This is my premiere blog post here at Wake Up Call; I’m one of the new trainees, Valter.
Yesterday we all got up before the sun had graced us with even a trace of light and gathered in Lund outside Mejeriet for a little road trip. We were driving across Scania towards Simrishamn to attend the regional Environmental Awards Day ceremony at the renovated new Marine Center. Spirits were high already in the car, stuffed with Sven, Maja, Mia, Annika, myself and a bag of cinnamon rolls. We were scheduled to register and have coffee at 9:00 and despite some detours we made it. Upon arrival, we met up with the singer/songwriter and poet Emil Jensen, who was quickly snatched away by the organizers to prepare him for his performance. After some socializing and enjoying the surprisingly nice sandwich table, the Wake Up Call team followed the flow and walked to the ceremony room. After a short introduction representing the municipality of Simrishamn, the moderator of the day got up on stage; Johan Wester. Personally I thought his performance was impressive, it was entertaining yet professional. Through dialog between Johan and the respective speakers, the messages flowed easily and naturally.
Among the audience we could find several heavyweight environmental champions of the region. Mikael Kristersson told his story, about how he spent his savings on a 16mm camera so that he could share the beauty of nature (that was just around the corner) with others. I found it to be fantastic, just as his drive to document nature and invoke emotions in the audience without using a big pointer or doomsday scare, letting the serenity of a humming bumblebee speak for itself. Following the emotional path, Emil Jensen picked up after him and charmed the audience with his tale of biking 3000 kilometers for a tour, mixed with a poem and a song. Emil emphasized the positive perspective, where we can see problems and resistance, we should see hope and opportunities. The whole day went with this theme and I think it was fully justified that these two inspirational people got to share the big Environmental Prize for their achievements.
Another pioneer was presented with the honorary environmental award, the Gold Tree, which went to the Sven-Erik Magnusson for his diligent work in the creation of Kristianstad Vattenrike. In 2005, it became the first recognized biosphere in Sweden by UNESCO standards. The project has served as a source of inspiration, education and fascination for just over two decades.
Last but far from least, it should be mentioned that not only we we honored to attend the award ceremony with these great innovators, our very own Sven Heijbel and Oleg Izyumenko were awarded 21200 SEK as an environmental scholarship to stimulate Wake Up Calls ability to attend conferences or in other ways exchange knowledge. Another scholarship was awarded to Ebba Malmqvist of Lunds University with the same motivation for her research concerning air pollution and its effect on children. Naturally, we were thrilled to receive this prize and recognition of the name Wake Up Call. Sven got up and accepted the award, telling his part of the story of Wake Up Call with great enthusiasm.
After the ceremony, we had the opportunity to socialize during lunch and walk around the new Marine Center. I was taken completely by surprise as our group of trainees was approached by several senior environmental fighters, expression their joy over seeing young people attending. They shared their respective stories of paving the path towards a better world, each in their own way but all with a fiery soul to drive them. Me and my fellow trainees were delighted to get such a response from an older generation, eagerly sharing their precious knowledge. It also has to be said that I think Maja managed to persuade Emil Jensen to participate in her clothing-swap event next year, quite an amazing feat. Johan Wester was also surprisingly humble and friendly in person, it warmed my heart when he said that he would rather do things out in the real world and work his magic there, than to do “just comedy”.
That being said, I think we all left the Marine Center filled with inspiration, hope and in my case: the delicious tomato stew they served at lunch.