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A Listening Project at the Helsinki Climate March 

Six of us did a listening project1 at the Helsinki (Finland) climate march. We prepared for it in three meetings—planning the questions, writing the speech we gave after the march, and discharging and supporting each other. 

After the march, when people were leaving from the chilly and windy square, one person from our group went to a couple of parliament members, gave them the Sustaining All Life pamphlets,2 and talked about our perspective on climate change. After that we had a chance to talk briefly with and give the pamphlet to the environmental minister, who was one of the Finnish representatives in the negotiations in Paris. At the end we went to talk with and appreciate the main organizer of the march. It was a good day!

Here are some of our highlights:

  • A highlight was giving a speech to more than a thousand activists, parliament members, and others. The contact with the environmental minister was reassuring, and I followed it with an e-mail wishing good luck with the negotiations and appreciating all the initiatives the environmental ministry has taken.
  • For me the highlight was doing something so important and meaningful together. We took ourselves seriously and were on each other’s and everybody’s side. Climate change and the degradation of the environment are a challenge that unites us. The chance to work together is so precious. It is important to be together.
  • The best moment for me was a chat with a young adult who was genuinely interested in our project. She said it sounded exactly like what she had been looking for—something in which everything is put together.
  • We listened to people who do and think a lot, and children who were there with their parents. The march as a whole was full of hope and friendship. It contradicted disappointment about the political situation in our country. It was led by a samba-bateria,3 which reminded us how being together is a celebration.
  • My highlight was the sense that our group, and all the people, are doing this together, sending the message to the leaders of countries, “This is what we think.” I got a chance to show that I am not indifferent about this; I am taking part4 and saying what I think. When I was at the march and saw photos from climate marches all over the world, I felt that we are one world; we are the people who can make the change.

At the end of the march, everyone formed a huge heart, standing next to each other. We had different perspectives and agendas, but we all agreed that we are the voice of the earth and we can change the course.

Maarit Niemi and Kaisli Syrjänen

Mäntsälä, Finland

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of wide world change

(Present Time 183, April 2016)


1 In an RC listening project, several Co-Counselors go to a public place and offer to listen to passersby about some important issue, such as racism or the environment. They may hold signs that invite people to share their thinking about that issue.
2 Sustaining All Life is a project of the RC Communities. In December 2015, a Sustaining All Life delegation went to Paris, France, to share RC tools with activists gathering there during the United Nations Climate Change Conference. A special pamphlet was created for the purpose.
3 A samba-bateria is a Brazilian samba band.
4 “Taking part” means participating.


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00