Last December a group of GreenEUR students went to Copenhagen to the UN climate conference. With the film they made of their trip, the students brought Copenhagen and the climate challenge back to Rotterdam.

The film’s premiere and following discussion with a panel was on 17 February in the C-building. National celebrity, former astronaut and leading scientist Wubbo Ockels was invited to join the discussion panel.


GreenEUR is the EUR’s student sustainability organisation. To raise awareness the green students travelled to Copenhagen. To inspire everyone to act, they decided to make their documentary-styled film and show it on the campus, as GreenEUR chairman Johannes Kramer explained before the film was started. In the film the need for action came back repeatedly, as well as the conclusion that the global north, or the industrialised world, is largely to blame for climate change while the global south, the developing world, is hit hardest with the effects of global warming. The film also showed government leaders, demonstrations on the streets and the limited access of civil society – including scientists – to the conference, which ended as a failure.

‘Green crap’

Not the best message to come home with, but plenty of food for thought for business leaders, scientists, students and people involved in climate initiatives, such as the five panel members invited by GreenEUR. They included RSM’s associate professor Gail Whiteman and Oriol Pascual, business developer at ENVIU. The discussion was led by Marc Cornelissen – who witnessed the effects of global warming himself in the Arctic. He wondered, if the matter is so urgent then why are the NGOs failing to mobilise the masses and suggested that being against something isn’t working. People are done with all the ‘green crap’. Similarly, the panel members agreed that the UN as a means to fight climate change isn’t working either and “we’re certainly not going to wait for Obama to change the world”, ms Whiteman added. At lower levels, such as the city of Rotterdam, more progress is being made. Wiert Jan de Raaf of Rotterdam Climate Initiative agreed but still wished for legislation from the highest levels to secure funding for climate projects.

An inconvenient truce

Egbert Vennik, board member of van Gansewinkel noticed: “the good thing is that the problem confronts us all.” However, Mr. Ockels warned of the lack of transparency. Not enough is known about effective – or less effective – ways to combat climate change. There is much confusion, a fact that was immediately proven by some disagreement between the panel and a person in the audience who argued that the emissions of CO2 as a greenhouse gas had not been proven to be the sole cause of global warming: “Al Gore is not correct”. An inconvenient truce was the result, as the discussion had reached its time limit there, but a well-visited and lively afternoon it was nevertheless. KL