Klimax is a network for climate activists that started in 2007 by environmentalists who wanted a platform for people with more radical ideas about direct actions. Well known in Sweden for their campaigns against private motorism and the meat industry, the group has spread to a number of Swedish cities, and in Gothenburg they consist of 20 active members.
On the 12th November 2008, after being inspired by Climate Rush, six Klimax members stormed a municipal city council meeting in Gothenburg dressed as suffragettes to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the British Sufragette Action.
Members of Klimax initially wanted to protest on the 13th October, which is the actual date of the anniversary, but after finding out there were no meetings that day, postponed to the 12th November. This allowed them the much needed time to plan their action in detail; the first few weeks consisted of a few hours of planning and as the time drew nearer members were working five hours a day to make sure everything was finished. Among writing speeches, making banners and establishing contact with the media, they had to prepare their costumes!
Our contact at Klimax said “We do not always dress up for events but we believe that it is a good way to spice up an action! We sometimes dress up as penguins or polar bears because they are the two types of animal that are severely affected by Climate Change; it is also fun and looks nice!”
Their aims with the action was threefold; firstly to pay tribute to the work done by the suffragettes- strong women fighting for women’s right to vote, secondly to make the politicians aware that there was strong opposition to the building of another tunnel under the river in Gothenburg; Miahabo Berkelder from Klimax in Gothenberg says that the group believe this to be an awful way to spend a large amount of money, just so that more cars can be on the road; asking ‘What if the money was invested in buses instead? New roads simply lead to more traffic and that is a disaster for our climate.’
The third reason for the protest was to make sure that politicians knew that climate change isn’t just a moral topic, it is a political topic.
On the day, members were shocked to see the six activists storm the meeting,
but after the action Klimax joked that if they had been politicians sitting there during long and boring meetings, they would have been happy with the distraction!
They certainly created a buzz, and definitely caught the attention of the council! After a short while the six were asked to leave the building and did so with little fuss.
In reaction to the protest, a woman from the Swedish environmental party said Klimax had a valid point, but a man from the conservative party was more concerned about security, wondering what would have happened if terrorists had stormed the meeting instead!
The plans for the tunnel are still up in the air. The initial decision to build the tunnel was made solely by Göran Johansson, the chairman of the Municipal Council. Because this wasn’t a democratic way of deciding, the case has been reported to the county administrative court.
According to Miahabo, there are a lot of plans in Klimax’s future; new actions will take place during the spring and there will be a new regular event called Climate Café- where anyone can attend to share coffee and discuss climate change, sometimes including an expert on the subject to answer any questions.
The next big event for Klimax is on the Global Day of Action, taking place in cities all over the world on the 6th of December. At the same time as the leaders of the world will be discussing the climate problems, demonstrations will be arranged all over the world including London and of course Gothenberg.
Klimax have come together with several other groups to arrange a huge demonstration, Miahabo says that Klimax are organising a “Climate Clash” which is a wide spread Klimax phenomenon; they will walk out in the middle of a busy road and block the traffic; a perfect and simple way to make people aware of the climate problems.
Anyone who is interested in joining Klimax is welcome- it is a flat organization with no board of directors, anyone who wants to be a member is simply one.
This article was written with the help of Miahabo Berkelder of Klimax in Gothenburg, Sweden. Thank you for your contribution and for the photos!
For more information about Climate Rush, please visit: www.climaterush.co.uk
Categories ,activism, ,Climate Rush, ,Earth, ,Global Day of Action, ,Klimax, ,Sweden
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