Cool People Help a Warm Planet
Community Life & the Climate Conference Preparation
With global warming and climate change showing to be one of the most pressing issues of this century, a very precise response is needed and this starts with each one of us. DRH Lindersvold held a Climate Conference at the beginning of October, primarily for students and teachers from our partner schools in Denmark. The headline of the conference; Cool People Help a Warm Planet (the program is attached for inspiration)
The main idea of the conference was to move from theoretical knowledge to taking individual and collective ACTION. Through the conference we planned to meet people who ACT at community level, and who thereby make influence and inspire. The conference would include a whole day of cycling around the city of Copenhagen which is well known for progressive policies on renewable energy, promoting the use of bikes through cycle lanes all over the city and making the city an area for people with numerous city gardens and public spaces for people. The conference would also include formulating questions, documenting experiences, speeches to the conference and from the conference, workshops, all ending with individual commitments.
It was the Common Meeting at DRH Lindersvold that would make the Climate Conference happen. The Common Meeting is a place – physically a meeting – where students and teachers from our school meet, debate and take action to make the conditions in the school and programs optimal for each person and for the community as a whole. There are many examples of agenda elements for the common meeting that include discussing how to carry out the programs in the best way, presentations from the teams about status of studies, preparing big events, organizing how to run the school in connection with areas that students and teachers are specifically responsible for such as food and making a policy for the food, cleaning and making good systems for how to clean, and decisions how to develop the garden farm.
So it was the common meeting that would organize the Climate Conference. Some preparations had been made earlier, but together in the common meeting we had five intensive days of action to make it all happen. The students took ownership of the program for the conference and this was essential to getting down to plan the details.
Four groups were formed with each their tasks: (1) media, (2) food,(3) conference hall, decoration, accommodation, and (4) transport and workshops. Essentially each group also had other smaller tasks on their task list. Each day we met twice per day – going through the lists, putting up questions, solving problems, defining challenges, adding yet more tasks to the lists. The ambitions of each group were high. At times, the Common Meeting questioned whether it was realistic for a group to get all things done, but with optimism, hard work and late nights – most results were reached. It was touching and exciting for all of us to be part of this extended Common Meeting. Each day we met with a spirit of good mood, enthusiasm and creativity. All around the school we met actions, debates and discussions that were going on in all corners.
We went through the long task list and the common meeting added on heaps more tasks, some that were missing but others that would come to represent a higher quality of the program including:
- Dumpster diving (collecting ‘waste’ products from the bins of supermarkets) which meant we could supply an abundance of fresh fruits throughout the whole program with zero cost
- Creation of a Facebook page for the event where all from the schools could follow the preparation process and get inspired
- Using google drive as an paperless organisation system which meant that during the preparation and conference very little paper was used and there was a common place where each person could put their photos (we now have loads of really good pictures)
- Fundraising for trees and bushes so we could plant for free during the workshops.
Not once did any group complain or put down the quality or ambition defined – they fought good and hard and were proud of their achievements and those of each other. The Climate Conference started with all things in place, with beautiful decorations including a 2 by 1 meter nature painting that came from a night-long effort, the sports hall converted to conference hall for 110 people, delicious food (mostly vegan), good speeches, bikes rented and cycling vests with hand-printed climate conference logos, maps ready, appointments made, workshops prepared by each school who attended. The story of the conference itself is another beautiful story that I will not tell here in too many details but we were really happy to have presentations from different organizations and community groups who gave input and inspiration to the conference: UFF Denmark, Tagtomat (Roof Tomatoes), Bølgemarken, Taastrup Energy Centre, WeFood and The Food Bank.
We ended the Conference with around 70 people making individual commitments about what they will secure at their schools according to reducing CO2 and in which ways they will mobilize more people. The Climate Conference 2017 will run for the next year until the conference in 2018, and each school will define Climate Ambassadors to keep the momentum running.
Last but not least, the Common Meeting from DRH Lindersvold will continue to follow up and secure that all that was promised, and all the potential from the conference have does not turn to a pile of dust, but that the ripples keep on moving outwards, with new ones being generated.
During this Common Meeting we all learned, we surpassed expectations, we made the conference happen, trust deepened and we grew much closer which will lead to more intense debates, actions and decisions in common meetings to come.