Last week’s Climate March in Rotterdam might have actually made some people rethink what they thought they knew about climate change. While most of the signs people were holding at the protest had contents along the lines of “Rotterdam Coal-Free” or “Our Harbour, Our Future,” that was not the only message portrayed. Whoever took a closer look at the crowds might have spotted a man holding two white Hema folders with sheets of A4 paper taped on them reading “Convenient lies? Or hard Truths? Get the hard Truth here!” Meet Jiri Teunis, one of a handful of climate change deniers amongst the crowd.
While at first, it might seem counterintuitive to try to convince anti-coal protesters that man-made climate change is fake, this is exactly what Mr Teunis decided to do. Having attended the 2016 Monsanto March in Amsterdam before this, he felt this march would be the perfect opportunity to spread his message to “people that are open to new thoughts.”
According to Teunis, the main reason he chose to attend this protest is that he was disappointed in the attitude of its organizers. When he confronted Rotterdams Klimaat Initiatief – the organizers of the Climate March – with his views on climate change, he felt like he wasn’t being taken seriously. According to him, RKI compared them to “the moon being made of cheese,” among others.
“When everybody is looking to the right, I want to see what’s going on on the left.”
The 43-year-old born Rotterdammer, who was admittedly under the influence of LSD, seemed relatively indifferent to the possibly damaging effects of burning coal. “We have so many things to think about already. We’re discovering so many new things. Why worry about this? This is a great time to be alive,” Jiri said. The latter might not hold for everyone present at the climate march, however. Moments after Jiri spoke these words, the representatives of RKI exited the building of the World Port Center to inform the protesters that the organisation would be pursuing its goal of continuing the processing of coal for the next 25 years. Turns out that the few climate change sceptics that were present might have gotten the best outcome after all.