Bristol officially launched its year as the 2015 European Green Capital on Saturday 24th January. It was a cold but clear, starlit night. Two large, green buildings caught my eye from afar. The high-wire act was spectacular. It seemed an apt choice for the supreme balancing act required by climate change. The launch event was entitled "Bridging the Gap".
I made my way on foot to the Cumberland Basin Bridge, overlooking the event. The song "It's complicated" played loudly on the tannoy system. Multi-coloured luminous umbrellas moved in the crowd below. Ecological messages played between songs. The logo "In it for good" was projected onto the green-lit building.
Decisions and actions
An EU Commission representative officially handed the title to Bristol's two youth mayors. They spoke of their hopes for the year and future. Bristol is to set an example to the rest of Britain in a momentous year. It will be a critical year for the world too. Difficult decisions and vital actions lie ahead on climate change and urban renewal.
Suddenly, a luminous figure could be seen on high. Next, the main figure appeared, balancing on his bike with a pole. A "UFO" hovered above with green and red lights. (A camera drone?) Halfway across progress slowed. The pole wobbled deeply from side to side. The bike even went backwards for a time. The tightrope act continued forward in an uphill struggle to the other building. Success. The crowd applauded. The umbrellas turned to green below. All too soon the launch event was over.
Green childhood memories
I continued back towards Bristol's famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. They had doubted that the great engineer and innovator Brunel could bridge the gap over the Avon Gorge. The iconic bridge brings back childhood memories for me. It is close to The Downs, one of Bristol's great green spaces. There I ran and laughed. I played hide and seek and ball games. I climbed trees. I practised my cartwheels and did wheelbarrows with my family.
When I visit Bristol today, I notice the changes. The locals complain about the traffic, poor air quality and transport problems. In London, I complain about those same inconveniences. As a local resident, you notice the daily problems more than the incremental changes. I remember the seemingly never-ending tube engineering works in preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London. They did London proud in the end.
Brunel's bridge has stood the test of time.
May Bristol's green legacy stand the test of time.
Karen Andrews runs
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