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Climate breakdown is more evident everyday. There are many things that we as individuals know we can do to fight against it; from the simplest things to the battles with power. Nevertheless, it’s easy to simply ignore the problem. It’s easy to think that our individual actions would not account for an improvement, and neither for a worsening. It’s easy to think that someone else should take care of the problem. It’s easy to live as if nothing was happening, because our lives seem okay, unaffected. How can we engage in the difficult conversation of confronting people and discussing measures that can be taken with the urgency that is needed?

With The Environmental Plea Ceremony I am thinking in creating a guided performatic event, where individuals are encouraged to write and publicly share a plea for an action that they will take in their lives to start doing something or increase what they are doing already against climate breakdown.

A general structure of the ceremony would be as follows:

  • Brief reminder of the importance of acting against climate breakdown
  • Brief description of areas where change can be started or continued
  • Time for the participants to reflect on an action they want to take and plea publicly
  • Participants are given a [personalized] token where they can write their plea.
  • Participants, one at a time, read their plea aloud and keep their token.
  • The ceremony closes en

I think that the ceremonious nature, the personalized token, and the fact of sharing a plea in a group setting could allow for a whole and impactful experience that could allow for change. I think that the plea thing is uncomfortable because it implies that people to take control and responsibility of their actions, making them finally deciding to do something.

Furthermore, the ceremony per se could be uncomfortable. I’m not sure how much “anger” and/or “guilt-generation” should come from it in order to get meaningful pleas. On the other hand, if it is too light it may appear like a joke. I see important to have a script, sound design, and maybe some props.

An interesting aspect would be the “accountability” of the pleas. I think that the token, given as a gift, can be used as a reminder. In the ceremony it could be said that whenever the plea is broken, the token has to be broken as well.