Charlotte Niekamp & Maria Söderberg
23 November, 15:24
4,3 km, Rotenburg, DE
I am running because I am afraid, I am angry, I am so ready to change everything. I am running because the people who live here, the land I am running on and the water I drink give me the strength to do this, but they are in danger. And while disastrous climate change, fracking and environment-wrecking business practices are cemented day by day, we’re running out of time trying to protect what is dear to us. I love this place. It’s where I grew up, it’s where I played and wandered, it’s the soil I worked in and the people I lived with. But the swamps and the meadows, trees and birds and, as a result of this and maybe most importantly, the farmers are threatened by the changing weather. Bad policies and corporations are destroying what we need to adapt and to thrive: the soils, the water, the biodiversity. Exxon is leaching chemicals onto our farmland, financial incentives led to landscapes dominated by biogas crops. And with the agreements that might be reached in Paris, these practices will be supported further: because burning the gas they are extracting here is seen as a „transitory technology“, and biofuels are supposedly clean. When we leave the solutions to those who are in power now, we cannot expect that things will get better than they are, we have seen this for years. They profit from what endangers us, from burning fossil fuels, from global inequality and injustice, from distributing what belongs to all among only a few – leaving the rest with the consequences of extractivism. We need to stop this, we need to stop them. We need to take our future into our own hands. That’s why the solutions have to come from ourselves, and have to be developed field by field, community by community, network by network, and need to consider that what’s bad for the earth will be bad for you, very quickly. You can’t escape the climate, or the consequences of climate change, not even in a rich state like Germany. But compassionate cooperation among farmers, communities and cultures can strengthen us all in this fight. If we combine our dreams, intelligence and energy, if we start working with what we know best (our fields, our villages), if we empower ourselves and take the power away from those who endanger what is vital for us (Exxon, for example), maybe we can be strong enough and fast enough. Then why am I running towards Paris, far away from home? Because all our stories are connected and need to be visible in context, and running with all the people telling them is making me feel stronger. What’s happening here is not an isolated situation and what I am feeling is not just personal, it’s political. Together, we might be able to change the fate of our homes and the fate of the world, but we better be quick.