“Awareness” means as much as “mindfulness” or even “being conscious”. It is about behaving in such a way that we pay attention to our mutual well-being.
At the Climate Camp we fight against man-made climate change and for a good life for everyone and everywhere! The interpersonal climate plays a decisive role! Every day people – perhaps you too – experience repression, exclusion and discrimination1.
There are many people who for various reasons do not take part in the Klimacamp. The place is – despite many efforts – only limited accessible for people with physical and mental handicaps. Whiteness2, cis-gender3 and heteronormativity4 will strongly influence the camp, knowledge hierarchies5 will exist and external and linguistic scene codes will have an intimidating effect.
It can happen that people leave workshops because language and/or dominant speaking behaviour make participation impossible for them or encounter everyday racism, sexism, etc.. Through awareness/attentiveness we want to create non-discriminatory spaces together.
Therefore we would like to invite you, here and now, at this camp, to contribute to creating a climate in which all people can feel as comfortable as possible and we…
- can address discriminatory behaviour,
- can freely tinker with our identities,
- we dare to ask if we don’t understand something,
- Technical terms and scene codes are explained to include all in conversations,
- see who talks how much, who doesn’t and why not,
- if all are seen in their*_his* needs,
- can trust us to “be”,
- deal responsibly with our borders and those of others,
- begin to reflect on our privileges and to practice sensitized interaction.
Be part of a culture of “error”-friendliness, because from time to everyone acts (un)intentionally discriminatory. Our experiences are the basis for our view of situations, people and things. To be open to other perspectives often requires courage. If you are made aware of your privileges6, we invite you to be open to this advice and to show space, understanding and appreciation to the person who may have experienced your behaviour as transnational or discriminatory. Be aware that it is not you, but your situation-dependent behaviour that causes the reaction. By sharing it, you are invited to look at why you acted in the situation as it was and what you could do next time to meet your needs and those of the other person. This step is often not easy, but it can help you and the other person to experience a more fulfilling relationship with each other and to create a more beautiful camp for everyone. If you need support in such a conversation, please contact people from your area and/o
r the Awareness Group.
Each of us has a very personal level of un_knowledge. This is strongly influenced by social structures. Therefore, it may be your privilege if you have not been confronted with a certain topic before or if you have had time to familiarize yourself with another one. We invite you to treat your ignorance and that of others with respect and to enter into a productive exchange. When sharing your Un_Knowledge, try to explain or ask for technical terms or terms of the scene in order to break down language barriers. Get a third party if you can’t make any progress on your own!
Maybe you remember your experiences and thoughts when a topic appeared fresh in your life. Be cautious in discussion groups in taking for granted! Participants who do not know certain names, terms or jokes can quickly find themselves excluded.
Dealing with privileges
The challenge for each of us is that we have grown up in societies where exclusion and oppression are commonplace. Privileges, discriminatory behaviour and border crossings affect the Klimacamp just as much as our everyday life. For those affected, the experiences are painful and often create a feeling of powerlessness and helplessness, regardless of whether triggering behaviour takes place consciously or unconsciously.
On the part of the privileged person, behaviour and statements may be normalised in such a way that they are not perceived as discrimination and border crossing. The own recognition of privileges is unavoidable in order to continue together on the way to a world of solidarity and emancipation – free of domination and discrimination.
These questions in the back of your mind may help you to think further about the topic: Which social structures favour hierarchies1 and discrimination2? Where do I stand in this network of hierarchies, discrimination and privileges3? Which (social) changes can change or end them? And what gives affected people strength and self-determination (back)?
Awareness at the camp
We, who have written this text, do not want to blame or impose sanctions, but to draw attention to and raise awareness of privileges and power inequalities. Everyone can decide if one has experienced a border crossing, how it feels and how one wants to be supported in order to empower oneself again. We want to offer support to those affected by discrimination and violence, so that they (again) empower themselves and feel comfortable at the camp.
We want to encourage you to self-organize and also rely on mutual support from your friends and reference groups in your awareness work. If you do not progress in this process, then you are welcome to join the Awareness Group with your concern.
In the awareness tent you will find a place of retreat that you are welcome to use. At certain times there are also contact persons there or, if no one is there, there is a contact telephone number. The Awareness Tent is a protected space in which people can listen to each other and/or support each other in emotionally stressful situations. You’re welcome anytime!
At the awareness tent, as well as at the information tent, you will find further information about awareness and how we want to support you. Reading material on sensitive topics is also available at the Awareness Tent.
If you have any questions regarding the awareness work at the camp, are not sure if you want to come or if you want to get rid of ideas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a climate worth living in for ALL and EVERYWHERE ***
Explanation of terms:
1 Discrimination – Situation in which a person or group is discriminated against (e.g. excluded and insulted) by another person, group or institution on the basis of random characteristics and categories in relation to, for example, their outward appearance, abilities or group membership.
2 whiteness – “white” persons (= European, US-American, socially accepted, educated, civic) enjoy many unquestioned privileges in society
3 CIS* / cis* – The prefix “cis” refers to the correspondence of one’s own gender identity with the gender assigned at birth. Cis is used to name people who are not trans*, inter* and/or non-binary. This designation aims to avoid certain groups of people being regarded as “the normal” and all others as “the deviation”. In addition, the social construction of any gender identity, in which none is “more natural” than the other, is underlined.
4 Heteronormativity – assumes that a sexual connection between a male and a female person would be normal. Behind this is the idea that there are two genders – a binary gender system – and that they are connected in opposite poles.
5 Hierarchy – structures or situations in which a person or an institution places itself above or determines others on the basis of strength, social position, knowledge advantage or the like.
6 Privileges – things I usually experience as a matter of course and only have because I happen to have a “suitable” gender, origin, age, “skin colour” etc..