YouPEC is over. 150 people from all over Europe are sitting in the dark (partly because they are in the black gap after YouPEC, partly because they are such extreme hippies they don’t use electricity for lighting). What to do after YouPEC? Don’t worry, the’re is life after YouPEC.
All the great ideas for projects that came up during the open space workshops have to be executed. From bike tours and a green traveling website to the follow up of the declaration. Someone even came up with the idea to start a network for lazy people. I don’t know if YouPEC is the right place for this idea since generally these activists are quite active.
But before we start thinking of what life after YouPEC looks like, let’s frist go back to the last days of the conference. I’ll start with day number 5: the big action.
I woke up at 5.30 am, sleep deprivation is a phenomena that by now we all know well. During the whole week there was not one night where I slept a decent 8 hours, and this goes for almost all YouPECistans. It makes you giggle at anything, so this might be the explanation for the great atmosphere during YouPEC. I went with Kim, Sander and Victor to the Hague to set up the stage for the action. The van had a radio that only played upbeat ‘bad’ songs we somehow knew by heart. With loud music and hands up in the air as a couple of gangsters we entered the quare in front of the building where all the action happens in the field of politics.
After a while we heard drums and people screaming, and shortly after that we saw 150 pair of green feet. First thing that crossed my mind was that there must have been an outbreak of a dangerous virus that starts attacking your body at the feet. But then I remembered: we all painted our feet green as a representative of our European Ecological footprint we want to reduce. Benoît started slogans like: “Please eat less meat, we will eat less meat!” and “No more pollution, we need a revolution!”. The screaming, whistling and stamping of the green feet made a nice picture together with signs like a painting of the world with the lines: “Haven’t you heard? We’ve only got one”.
Linda handed the declaration to the Dutch state Secretary of European affairs, Mr. Timmermans, one Dutch representative of European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas and one representative of the state secretary of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. Their reactions were rather positive. Mr. Timmermans promised to send the declaration to all member states of the EU and ask them if they would react to it point by point. Less promising was the reaction to the proposal to stimulate a reduction in meat consumption. “we can’t tell people what to do, this is a personal choice” he said. Then why do we tell people to exercise? Why are we not allowed to smoke in bars anymore starting july 1st? Isn’t that personal choice as well? I do not see the difference.
Back in Bakkum tiredness washed over us and most people laid down in the grass and did nothing. We still had another open space session which went surprisingly well. Then it was time to look back on YouPEC in a plenarary session with movies and stories of the week.
Now there was only one thing left to do: party like hell and dance till our green feet were too tired to carry us.