Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Nnimmo Bassey: "Leave the oil in the soil, leave the coal in the hole"

The alternative to the official UN COP15 summit is called Klimaforum09 - free, open for all and packed with interesting speaks, workshops and exhibitions. It opened this Monday, the 7th of December, simultaneously with COP15.

The main attraction was, hands down, Naomi Klein. She is also getting the attention on the website so far: Last chance to save the world says Naomi Klein is basically the only new article there right now.

At least as inspiring as her was one Nnimmo Bassey whose speech I give you my recording of right away. Watch (well, listen) now. Very critical of COP15 this African is.

Activist and author Nnimmo Bassey was awarded a TIME Magazine Hero of the Environment 2009 award. Rather than being a climate change activist he's from a oil corporation vs. human rights background:

"Oil has been the destruction of the Nigerian economy. It destroys the relation between the people and the state."

As quoted from the TIME article. From the speech in the video:

"People say that crude oil is an easy and cheap form of energy. But it's not the truth. Crude oil may be cheap but only because people are not paying the price. If you see what is going on in the oil fields: The pollution, the degradation, the human rights abuses, the murders and the killings - I would like you to tell me how much one drop of oil should cost." (4:07)

I have previously blogged about Nigeria. It's one of the epicentres of climate change impact. We write about it, they got it: Deforestation and desertification (as mentioned briefly in the video speech), violence over oil and a life giving but drying out lake.

The other aspects of the opening ceremony included - besides Naomi Klein - one Henry Saragih and a percussionist playing on melting ice (yes!). Stay tuned for more!

(As you may have guessed, my visit to klimaforum09 was largely inspired by my participation in TH!NK ABOUT IT #2 about climate change. So, this video is cross posted at my column there.)

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