Environment

Dancing and running to raise awareness about climate change

26/07/2017

In the fight against climate change, everyone can contribute to the joint effort to reduce our carbon footprint. This spring, the European Commission has taken the message out to people in Brussels.

Climate action was in the spotlight at two popular public events in Brussels in May – the European Union Open Day and the legendary Brussels 20-kilometre half marathon. This year, both events raised awareness about climate change and showed how everyone can get involved. Whether it is using energy more efficiently, using public transport, or eating locally sourced, seasonal foods, every little helps.

Our aim is to engage people through fun activities that are also educational and offer information about climate change and ways to tackle it. As part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the EU has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030. We all – policymakers, citizens, businesses – have a role to play in working towards this goal to help keep global warming in check.

Miguel Arias Cañete, EU commissioner for climate action and energy

Dancing for the future – cleaner energy, better climate

Every year around Europe Day in early May, the EU Open Day gives the public the opportunity to learn about what the EU does, in an entertaining way. The main institutions open their doors and organise activities for visitors of all ages.

At the European Commission's climate and energy stand, visitors were drawn on to a power-generating dance floor. Human movement – jumping or dancing on the multi-coloured floor tiles – created kinetic energy that was converted into usable electricity via a generator. A two-metre high illuminated ‘energy tower’ and a large dial showed the dancers just how much effort is involved in generating power.

The incentive to keep moving was stepped up by a dance challenge, with two teams on different sides of the floor competing against one another. Similar efforts provided the energy for 470 low-carbon selfies in a human-powered photo booth.

“Our aim is to engage people through fun activities that are also educational and offer information about climate change and ways to tackle it,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. “As part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the EU has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % by 2030. We all – policymakers, citizens, businesses – have a role to play in working towards this goal to help keep global warming in check.”

Running for the climate: burn carbs, not carbon

At the end of May, some 40 000 runners filled the streets of Belgium’s capital at the 38th annual Brussels 20-kilometre run, among them many staff members from EU institutions.

The EU institutions got together to field the largest team in the race. Running in blue t-shirts bearing the message ‘Run for climate: burn carbs, not carbon’, the team carried the climate message forward, encouraging everyone to ‘think globally, act locally’.

An EU stand in Cinquantenaire Park, where the race finished, provided information about how Europe is investing in a climate-friendly economy and how climate action helps to improve European citizens’ lives. In addition, a climate and energy quiz allowed visitors to discover just how much they know about the challenges facing our planet.

According to a Eurobarometer survey, 91 % of Europeans see climate change as a serious problem. The EU is already putting in place the policies needed to achieve its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % by 2030 – a cornerstone of the Union’s 2030 climate and energy policy framework and its contribution to the Paris Agreement on climate change.  

Climate action