Release peace: the magazine
Release peace: the magazine
Analysis & Background Stories on International Affairs
The Climate Peoples Meeting 2023
Article by: Tatiana Sondej
Photo credit: Visit Middelfart
The Klimafolkemødet in Middelfart
With an abundance of gardens and narrow canals that cut through the landscape; and a simple, trough-shaped street shape in the medieval district that leads the water directly to the Little Belt, Middelfart is a picturesque market town in central Denmark that has become an innovative climate project. Climate adaptation has been melded with development and citizen co-creation in response to increased impact by vast rainfall that caused flooding. Their climate focused response to development, has strengthened the cities climate reliance but has also become an inspiration to the rest of Denmark and abroad, making Middelfart a fitting host for the Klimafolkemødet, or in English Climate Peoples Meeting.
What is the Klimafolkemødet?
The Climate People’s Meeting (Klimafolkemødet in Danish) brings together passionate individuals who are concerned with the environment for a series of events addressing what can be done to reduce the severity of climate change. It is a meeting for all climate-involved individuals, regardless of experience level. But what is the aim of the meeting? The Middelfart Municipality’s central objective is to encourage action from organisations, companies, decision-makers, and citizens to tackle climate change. In 2019, the town of Middelfart joined a strategic cooperation plan with the Region of Southern Denmark – in essence joining forces to elevate the Klimafolkemødet into an event with national recognition. This year, the events is taking place from 31 August to 2 September, and it is free to attend for all. The 2023 theme is ‘Climate Action Together’ – and has as its goal to unite climate activists, and organisations and reach out to the younger generation.
From Local to National
The Climate People’s Meeting aims to be cemented as the official, national event that is a knowledge hub on tackling climate change and creates real, practical, and achievable solutions. Last year (2022), the conference managed to reach a whopping 21,000 visitors. A great number of organisers are supporting this year’s event, including the Naturpark Lillebælt. The events and talks at the event include discussion on how companies can work more sustainably, as well as debating the retail industry at large and consumer behaviour. For those interested in sustainable financial investments, there is an ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) panel discussion. Other interesting events include the food workshops, where participants learn how to make use of leftovers to prevent waste.
Knitting for Climate Action
There are many creative ways for people to take part in the Climate People’s Meeting. One example is that the Klimafolkemødet is collaborating with the Knit Sisters’ Studio for a new knitting project – the project will create a large yarn scrap tapestry which will be displayed at the conference as an art piece made through a community effort. This is a great opportunity for those interested to contribute as part of a sustainable project using leftover yarn to minimise waste. Participants are tasked with creating a small motif representing their own climate dream or ambition. For any knitters keen to participate, the guide on how to join in can be found here.
Grandparents for Climate Action
Alongside the multitude of events taking place at the meeting, there are also a number of stalls on site where visitors can meet Denmark’s climate activists. Not only does the Klimafolkemødet involve the younger generation, but it also reaches out to and provides a platform for the older generation of climate activists. BKA, Grandparents’ Climate Action will be running a stall at the Climate People’s Meeting; it is a grassroots movement, involving the elderly from all over Denmark and mobilising individuals for climate action. At their booth, visitors can meet and chat with grandparents and others over 50 years old, connecting those involved from legacy climate movements with new or younger faces of the environmental cause. The movement wants to engage with younger people from the community through various tools. Originally started to provide environmental education for children and grandchildren, the group teaches those interested about the best ways of influencing decision-makers, and the methods one can use to tackle personal climate responsibility.
Journey Through Photography
The Climate People’s Meeting incorporates the perspectives of people from many different backgrounds, such as the master photographer Jan Grarup. Between 1st June and 15th September 2023, Grarup’s photo exhibition ‘Journey into the heart of the climate disaster’ is displayed on the harbour front of Middelfart. The exhibition comprises of 12 carefully selected photographs which Grarup captured across the globe. They showcase the devastating consequences of climate change, in particular for those living in the most affected world regions. The images portray natural disasters such as droughts in Madagascar and floods in South Sudan, among many other affected areas. The internationally renowned photographer aims to draw attention to the destructive effects of climate change, and shift the viewers perspective from the big picture politics to the concrete impacts on the lives of individual human beings.
Exchanging Ideas and Shaping a Greener Future
The Climate People’s Meeting stands as a prime example of collective action and admirable community engagement in the face of climate change. United by a shared concern for the environment, this annual event brings together passionate people from a plethora of backgrounds and provides a space where individuals can learn about what can be done to make a difference for our planet.
With each year, the Klimafolkemødet is growing in significance, and gaining national and international recognition as a platform where climate challenges are addressed and tackled. The 2023 meeting offers a rich program of thought-provoking talks, workshops, and panel discussions. Those taking part can learn from experts in business and governance, as well as gaining knowledge on what practices can be implemented in everyday life to make a difference. The Climate People’s Meeting is a testament to the power or collective action, offering hope for a more sustainable and resilient future.