Taking the call to organise a local action to #RiseForClimate in Bergen less than two weeks ahead of September 8 turned out to be deeply rewarding. As a researcher working on the governance of energy transitions, this was a particularly meaningful and energising experience. Several local climate and energy groups got in touch, we self-organised and it all came together beautifully, with a generous and team-spirited vibe.
On September 8 we had a lot of competition for attention because Bergen had a ‘bydag’ (city day). This meant lots of consumerist sales and gimmicky activities all over the centre of the city. But this also meant a lot of people were out on this sunny day. Our stall got noticed and we had lots of engaging conversations. We realised how much people value a simple conversation about urgent social and environmental issues compared to plain consumerism. Our event closed with swapping beautiful stories about our own motivations.
The hours we spent together hosting stalls featured some poems on climate change that we read aloud and shared as handouts. Our ongoing and upcoming activities focus on how to move towards a sustainable energy future in Bergen. The most notable goal is a concerted push towards making decarbonisation a major public issue. Norway is the world’s third largest exporter of gas and 13th largest exporter of oil.
Norway’s biggest illusionist in the background of our challenge to the illusion that we aren’t in the climate and energy danger zone #RiseForClimate Bergen! pic.twitter.com/upLDiUguc5
— Siddharth Sareen (@sidsareen) September 8, 2018
– event ontology as reflective verse by Siddharth Sareen
A thousand events all over the earth
Eighth September twenty eighteen
A chance to share what we have birthed
The biggest movement ever seen.
A movement for our energy future
A call to address climate change
To value, cherish, nourish, nurture
And heal our generation’s pains.
On western Norway’s remote shores
We gathered amidst this turmoil
To challenge prevalent social mores
Take a stand against Arctic oil.
To engage a larger audience
Of people who care but do not know
The need for public defiance
We aimed to tell, and yes, to show
What we are already trying to do
And ways others can get involved
To build on a base of what is true
Crack problems that must be solved.
Yet that weekend ‘city day’
Many were out enjoying sales
Drifting the consumerist way
Oblivious to climate travails.
How do we bring people on board
The privileged and indifferent?
That is a fjord we have to ford
Till money is responsibly spent!
Yet others came up to our stalls
Stayed to chat about our task
Paid heed to our clarion call
Found new questions that they now ask.
We circled up, huddled together
Shared what motivates us to act
Climate researchers, grandmothers,
A solidaric group driven by facts:
That time is no more in our favour
Fossil fuels must stay in the ground
Renewable uptake needs our labour
The fixes we need have been found;
That change today faces resistance
Fuelled by the greed of wealthy men,
That global threats to our existence
Need us to shape political will.
Gathered that sunny afternoon
We realised we’re not alone
The seeds of change have been sown
Around the world and close to home.
Groups from Bergen and the region
Formed new friendships and agreed
That combined we can be legion
Create the momentum we need.
From monthly folk engagement stalls
To an annual climate festival
We now have more to join our calls
To make the future we want real.
National, regional and local groups represented at the Rise event in Bergen included Klima Valgalliansen, Norwegian Grandparents Climate Campaign (Besteforeldrenes Klimaaksjonen), Bergen Klimanettverk, that is hosting the Bergen Climate Festival 112 next January, the Future in our Hands organisation, the Spaces of Climate and Energy Laboratory research group, the European PARENT research project on sustainable energy management platforms, and the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation.
Inspired to take creative action as well? Head to gofossilfree.org and become part of the movement.
Siddharth, originally from Varanasi, India, is a researcher at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation in Bergen, Norway. “As someone working on the governance of renewable energy uptake, I am keen to find ways to enable transitions to low-carbon futures. In Norway, where domestic renewable energy use is high, this means moving away from an economy driven by oil exports, which requires political commitment”, he says. At the University of Bergen, there has already been a strong demand to say no to future Arctic oil drilling.