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Lord Mayor launches RE[act] festival ahead of COP26

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Date: 08 Oct 2021

Category: Climate and biodiversity


Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl has welcomed the launch of Linen Quarter Bid’s RE[act] festival.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl has welcomed the launch of Linen Quarter Bid’s RE[act] festival.

The new festival, which seeks to inspire a more sustainable Belfast will take place from Tuesday 2 November until Friday 12 November and coincide with COP26 in Glasgow.  

Organised by Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID) with funding support from Belfast City Council and Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA), RE[act] will inspire all industries and all walks of life including decision makers, business owners, environmental enthusiasts and families to respond to the global climate crisis.

Running alongside the UN’s COP26 Summit, RE[act] will demonstrate that although there are challenges ahead, there are opportunities that the city can grasp. Attendees at more than 20 events taking place throughout the two-week festival will learn that by working collectively, Belfast can have an immediate positive impact. Each day of the festival has been assigned a dedicated theme and topics such as Finance, Energy, Youth & Public Empowerment, Nature, Travel, Food and Fashion will be covered.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “LQ BID should be commended as RE[act], in its alignment with COP26 allows Belfast to harness its skill and creativity and come together during a particularly important two weeks of engagement around the global crisis. It’s wonderful that the RE[act] programme has been purposefully designed to encourage participation from everyone in our city and I look forward to increasing my own knowledge through its varied events.”

Managing Director of LQ BID, Chris McCracken said: “RE[act] encourages us all to make a positive change. RE[act] Festival can’t propose a solution to every problem, but we have provided the focus to make a difference and inspire Belfast. Cities are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and urban activity is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We all have a role to play and by collaborating, Belfast can lead the way. Collective thought brought many innovations throughout lockdown showing that there are solutions despite the challenges ahead.”

RE[act] will offer businesses across the city the opportunity to connect with an impressive list of global brand leaders and acclaimed keynote speakers, and network with international delegates from across Europe.

Carol Lemmens of ARUP’s Amsterdam team will lead an opening event discussing how Belfast can develop a more circular economy through how individuals live their lives, how organisations conduct their business and how city stakeholders should plan development.

Sarah Longlands, Chief Executive of Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), will chair a workshop style session on Community Wealth Building which will offer participants the chance to discover what inequalities across the city may mean both for Belfast’s societal wellbeing and long-term sustainability.

An interactive two-day virtual hackathon hosted by Ulster Bank’s Entrepreneurship team will see students think up innovative ideas to solve a climate-focused challenge and a panel of three female entrepreneurs will talk honestly about their business experiences as sustainable fashion designers.

The festival is a key milestone in LQ BID’s sustainable district programme – a vision that will transform the Linen Quarter into Northern Ireland’s most advanced quarter for sustainable innovation, investment and positive social impact.  To date, with support from Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and Belfast City Council, LQ BID has put many initiatives in motion, including green energy, climate awareness training, sustainable waste management, and its pioneering parklet - providing a green oasis at Linenhall Street.

Belfast City Council's Climate Commissioner Debbie Caldwell said: “We’re delighted to see businesses and organisations taking the lead in moving Belfast to a more sustainable resource-efficient circular economy. Not only does this make businesses more competitive, it helps Belfast on its journey to becoming an inclusive, net-zero emissions, climate resilient economy in a generation.”

Some of the family highlights throughout the RE[act] programme include; a nature walk south of the city is being hosted by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and will open eyes up to the importance of protecting areas in the city that could house a plethora of wildlife. A two-day contemporary art project, open to all members of public, will take place at Queen’s University, offering the chance to contribute to a striking piece of art made from discarded items and Belfast City Council will host a documentary screening on the Belfast Barge which will focus on the consequences of food waste and provide inspiration for cooking with leftovers. Attendees will receive a recipe book along with some helpful tools to help reduce food waste at home such as rice measures and bag clips.

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