As the UN climate conference culminates today in Copenhagen, there seem to be lots of angry people in the Danish capital. Many civil society and environmental activists, and some journalists, have been frustrated by the inter-governmental bickering process and the occasionally tough crowd control measures by the Danish police.
As author and activist Naomi Klein wrote at the end of the first week: “By the end, around 1,100 people had been arrested. That’s just nuts. Saturday’s march of roughly 100,000 people came at a crucial juncture in the climate negotiations, a time when all signs point either to break down or a dangerously weak deal. The march was festive and peaceful but also tough. ‘The Climate Doesn’t Negotiate’ was the message, and Western negotiators need to head it.”
I’m not in Copenhagen for uptodate news, but the 5,000+ journalists and over 10,000 activists are keeping us well informed on what’s happening (or not happening). Perhaps part of their anger can be dissipated by heeding a creative call to Dance for the Climate.
It’s an alternative way of demonstration, made into an inspiring and hopeful video clip by award winning Belgian film director Nic Balthazar. It shows 12 000 people on a Belgium beach in a truly spectacular simultaneous choreography dancing to the U2 hit single ‘Magnificent’. Bono and his band graciously gave the rights to their music. The message of the clip to politicians in Copenhagen is to ‘start moving, together, before it’s too late. The time is now to change climate change’.
In a recent email, Seppe Verbist, handling international distribution of “Dance for the Climate” clip, wrote: “We believe that the chances of success of the UN Conference are influenced by the clear signals from ordinary people to their politicians. The ‘Dance for the Climate-clip’ wants to contribute to this, and we sincerely hope we can count on your support!”
According to her, the clip has been released three weeks ago and they are now trying to spread it worldwide. In Europe the distribution goes pretty well as the European Broadcasters Network (EBU) offered the clip to all her members. They are picking up the offer and integrating the clip into their Copenhagen content. In Canada weather forecasters from different broadcast networks are organizing an imitation of Dance For The Climate, and the clip will be shown 24/7 at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai in the Meteo World Pavilion. They’re expecting 100 000 visitors every day for six months. The Al Gore Climate Project also supported the clip and shared it with their network. It’s been on TV in Brazil and Mexico as well.
Dancing can be a powerful way to express not just joy, but a range of emotions. One of my favourite calls to action came from Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian poet, author, environmentalist and minority rights activist (for his Ogoni people) who was executed by Nigeria’s military on 10 November 1995. While in jail facing an uncertain future, he wrote these momentous words:
“Dance your anger and your joys,
Dance the military guns to silence,
Dance oppression and injustice to death,
Dance my people,
For we have seen tomorrow
And there is an Ogoni star in the sky.”
And today, we must also dance for saving our climate.