist, author, activist
    St James Church Clerkenwell at the Edge 30th celebrations. Feb 4th 9pm
  • Jasmine Salter
    in XR office Feb 27th 2019 by window
  • Gail Bradbrook
    Extinction Rebellion Co-Founder
    In XR office Feb 27th 2019 in sunny corner by window filmed by elder April

July, 2019:

  • John & Anne Newling
    public artist – under a tree in a Nottingham garden, 2 July 2019
  • Margaret Ben-Tovim
    Women’s Movement and CND Activist, Liverpool

November, 2019:

March, 2020:

October, 2021:

  • Anne Langford
    Member of the Walking Forest team Coventry October 17th 2021
    Under a Yew tree in St John’s Churchyard. The day after Performance Action in Coventry (Oct 15/16th)
  • Amanda Roberts
    Green Futures, Coventry City of Culture October 17th 2021
    Under a Yew tree in St John’s Churchyard. The day after Performance Action in Coventry (Oct 15/16th)

November, 2021:

COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland

  • Little Amal
    10 year old girl puppet refugee walked from Syria to Glasgow; Good chance Theatre
    The Bowling Green Pollockshields, Glasgow
  • Sarra Wassu
    Volunteer for the John Muir Trust Glasgow – Climate activist
  • Dorothy Graham
    In Galagel office, 15 Fairley Street, Glasgow

Climate Justice and Trust Transition Donor Collaborative (CJJT) High Level Event, Weds Nov 3rd, in Scottish Power Headquaters

During Walking Forest, Performance Action, Friday Nov 5th, in public, in George Square, Glasgow. 

Under The Canopy of a Felled Tree and following Declaration of Govan Free State, Glasgow.

  • Cindy Queuedo Dulro
    Seed saver, seed protector, from Chile
    At the Briggait Friday 5th November
  • Jean Cameron
    Creative Producer and Taproot friend of WF
    Saturday 6th Nov, after Climate Justice March, outside The Tron Theatre

At Kelburn Castle – 7th Nov, during COP26 and on a day of ‘Yew Immersion’ and celebration of COP26 Connectors, initiated by Farhana Yamin and held by many:

Decmber 2021:

After Tree Planting Ceremony on Floyd’s Field, Sunday Dec 12th 2021

Walking Forest Anchor Women – Coventry 

Jane Clark, Becky Taylor, Lorraine Masiya Mponela, Amanda Haran, Alice Khimasia, Mel Smith, Gemma Musgreaves, Sabz Qazi, Sanaa Cheruvallil, Martina Irwin, Sherrie Edgar, Heather Parker, Lisa Franklin, Birgit Kehrer

June, 2023:

Climate Justice Just Transition Donor Collaborative (CJJT), Youth Regranters gathering and UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn, Germany:

Shamiso Mucha – Founder Green Canopy Envrio-care

Angelina Ndungu – (formerly) Senior Project Manager ADESO

Yasmin Ahammad – co-managing director – Impatience Earth 

Chandelle O’NeilCJJT Jedi Fellow, Sustainable Energy Systems Designer and Human Rights Advocate 

Laurel Kivuyo – founder – Climate Hub Tanzania and Climate Youth Envoy for the Southern Africa Youth Forum 

Sylvain Ferriere – Co Founder HERO Labs

Karishma AnsaramRepresentative Youngo

Sabrina Guzman SkotnitskyAssociate, Youth Climate Lab

Katherine Buckland – CJJT

Leia Booth – CJJT

Archana SorengCJJT Jedi Fellow, Member of United Nations Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. 

Nathan Metenier – Youth Climate Justice Fund

Paloma Costa CJJT Jedi Fellow, Youth4COP30

Desmond Alugnoa – Co Founder, Green Africa Youth Organisation (GAYO)

Shumirai Zishou – Programmes and Research Associate, Southern Africa Trust

Chirstabel Phiri – Executive Manager & Head of Policy and Programmes Southern Africa Trust

Majandra Rodriguez – Co-executive Director FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund

Illyasha Peete – Chief of Equity, Justice & Culture ClimateWorks Foundation

David Lönnberg – Program Operations Coordinator Global Centre for Climate Mobility 

Ishraq Osman – Founder Me&YouTH

Brian Kibuthu – Africa Youth Climate Assembly

Movement Building Dinner & Dialogue On A Boat Down The Seine:

Marie-Claire Graf – Co-founder Youth Negotiators Academy (YNA) + Vina

Yolando Velasco – Lead Climate Finance Team of the secretariat of the UNFCCC 

Hafij Khan – Environmental Lawyer & LDC Lead Negotiator for Loss and Damage

Justina Aurea Belo – New Generation Program & Loss and Damage Collaboration

Dominique Souris – CJJT

June 5-7th 2023:

At COP meetings Lucy Neal with Farhana Yamin:

Paul Watkinson Senior Adviser to CEO for COP28 Dubai. Former chair of UNFCCC/SBSTA, preparation and negotiation of the Paris Agreement

Joshua Amponsem Founder Green Africa Youth Organisation and Co-director Youth Climate Justice Fund (at retreat also CJJT)

Julie-Anne Richards -known as ‘JAR’  – Ex – exec dir CAN Australia. Finance / loss & damage

Alden Meyer Senior Associate at E3G; US lead for the International Climate Politics Hub

Selamawit Desta Wubet Global Center on Adaptation; Global Lead on CVF (Climate Vulnerable Forum)

Mohamed Adow  Founder, Director of Power Shift Africa. Climate Justice Advocate

Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne Scientist/Founder New Climate Institute

Laetitia De Marez Senior Principal/Director leading RMI’s Climate Finance Access Network (CFAN)

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International (CAN)

Preety Mahoira Bhandat – Senior Advisor, Global Climate Program and the Finance Center, World Resources Institute 

Yamide Dagnet – Formarly Open Society Foundations – by the fountain at Martim Hotel.

 

Saleemul Huq

Saleemul Huq

Cecilia Malik

Cecylia Malik

John Jordan

John Jordan

Skeena Rathor

Skeena Rathor

Skeena Rathor

Carol Excell

Skeena Rathor

Francisca Solari

Skeena Rathor

Mary Culhane

Skeena Rathor

Shani So

Skeena Rathor

Masego Madzwamusa

Skeena Rathor

Isabella Nero

Skeena Rathor

Jean Cameron

Skeena Rathor

Brian Kibuthu

Skeena Rathor

Laurel Kivuyo

Skeena Rathor

Yasmin Ahammad

Skeena Rathor

Archana Sorent

Skeena Rathor

Dominique Souris

Skeena Rathor

Archana Sorent

Skeena Rathor

Justina

Skeena Rathor

Marie-Clare + Vina

Skeena Rathor

Harjeet Singh

Skeena Rathor

Julia Ann Richardson (JAR)

Skeena Rathor

Mohamed Adow

Skeena Rathor

Paul Watkinson

Skeena Rathor

Selamawit Desta Wubet

Skeena Rathor

Little Amal

Skeena Rathor
Kelihiano Kalolo

Kelihiano Kalolo

Farhana Yamin

Farhana Yamin

Dorothy Naitore

Dorothy Naitore

Skeena Rathor

Asad Rehman

Skeena Rathor

Dorothy Graham

Skeena Rathor

Dulma Clark

Skeena Rathor

Manuela Benini

Skeena Rathor

Tasneem Essop

Skeena Rathor

Belen Pelez

Skeena Rathor

Kay Michael

Skeena Rathor

Sarah Wassu

Skeena Rathor

Majandra Rodriguez

Skeena Rathor

Angelina Nduaga

Skeena Rathor

Desmond Alugnoa

Skeena Rathor

Hafij Khan

Skeena Rathor

Lando Valasco

Skeena Rathor

Paloma Costa

Skeena Rathor

Shumirai Zishou

Skeena Rathor

Shamiso Mucha

Skeena Rathor

Joshua Amponsem

Skeena Rathor

Laetitia De Merez

Skeena Rathor

Niklas Hohne

Skeena Rathor

Preety Mahoira Bhandat

Skeena Rathor

Yasmind Magret