Lhavanya and I started off the day with a round table session at the World Conference Center. It was pretty intense and we definitely had a lot to say about it (hint: stay tuned for more!) but we didn’t stay until the session ended because we were going off to another event happening in the city – the Climate March.
The Climate March
The Climate March is a demonstration to fight against the “greenwashing” of the German government. It aims to shed light on the fact that, contrary to Germany’s amazing “green advocate” image at the international level, 52.7% of German energy production is from natural gas, hard coal, and lignite coal. As the COP conference venue is only a few kilometers away from one of the most polluting coal mine regions in Europe, the march was held to draw attention to the coal mine. The message of the march is clear and succinct: End Coal! The people marching are fighting for a complete phase-out of coal and they want the government to speed up the energy transition in Germany.
Arts at the March
The march was from 12.00 pm – 4.30 pm, and the demonstration had four stops, starting from Munsterplatz and ending in Heussallee, where the World Conference Center (Bula Zone) is situated. Once we reached there, we were amazed by the energy of the crowd. There were balloons of green and red with people raising their signage high and protesting against the coal industry. In the middle of the plaza, there was a huge inflatable of the globe topped with a coal factory emitting dark clouds of the German Chancellor – Angela Merkel. It was an amazing piece of art, demonstrating the people’s strong disagreement with the government’s decision on keeping the coal industry.
At the last station, there was a stage where speeches are given and music played. The crowd gathered in solidarity for the final moments of the march. There were booths by environmental NGOs displaying their work at the venue. One of the art that caught my attention the most was the “Freedom to Pollute (and Trump)”. The art included a 6-meter high replica of the Statue of Liberty emitting smoke from the torch and the document she holds reads ‘Freedom to Pollute’. According to the artist, the sculpture symbolizes the conflict between the western world’s concept of freedom (the unlimited desire that drives consumption and thus production) and the concern for climate and the planet. The art wishes to pose the question of ‘do we have the right to live the way we do?’ Along with the sculpture was a man wearing a Donald Trump mask, an obvious burn to the Trump administration’s position on climate change issues.
I was fortunate to be able to talk to some of the participants. They were passionate about their fight against climate change and they believe in the power of the people in making a change. Most of them are from Germany, and one is from the village near to the coal mine. He was very passionate in the fight against the phasing out of the coal because he can directly feel the pain of the coal mine destroying the forest.
At the end of the march, Lhavanya and I were able to grab hold of the giant CO2 balloons that were distributed. We took a small climate action by taking it on the tram, attracting passengers to the CO2 we were holding. And that was how easy a climate action could be. Raising awareness on climate change is taking one small step at a time.
Written by Xiandi
Edited by Varun