It has been awhile since my last post. I was really busy in December at the UNFCCC conference in Durban and since then have been swamped with work, mainly helping supervise the 1000′s of images that will make up this years World Press Photo Contest. Expect more from me in the next month, including updates on projects and upcoming projects. Until then, a quick post to share a recent publication in the German magazine Dein Spiegel. This is an image of Anjali Appaduri delivering the youth intervention at COP 17.
This guest post is cross-posted from 350.org and written by Anna Keenan detailing our recent experience in Nepal.
I spend most of my time working as a climate campaigner for Greenpeace International in Amsterdam, however for the 2011 global day of climate action – Moving our Planet beyond fossil fuels – I have somehow ended up in Kathmandu, Nepal, with climate-activist photographer Robert van Waarden. I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to write about what “Moving Planet” has been like in this magical (and slightly crazy) city of contrasts!
Today, there was not just one, but three major events in the Kathmandu area.
First – we were up at 5am to make it on the bus to Dulikhel with Small Earth Nepal, a wonderful organization who are working on many aspects of sustainability – from awareness-raising, to scientific methodological training, to promoting biogas in rural villages. Today, 100 people hiked from Dhulikhel to Namo-buddha Monastery – where over 350 young monks are living and learning Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. The monks led our group in a meditation on a Zero-Carbon Future.
Aside from philosophical leadership, these monks are also into practical action. One of the many interesting initiatives at the monastery is the on-site production of heating briquettes from the monastery’s paper waste and agricultural waste. These carbon-neutral briquettes are burnt in place of firewood (which is in short supply) to keep the monastery buildings warm in winter – and because the briquettes burn without smoke, they also improve air quality.
The second event – Nepalese Youth for Climate Action, along with Kathmandu Cycle City 2020, organised a cycle rally with over 120 keen young cyclists participated! In Kathmandu, every intersection is a chaotic, noisy blur of pedestrians, motorcycles, rickshaws, bicycles, taxis, trucks, as well as chickens, dogs and cows, all competing for space. The diesel fumes choke the city and many residents suffer from allergies or skin reactions. Cycling is not only good for the global climate – it could be a great solution to the local air-quality problem, and with no fuel costs, it is affordable – a big concern for most residents! However, the traffic chaos makes cycling a dangerous choice for anyone trying to ‘do the right thing’. Today’s cycle rally promotes the goal of Kathmandu being cycle-friendly within the decade – these young people are campaigning for cycle lanes so that more people can choose to cycle, in safety.
The third event was a fully solar-powered screening of short eco-films from around Nepal, run by Story Cycle. The solar panels charged the batteries during the day, and when the sun set on Patan’s Durbar Square, that renewable energy powered (despite rainy conditions!) a screening of 15 short films, made by young people, about local eco-issues in Nepal and South Asia.
These three events are just the tip of the iceberg (or should I say instead ‘just the edge of a great Himalyan glacier’?) of the Nepali sustainability initiatives that we have had the pleasure of learning about over the last few weeks. With so many different types of climate action happening in one place, and so many inspiring, intelligent young people on the case, a sustainable future for Nepal is looking more likely every moment.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with the Zero Carbon Collective in Amsterdam. A collection of individuals concerned about climate change, the collective strives to Inspire Sustainability Through Creativity. Their launch event, the Zero Carbon Concert, was held November 27, coinciding with the opening of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Cancun, Mexico.
I was eager to help. When I heard that we needed to cycle the bicycle generators from Zeist to Amsterdam, a distance of 50+ km, I knew that was for me. It was a long slog in the snow but we made it and the concert was a huge success. An estimated 200 people attended. They all took turns powering the concert with bike generators to prevent the lights and music from going out. It seems everyone enjoyed the chance to get involved and help run a sustainable concert.
I didn’t forget to document the event and I felt that this was a great opportunity to create a short multimedia piece and try out some time lapse photography. I attached the camera to the huge ‘Bakfiets’ and set it to shoot every 25 seconds. The result, a bumpy ride of 5 hours condensed to about 25secs. Watch the fun little video below to jump through some wonderful Netherlands scenery and catch the story of the Zero Carbon Concert.
Note: My first time lapse, lots learned, hopefully more to come.
In conjunction with the Global Work Party, Cradle to Cradle, a event informing children and adults about sustainability was held today in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The Cradle to Cradle event was packed with kids and families, enjoying the sun, learning about sustainability and creating cool things with recycled materials. The photographs below show kids making wallets from old milk cartons and art from recycled material.
The Global Work Party was organized by 350.org and 10:10 and is being heralded as the world’s largest day of civil action ever. Be sure to hop on over to 350.org for more photography around the world.
This past Saturday, in the little town of Vlaardingen near Rotterdam, an estimated 1500 Scouts gathered to create this aerial image of 10:10. The event was organized by JMA (Jongeren Milieu Actief) in Amsterdam. This is arguably the largest 10:10 image ever recorded and was a lot of fun to create, (at 20 meters in the air). The image reminds us of the goal to stop climate change by reducing emissions by 10% in 2010. It is important that we to get to work during and after the Global Work Party on October 10, 2010.
What are you planning for 10:10? If you are in the Netherlands, check out this site.
In Amsterdam on October 10 a series of workshops will be held at the Dok Huis Gallery @ Plantage Doklaan 8 Amsterdam. Currently the prospective line up is below. If you want to get involved in helping plan either of these workshops or just want to come along, contact me.
- In the POWER workshops, participants will gain practical skills in how to create electric power off the grid.
- In the ART workshops, participants will utilise recycled/waste/sustainable materials to create quality art works.
- In the MUSIC workshops, participants will create instruments with recycled/waste materials.
- In the LIFE workshops, participants will learn how to create sustainable urban gardens and do some shared vegetarian cooking.
I find Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to be an ideal base; it is a central point for international work, it is a hot bed of photography (the World Press, FOAM etc.), it is on the right track for a sustainable lifestyle, and last but not least, the friends and community are amazing.
One of these dear persons is Anna Keenan, an Australian climate activist whose work within the International Youth Climate Movement has been invaluable to the explosion of climate movements across the globe. She is a uber passionate individual who holds the need for climate justice and stopping the impacts of climate change dear to her heart (and on her neck). Without her skills in organizing, her intelligence and her drive, the climate change movement would be a step back. I recently got the opportunity to photograph Anna here in her adopted town of Amsterdam. Enjoy
“Just seeing the future for us and knowing that they [our parents] wanted a better future for us, I have the same feeling for, not myself, but the kids and for my relatives and that something better will be in the future for them, that keeps me going. Knowing that we have succeeded in one step and maybe we can continue on and see a better future for all of us.
[One of] the other things that keeps me going is knowing that one of my great aunts and my great uncles [had] respiratory problems. Their breath was taken away slowly inch by inch, feeling like they were being suffocated. When they died, thinking about them and thinking that how much better it would be for the rest of the people here. I don’t want them to die that way anymore, I want them to be able to breathe.” Fern Benally, Navajo Activist.
Shadia Fayne Wood from Project Survival Media and I just finished an assignment in Arizona, covering an incredible group of activists that are working hard to stop dirty energy on the Navajo Reservation and pushing the envelope on clean energy development. We are focusing on the closing of one of the coal mines in the area, the tactics that were used and what this means to the people affected by the closure.
The former coalmine is in the Benally’s backyard, land that has been the families for thousands of years. For the last 30 years, 24 hours a day, the large coal trucks would rumble by the house and the coal crusher would drown out nature. Now, thanks to incredible co-operation and dedication amongst groups like the Black Mesa Water Coalition, Grand Canyon Trust and the Sierra Club, the life of mine permit was revoked in January. Now, the Benally’s can hear the birds sing and watch the stars like their ancestors did long before Europeans came here.
There are still many examples of environmental racism here in Arizona and across our planet. But, it is important to celebrate victories and share the knowledge so that we can all move towards a sustainable future. More to come on this project in the future.
In 2009, millions of people came together around the world to pressure leaders to sign a legally binding and ambitious deal in Copenhagen. Although the final result in Copenhagen was a failure, 2009 was the year that the climate movement exploded. This energy will carry forward and we will continue to build in numbers until sustainability is achieved.
This multimedia piece looks at the growth of this movement throughout 2009. Take a moment and watch hundreds of those around the world taking action and inspiring others in the fight for climate justice.
All images (unless provided by 350.org) ©Robert van Waarden
Music: Open Road Kisses by The Small Affairs.
The UKYCC PowerShift Conference, held on Oct. 9-12, 2009, brought together over 250 young people from across the United Kingdom and the world to discuss climate change. The conference taught them how to organize, build a social movement and take creative and intelligent action to tackle the climate crisis. The following collection of photographs documents this climate conference and the incredible youth that are taking the fight to politicians and leaders around the UK. To license, click an image or here.
Photographs of PowerShift 09 in Washington. During the last weekend of February, over 10,000 young people descended on Washington D.C for the largest ever conference on climate change and clean energy in the USA.
PowerShift 2009 – Washington D.C – The Full Collection of Images – Images by climate photographer Robert van Waarden.