Written by Emily Humphreys from Fossil Free Maastricht


On Thursday April 19th, Maastricht Fossil Free hosted their second ClimateKeys event. Set in the Sistine Chapel of Maastricht, Cellebroederskapel, both guests and performers basked in the late evening sun before stepping into the cool chapel which, for this memorable night, transformed into a stage of musical performance and discussion on climate change.


Ibrahima Kaba, a PhD fellow from the United Nations University of Maastricht (UNU-MERIT), was the keynote speaker of the evening. Mr. Kaba carries out his research  on economic development in African nations, and discussed the position of fossil fuels in the African continent´s development, especially in Western Africa where he grew up.


“Developing countries already bear the brunt of climate change and global warming. They currently are at a crossroad and face a defining conundrum between doing business as usual – by basically replicating the same development strategies of the last two centuries – or by doing things differently. Doing things differently means not relying exclusively on fossil fuels to power their electric grids, to run their public transport systems or to kick-off their water pipes – everything that the rest of the world has been taking advantage from over the last two centuries and counting. Is it fair to ask such sacrifices from countries that already face numerous budgetary and financial constraints while simultaneously required to meet the 17 2030 Sustainable Development Goals? Are fossil fuels the tickets for developing countries to end hunger, combat diseases and banish grounding poverty? And could leapfrogging represent a credible alternative in these countries to all fossil fuels?”

The concert began with Stijn Ritzen (baritone) and Sachit Ajmani (piano) performing Six Songs from a Shropshire Lad, a classic English song cycle about youth, war and mortality. This was followed by Bogdan Cioceanu (guitar) playing a Simon Molitar sonata. He was then joined by Alice Patselli(flute) and Stijn Ritzen(baritone) for trio arrangements of three Schubert songs – Der Leiermann, In der Ferne, and the famous Ständchen in Dutch. After a short break Bogdan and Alice presented music from colourful 20th century flute and guitar suites by de Falla and Boutros; the show was rounded off by William J. Vitali on guitar playing preludes by Villa-Lobos and a transcription of the passionate Nessun Dorma aria from Puccini’s Turandot.

After Ibrahima’s rousing speech, the hall was abuzz with ideas and opinions. A lively round of discussion ensued, moderated by Ibrahima. Questions were raised about developing countries which export fossil fuels for economic reasons; the idea of leapfrogging arising as a local environmental concern for developing nations was discussed and the relevance of large-scale political action as opposed to grassroots-level activism. An audience member expressed concern that the Maastricht airport would soon see greater activity due to a change in ownership, with undesirable effects for the local ecology and pollution levels.


Some of the FF team at the COP23 climate march last October

About Fossil Free Maastricht

Fossil Free Maastricht has been campaigning for Maastricht University to follow a sustainable and ethical financial strategy since October. In particular, the University’s endowment fund, the Limburg Universiteitsfond, is of interest considering this charity fund actively invests the money it receives annually. As a campaign team we have published our online petition and have hosted two ClimateKeys events. Over the next 12 months we also will be working towards a fossil free Municipality of Maastricht. Keep in touch with us through facebook. (Or join us, we love seeing the campaign grow!) We also have our own blog.