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Some 100 000 people are expected to meet up in Oslo on Friday, 30 August, for a collective roar for the climate. If you are in town, please join them.
In general, Norwegians take the climate crisis seriously. Thoughts, however, are not automatically transformed into action. A new Norwegian movement is seeking to mobilise the entire population in an unconventional way: by gathering 100 000 people to boom out their frustration.
“The roar for the climate is designed for the silent majority – the large portion of the population who know that the climate crisis is grave, but who for various reasons are not taking action. The event will bring tens of thousands into the streets to demonstrate that we are ready to take tough, comprehensive measures,” says Even Nord Rydningen, who has taken the initiative for the event, known as Klimabrølet, or “climate roar” in Norwegian.
Rydningen believes that a collective roar is precisely what is needed to promote greater civic engagement.
“Many are engaged in climate issues, but for a large portion of the population this engagement peters out into likes and comments in social media,” he says.
With Klimabrølet, Rydningen is seeking to provide a channel for this engagement.
“Standing together with thousands of others and roaring out that we refuse to continue moving sideways into the future – we want climate change NOW – can be useful for bringing this civic engagement to life”, he explains.
“A roar is a call to action. It says, ‘Wake up! Do something!’”
“People have many feelings connected to climate change,” he continues. “Fear, anxiety, hopelessness, indecisiveness, anger –all these feelings are natural when confronting the environmental challenges facing us. People also have different motivations for preventing a catastrophic climate crisis. Some are particularly concerned about their children and grandchildren, others want to protect biodiversity, while others want to avoid uncontrolled migration or ensure future competitiveness, etc. The sum of all these emotions, motivations and knowledge is a very powerful force. From this perspective the climate crisis may lead to much good – however, this will require brave, efficient and inclusive leadership.”
In addition to being a catalyst for the participants, Rydningen of course hopes that 100 000 voices shouting out in unified climate frustration will be heard.
“The crisis we’re in means that our leaders have to gird up their loins and get to work, pouring capital and expertise into green industries. Clear, strict framework conditions that encourage green innovation. Courage to follow the path we must follow, even though all the solutions are not yet in place. Allow for ill-advised investments, and always remember that the green transition has to include everyone – city folks and farmers, well-to-do people and those with limited means, oil workers and consultants, etc.”
Although the roar for the climate is somewhat political, Rydningen states very clearly that the event is for everyone.
“We are not affiliated with any political party, and we are primarily reaching out to those who are not active in the climate struggle. We want to bring together young and old, athletes and gamers, tradespeople and business leaders – even people sitting in prison.”
For most of us, a roar is associated with frustration or anger. Rydningen himself does not hide that the climate struggle is not just about optimism and enthusiasm for action.
“I think of myself as a constructive pessimist. There are dark clouds looming on the horizon, and change must be made quickly, very quickly, if we are to be able to protect the irreplaceable.”
However, Klimabrølet is not about making people angrier.
“While the backdrop is serious, the goal is positive: safeguarding a good quality of life for as many as possible in the future.”
The organisers have set an ambitious target of over 100 000 people taking part in a collective roar. This is a huge number for a small country like Norway, and it means that one of seven inhabitants in Oslo, Norway’s capital, must take part.
“It is an appropriate target given the severity of the situation, and I think we can meet it. There are two of us working full-time on the event, in addition to 70 volunteers who are reaching out to companies, sports teams, religious communities, unions and the like. I encourage you to think about what the climate struggle means for you. Bring your banner and your views, invite your colleagues, neighbours and teammates, and roar some courage into our politicians!”