Democracy works. It is possible for citizens, even children and young people, to influence major political decisions. The media simply delivers a distorted image of politicians and their political parties. For politicians will actually act against climatethe changes, and they cooperate across partisan lines.
This is what film director Phie Ambo says about his documentary 70/30 with the subtitle «Democracy's race with the climate crisis». The film had its world premiere at CPH: DOX Film Festival 2021 on 21 April.
In a country where the prime minister has declared himself the children's prime minister, children and young people have demonstrated week after week in front of the Folketing. They wanted the politicians to prove that the adults in Denmark takes the lead in the climate fight. For the benefit of children and young people. As the good example. Parents, grandparents and their friends joined in the demonstrations. All Danes should be behind a Denmark that takes the lead in the climate fight.
To follow four key players
At the election in May 2019, the government power in Denmark changed hands. A "red majority" subsequently led the way in the adoption of a climate law, a climate action plan – the construction of energy islands and a halt to the extraction of oil and gas from North Sea. This happened in the wake of a mobilization among primarily children and young people across the country – based on the parliamentary elections in June 2019. The election was a «climate election».
The course of events deserves a documentary. Of course, the instructor did not know how things would develop when she decided on the task. For a few months, she had the opportunity to follow four key players in the building and development of a popular movement. But also in the establishment of an alliance between young people and the chairman of the Folketing's climate committee and finally in the further cooperation between politicians during the negotiations and resolutions in the Folketing.
The documentary 70/30 is also the story of Member of Parliament and chairman of the climate committee, Ida Auken. Due to her intense work on the climate issue, she became ill from stress and was unable to participate in the negotiations on several of the major important breakthroughs in the climate negotiations. It is also the story of the climate minister Dan Jørgensen, who could not take part in the development of a popular movement on the climate, but – as he said – «had to sit back and make the compromises that will drive development forward». But it is probably first and foremost the film's young people who act as the real drivers of the development of the film. Selma de Montgomery and Esther Michelsen Kjeldahl from Fridays for Future and The Green Student Movement, respectively, represent the youth.
"The compromises that will drive development forward"
The film is about Denmark. It tells how relatively effortless it is to make an impact. Young people can – if they present their views through demonstrations – have the opportunity to get in touch with key political negotiators about Denmark's future. This is not about Extension Rebellion, which by the way is not mentioned in a single word in the film. For the atmosphere is positive, yes almost cordial. Even a leading member of the Danish People's Party is seen in the film receiving a warm embrace. – The question that can naturally then be raised is, who was it really that should appear as an opposition to the course of negotiations and threaten the future of young people? Here, the film is astonishingly silent, has no language, and seems to suggest that further wishes for the implementation of climate goals in the future can be resolved in a similar way.
What does the film director want to show with the film? To tell an audience that it all works, that democracy works, that young people are listened to. That one can talk about citizen involvement in Denmark.
Ida Auken – the mediator between the popular pressure and the Folketing and also a central politician in the climate negotiations – is perhaps the film's most important focal point. It was she who, as climate spokesperson for the Radical Left and as chair of the Folketing's climate committee to the Folketing, passed on the message from the children's and young people's demonstrations. And when she returned after the illness to the political work, she had left the post that had made it possible to convey the young people's views to the Folketing. She had become a member of the governing party (Social Democracy) and now, like the climate minister, had to «sit back and make the compromises that will drive development forward».
Ida Auken delivers the film's concluding remark: "I actually believe in it well now". What does Ida Auken believe in, and what can be done for the climate within the film's own theme logic? The answer blows in the wind.
Maybe it's school kids
CoronaThe pandemic set a new standard for how Danish society can stand together to defend itself. Previous restrictions on providing support and assistance to distressed populations were lifted. The question, therefore, is whether the population after Corona is willing to undergo similar radical changes when it comes to the climate. Or will we follow Coronaa fall back into the old familiar hamster wheel?
A successful transition is conditional on many people being aware of the seriousness of the consequences of global warming. Who will be drivers in the local area in terms of climate solutions, and who will – like Greta Thunberg – organize school strikes? Given the serious nature of the climate situation, many types of action need to be considered. Perhaps it is these school children who should remind the people of the general strike weapon – for the climate and for a future for our children and young people.