Climate dancing in Belgian-Bollywood style and positive green energy
Published 01st October 2009 - 8 comments - 2817 views -
I found myself lying on the beach that day, imitating a 'sand angel' drawing my wings by cautious waving in the itching sand. Along with me, over 12 000 human bodies executed the same movement, again and again, under the guarding eyes of several giant cameras. “We are doing this for the climate,” I mumbled to my boyfriend who was lying half a meter away from me, in the same uncomfortable position, performing his ‘fallen butterfly’ in a fashion that looked more aggravated with every sand grain that entered his shirt. This is the kind of action we, Belgians, take against climate change. We roll in the sand, move our bodies in curving shapes and dance to manipulate the climate Gods… and – even though it itches sometimes- the Big Ask Again might work.
It was late summer in Belgium, 29th of August. I just came back from an Interrail summer trip around Europe and was glad to be ‘home’ again. Some days before, my mom sent me an enthusiastic email all the way to Budapest. After the success video The Big Ask, produced in the summer of 2008, with the help of 6000 people forming human protest slogans on the beach, the Climate Coalition (environmental organizations like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, etc. joining forces) and the Belgian film director Nic Balthazar decided to organize an even more impressive event: The Big Ask Again. My mother had it from the television. The commercial channel, can you imagine? If even they promote it, it should be something huge. At least it was reason enough for my mom to let the message cross borders.
However, I couldn’t help feeling skeptic about the whole action. What a difference can a crowd of people make by driving (in my case by train, but I am sure several people came by car) all the way to the coast in order to spend one afternoon dancing more or less synchronically to furious rhythms and obeying the orders of the movie director on stage? Nic Balthazar answered me that day by turning the question around: “Will doing nothing change the world?” He was carrying a little girl in his arms, the main character of his first climate videoclip. She stayed calm under all the media attention but after hearing Nic repeating his story for the tenth time to curious journalists like me, she ran off to play with other children and practice the dance. Nic Balthazar smiled and went on with a continuous conviction in his voice: “When you talk about climate change, everyone now more or less agrees that yes, there is a problem. But now the second kind of problem is that we are trapped in a cramp of anxiety. What we need now is to come out of that cramp and start doing something”. The film director chose to spread his message by pooling people up from all over Belgium: let’s act now, dance now. “We need positive energy, too long they have been calling us in the negative side. Oh, those green people, they don’t want this, don’t want that. It is time for that image to change.” The final result will be available through multiple online sources in October 2009. But here you can already get an impression:
Maybe my body smelled like sea, my hair was a breezy mess and I even felt sand in my underpants, but I danced till the bitter end. Nic and his film crew could be proud of us…and the 12000 other voluntary dancers. And oh, how delicious did that vegan eggplant sandwich taste afterwards. I was glad to flavor the idealism of this event: all food provided was animal free, fair trade and organic, ranging from banana smoothies to seitan gyros. Next to the beach booths of renewable energy providers and ecologically friendly detergent companies handed out free samples of Ecover and seduced with green=looking folders. In the meanwhile Climate Coalition volunteers waved with leaflets regarding the objectives for Copenhagen. The Big Ask Again knows how to walk the talk.
The Climate Coalition calls on Belgian and European decision-makers to make the upcoming United Nations climate summit a success.
We believe that the success of the negotiations can be measured by the extent to which the following objectives are attained:
- A binding international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Targets based on the most recent scientific report from the IPCC.
- Action to limit average global warming to a level well below 2°C (compared with the beginning of the industrial era).
- Transfer of substantial resources to developing countries, given the historic responsibility of the industrialized countries for causing global warming. These resources must take account of the specific situation of each country and the action which it can take to reduce its carbon emissions (for example, the fight against deforestation in a country like Brazil). The transfer of resources must also be proportional to the scale of the consequences of climate change on developing countries. And, finally, such resources must obviously be additional to official development assistance (and not replacing it).
- A fair and socially just agreement.
- Urgent implementation of the agreement.
- Action to be taken above all in the industrialized countries themselves, in accordance with a sustainable development model.
About the author
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