What’s your (climate) story?

A climate camp was set up in front of the Poppelsdorfer Chateau last weekend to raise awareness of the need for action on climate change. The camp is organized by the Bonn Youth Movement and runs until  August 24. The program offers a variety of workshops, activist networking, self-organized education and culture. All events are free and visitors are warmly welcome.

Climate Camp in front of the Poppeldorfer Chateau (Photo: Sandra Prüfer)

“During this ‘alternative climate summit’ we want to educate one another, discuss how to stop global warming and take practical action,” explains Carlotta Grohmann.

Bonnections is organizing tomorrow in cooperation with MIGRApolis-Haus der Vielfalt – BIM e.V.  a storytelling café and intercultural exchange at the KlimaCamp.

Inspired by the South Pacific “Talanoa” approach to storytelling, we would like to explore together with camp participants the relationship between climate change and migration and the root-causes of the current refugee crisis. After the storytelling session with local residents and refugeees, there will be an international potluck dinner and in the evening a jam session and poetry slam (open stage).

Talanoa is a term in the Fiji language that means “telling of stories, the transfer of ideas and the conversation between people and the achievement of consensus”. The UN climate conference in November in Bonn will be held under the auspices of Fiji’s COP23 presidency. The Fijian government wants to use the Pacific Islands concept of “talanoa” as a guiding principle to help steer negotiation for the rule book for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate world-wide climate action for all vulnerable societies.

Young activists gathering at Bonn KlimaCamp. (Photo: Sandra Prüfer)

The participatory event will include, among others, readings by Mohamad Raffi, a Syrian poet from Aleppo, and J. Michael Fischell, a social scientist, who works at the Bonn Institute for Migration and Intercultural Studies (BIM e.V.). International journalists will give participants insight into climate reporting.

Fischell will present the book project “Refugees are telling their stories: Do you know who I am? The moving biographies of refugees in our city”. The book is a collection of profiles of 28 newcomers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan and Eritrea.

Cologne city council member Lisa Gerlach (Pirate Party) will talk about her experience of being a refugee foster mother. In 2016, Gerlach became a foster parent of three teen-aged Afghan refugee boys. The oldest , who recently turned 18, received in May the notification that his asylum application was rejected. Gerlach was invited last week to a ZDF talk show hosted by Dunja Halayi and declared that she will fight like a lioness against his deportation: “If Navid has to go to Afghanistan, I will go with him.”

Afghanistan has already been heavily affected by the negative impacts of climate change. The 2012 Global Adaptation Index ranks it among the most vulnerable countries in the world. Kazim Hamayun, the deputy director of Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency (Nepa), explains in this article  how climate change fuels the conflict. “Snow has decreased dramatically and the landscape is not made to absorb rain water. Droughts and land degradation can contribute to terrorism. It disrupts the social order,” he said.

The multi-instrumental Duo SuTo will perform in the afternoon and early evening. The two singer-songwriters, who are actively involved in the Respect Earth network, will take you on a journey through diverse musical landscapes beyond genre boundaries. Their songs emphasize the importance of being stewards for our planet. SuTo will also present a new song, “One Earth. One Responsibility” , written for the upcoming climate conference.


Following the dinner (at 6 pm), Alan Bakr will talk about his “Sterka Roj Ava” film project and show us some excerpts of videos that he directed and produced with a group of fellow refugees in Bonn. The Kurdish-Syrian aspiring filmmaker and former student of economics lives in a refugee camp in Bonn-Altstadt.

WHAT: Storytelling Café in the “Talanoa” Spirit with Newcomers and Refugees
WHEN: August 22, starting 3 p.m.
WHERE: KlimaCamp in front of the Poppelsdorf Chateau

3 pm – 5.30 pm: Sharing of Stories about Flight, Migration & Climate Change
5.30 pm: Music with Singer-Sonwriter Duo SuTo
6 pm: Potluck Dinner (with international food)
7 pm – 10 pm: Music and Poetry Slam (Open Stage)

The event is free. Please bring a dish to share for the potluck dinner, if you can, and help spread the word.


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