It was December. In a brown pub we were waiting for beer, my colleague ordered. I looked straight forward at the photo’s of groups of people who got cups after a sport event, rowing clubs were populair. They seem te be very happy and proud.
‘Till this moment I never won a prize in my life’, I said.
‘Because you never do something with other people’, the barkeeper smiled and dropped two big beer before us.
My neighbour took his glass first.
‘No? Well I can arrange that for you, cheers.’
I looked at him and was amused, frowned my eyebrows.
‘Simple. I can ask my uncle who works in a company to start a contest. You are the only one who will participate. So the prize is yours. If I can make you happy with that, I contact him…..?’
The barkeeper hold his thump up. I took a swallow.
‘What do I need to do?’
‘Nothing. It is air. We both can find something…. or you alone, it does not matter…really. I choked me in the beer and looked at Walter.
‘A prize for…air…for nothing?’
‘Yes, good idea you guys! Recently I hear everybody talking about the climate’, the barkeeper said.
A cold windwave filled the room, caused by new visitors who entered.
‘So I could take any documentary out of the cupboard?
‘Wait a minute’, he said, ‘that is it! I think we will get right away subsidy when we do something with climate. The trend is your friend.’
‘In that case I should have no doubts.’ The barkeeper gave us a wink and walked away to other guests.
I thought: extra money sounds attractive, off course. We will have more possibilities. But the climate subject does not agree with me at all. Never interested in. Till now our films are always with people, science is never a choice.
Suddenly I felt a blunt in my side.
‘Of course, we will make something with climate! The field is almost unlimited. There must be something we like. Wind energy. Well, not exiting but it is the way we work it out! Our own approach. Broadcasting self-assured. Do we want more?’
I was a little shocked by the sudden enthousiasme next to me. I shook my head.
‘Listen, you have a older brother I thought, who works for an oil company, do you? I am sure they are already busy in transforming to the energy market of the future. What position does he have?’
‘Engineer, or…. nowadays he could have a more higher position.…’
‘Great! We can use him as a way to come in. Perfect start.’
Walter put his thump up to the barkeeper.
In my car on the road to Walter’s house I had to drive slowly behind a smoother. The sight was limited by the snow and the dark grey sky. Earlier this morning I read in the newspaper that we have to reduce Co2 as quick as possible. If not, global warming will speed up. How many years my skates are in the cupboard, unused?
People and climate. Even my daily interest for the weather is limited yet. But working with Walter is always nice. He can visit my brother for an interview.
The moment I arrived at the house of Walter his wife came out with irons under her shoes. I laughed and made it clear that her action was looked too much.
‘Don’t worry, we still produce enough Co2’.
She did not give a reaction and looked permanent to the ground.
Inside I walked to the kitchen where the temperature was agreeable. Walter was reading the newspaper and round his eyes I could see dark rings. He noticed.
‘From yesterday evening. We are busy with the preparantion of the carnavalparty. The south you know, my roots’, he apologized.
Later we sat opposite each other at the table. Both with papers and a blocnote in front of us. I told him that after a bit research I understand how important money is in the upcoming climate market. And also all sort of jobs in the future for many people. Walter found out that subsidies are indeed very easy to get.
We started to exchange futher information. Suddenly Walter looked at me.
‘Pay attention that we will not run too fast behind a theory because there is never a truth. Do you believe in the stories about global warming?’
‘Why do you think that the earth becomes more warm?’
‘Well, ….. because that is the starting point, you hear that..I read..most scientists agree. About 97% if I remember it well. They say that….’
‘Historical speaking, each important research in science is always political colored. In history you see that every time again. I can give examples….’
‘Alright, I know that you studied history, but….’
‘The starting point is important. Do not forget that politics dictate what scientists have to prove. They say what has to be researched. What the population have to believe. So the they come with marks, statistics and models which all pointed into a direction of the assignment.’
‘You can always find something…’
I took a sip of coffee and in the meantime I put an eyebrow up.
‘If not, the subsidy will stop, so…’
A yellow flashing light appeared from outside. Walter walked to the window. Suddenly he turned around and asked:
‘Did you phone your brother?’
‘No, it is better when you do. I stay as far as I can from him. The relation with my big brother is … ehm ….. You talked about a starting point; his weight is clear: selling windmills nowadays. Making money for the company. Maybe as an engineer he first outlined them.’
Walter thought a moment before he said:
‘You do not want to ring him?’
‘Well, it is interesting to know what marks he uses. Because cooling is opposite warming. There is also a theory that we move into a new ice time. By a group of other scientists.’
‘They get…also subsidy…?
Walter shook his head.
‘Maybe the best is to visit him together. The interview I do, don’t worry. You just say hello and by the way, off the record, you ask a few questions, brothers together, you know…. We will tape that in the sound with a mini.’
Immediately I looked at him, but Walter turned his head.
‘For broadcasting…?’, I said.
‘No, no, just research.’
A couple of days later I was sitting at a big conference table in the directors room of my brother and waited. Behind his bureau Richard read papers. Walter stood before a big painting with scratches, lines en points in all kind of colours. A moment later he whispered in my ear:
‘An artist impression of a windmill.’
I got giggles which I suppressed. My hands felt sticky klef and my legs were shaking. I did not see my brother for a long time.
Richard suddenly came up and ruled back his chair at the same time.
When he recognized me he hesitated for a short moment and seemed to be surprised.
We accomodate walked to him.
‘Little brother?? Yes…no!!…I got a different name. Of course, you work also for broadcasting companies as a journalist! Always unravel, heighten….’
A short laugh followed and his face became in a permanent grimace.
I introduced Walter.
‘You both want to ask me something because of your research. With pleasure. Surely I cannot refuse, but keep it short.’
He looked at the taperecorder on the conference table. Walter walked slowly back.
‘You both want to know why I like to investigate more and more in the third world? Special if that is to be liable? Later you can say to the audience that such an action is immoral?’
I was surprised and overwhelmed by is affable attitude. It was not at all what I expected. Is he glad we choose his oilcompany? Happy with the profits they make at the moment?
He continued on a whisper:
‘Who will do the interview?’
I nodded to Walter.
‘What does he want to know exactly? How much windmills we produce? How expensive they are? Or how our lobby works? In what direction….?’
‘I saw on a big map in the hall with small flags. Windmills will conquer the whole world?’
‘Correct. At this moment we are busy with projects in Africa.’
‘Yes, an enormous market.’
I started to whisper also.
‘The people want of course clean energy, same as us?’
‘That is our idea, yes. You like to work there in the future?’
‘Do people have the money to buy that mills?
‘No’, he looks a short moment to Walter who seem to be busy with the recorder, ’to be clear, your colleague will ask the questions?’
‘No idea’, I calmly said.
‘They have to pay later….’
‘With interest, it always worked that way, yes.’
Walter approached slowly with the recorder around his shoulder.
‘You can start’, said Richard.
I did a step backwards to make space for my colleague.
‘How can it go suddenly so good, so quick with the windmills?’
‘You have to ask the environment movement. One of that groups. We just react on the questions out of the market. People ask for durable energy like mills.’
‘Do your company still get subsidy?’
‘Good question, we got that yes. At the moment? I have to ask.’
I thought: why not a job in politics in the future?
Our next meeting was in the canteen of the broadcast company of Walter. He read an article when I dropped my wintercoat over a chair. My colleague went right away to pick up warm drinks.
Today we should exchange more information. I ordered some papers. Suddenly a glass of tea appeared in front of me.
Walter asked with a little red head if I had discovered something. I confirmed the money and the jobs. Also I told him about a telephone call I got from a friend in England.
‘They are working hard on a documentary about the climate. He did not want to tell me more about the content. Only that the word swindle will be in the titel.’ *) NOTE
‘Swindle, exactly that’s it. The right word. Similar what I discovered. The same line, the same direction.’
I was surprised.
Along our table a colleague of Walter appeared, a journalist of a news program. He said that he picked up earlier the word climate. Friendly he asked what we do with it. Walter looked at me. I read in his eyes to be careful to bring out any information.
‘Why?’, Walter asked.
‘Oh, maybe we can work together.’
‘We just talk about the beauty of the windmills, how they are designed’, I said.
The man shaked his head and walked away.
We looked again at each other. Walter smiled, he came closer and whispered:
‘It is better to continue talking on a different location where nobody can hear us.’
I thought a moment: where to go, in winter when it snows? Suddenly I got an idea.
‘What do you think about a garden house near the river Vecht?’
‘That sounds perfect.’
‘I can call a friend who lives there.’
‘Now!’ Walters voice was quick and resolute.
His news seemed to be important.
A couple of hours later Walter and I walked behind Freek over a path of tiles in the middle of a grass field. They were difficult to see because of the snow. We arrived at a little house made by wood and glass with a view on the river Vecht.
‘I opened the central heating immediate after my parents agree. Fortunately you will feel very free because the ice is too thin for skating. Nobody, you see? Secret talking for a documentary I told my parents.’
Freek measured the temperature and promised us to bring beer. We saw him walking back careful.
‘His parents believe completely in global warming’, I said.
Walter had a quick look into my papers.
‘You too! You still think that less Co2 helps the environment’, he continued while he looked at me, ’even that we are guilty! That we have to temper Co2 right away.’
‘Yes,….and you still are surprised about that?’
‘Swindle… listen, you like that word?’
‘Yes, climate is almost everyday in the news as a result of a proces that started a long time ago, in the seventies. Do you remember Thatcher?’
‘Margaret Tatcher, yes. What about her?’
That Iron Lady was on the right as you know. It was also the time of demonstrations for sun energy. That was the left, I was active in that time.
‘No, really? You, in demonstrations…?’
‘She needed something to come out of an economic valley caused by the oil crisis and mine strikes. She succeeded with the promotion of clean energy. An important historical moment: right and left fell in each arms. A marriage! And the dowry: subsidies. In short, a perfect climate business started. The two loved each other, both stepped into the same train.’ Walter picked up his glass of tea.
‘I remember my brother said something about groups and the environment movement.’
‘Correct. It became more and more a strong unity, a power bloc. Communication structures from the left together with money from the right. Can you image that there is something more stronger?
I closed my eyes. This information have to be grounded. What were the consequences of this? Everything in the middle should disappear? Words as right or left loose their meaning? Why did I miss this important moment? No people who saw this happen?
‘But the journalists wrote about this I suppose, although I do not rember at all an article…’
‘You should think so. But why you do not know?’
I shaked my head.
‘Why? Walter repeat.
‘Well, wait a minute, you will say…. in the same train..?
Walter agree and moved his head.
‘Journalist love enemies. As you know, two sides and news is guaranteed. Also the job. But wat happened during that time in Germany? The wall went down. No enemy anymore. So?’
‘They start to look for…’
‘Yes, to find something else, big or strong. To be sure for work in the future. ‘
‘Without any problem they jumped on that train. From that moment: everybody in the same direction. Money boys, money does not stink.’
‘No, but, that means …a propaganda machine?’ Through the window we saw Freek who came up with an icebox.
Inside the small house he took two bottles of beer out of it and made excuse for the non alcoholic drinks.
‘My parents love a new healthy lifestyle.’
He smiled and put a saucer with herb cakes on the table.
‘Do you guys make progress?’
Walter said quick:
‘I saw a lot of sun panels on the roof of the house. So your parents are fans of durable energy. Do they know that a sun panel has not a long life and the demolition, say after about ten years gives more problems than nucleair waste?’
My friend looked at him with big eyes. I thought: Walter raised serious and deep in this subject already.
‘Oh, no, when I should say that you can go home right away.’
We all were laughing.
’At the moment we talk about the irritating sound of a windmill in your neighberhood.’ Freek seemed to understand. ‘And the costs of transformations.’
‘Well, as long as we do not need to pay for the sun and the sea, I find everything ok.’
My friend promised not to disturb us anymore. I noticed that outside the wind started a bit.
Walter took a few subs before he continued.
‘So all journalists in the train followed the orders. Shots of melting ice, the bears who are hungry, sea levels rising and so on..’, he shook his head,’ every day, again and again, with a little variation. Repeat, repeat and repeat till everybody believes it, nobody has any doubt anymore. If you have, you are a fool. You believe in fake news. An outcast.
‘Repeating, yes I know the effect of that.’
‘Do not forget: all media at the same time!’
Silently we were drinking. Outside it looked as if snowing suddenly worsened. Walter continued as if he started a lecture:
‘Melting ice on the poles is every year. Quite normal. But the picture is settled in your head. From that moment, every time you see or read something related to the climate you are afraid again. The connection is made. And when fear is grounded, tabels and models will do the rest. Of course, such a thing is not only with climate, it can be with all big things.’
Again we were drinking without talking. Walters head seemed to be a little more red.
‘Not only the shots in the news. Talkshows where people day after day tell about dangerous global heating as if that is sure. Do you remember when you started to believe in it?’
I shook my head. Quite a while we did not say anything only eating fruitcake and looked at the waggle snowflakes.
‘Do you want that I stop to believe in….’
‘Believe what you want. I only give facts, in the papers you can find the argumentations. Of course there are bad things in the environment and we have to do a lot to make life better, that is not the point. Let’s try to make a choice what subject we take out of the huge field.’
Developing jobs? Earning models? Not realy exiting or stimulate my motivation.. I thought.
It was difficult to stop Walter at the moment. In a short time he had developed a strong and clear view.
‘Human beings produce so little Co2. Forget that. The sea is the producer and regulate the gas. Co2 is necessary for the environment!’
‘But it heats up?’ It was a last desperate effort.
‘You see how your condition works? Almost negligible. But….climate change all the time, day, years, centuries, millions of years and more. In nature everything goes up and down, so natural.
I heaved a sigh.
‘Think man, how can we be stronger than the sea and the sun? Computers have already problems with the predictions for tomorrow: different computers, different models. Warming up, cooling down. Nature corrects itself in time.’
I looked at the white world, the snow on the trees outside. Do I have to drop my so called, believe? Are we not guilty? Are all that scientists in the word corrupt? Journalists in the same train? What about that expensive conferences in the world? Swindle? No believe, no train, no subsidy? Maybe we have to wait till the English film is there.
Walter looked at me and said:
‘I am thirsty.’
He took new bottles out of the box.
‘First of all I want to read….and I need more time Walter.’
‘Of course! In the meantime the first thing to do is to present een proposal for a our documentary at my chief. I suppose you submit that to me. We have to do that as soon as possible.’
We toasted before he gave me a change to say something.
A day before our important meeting I went home. Today Walter had a meeting with his chef. The glaze had crossed into rain. Before the door I shook my umbrella and slipped inside. This was a mild winter but what does that say in the big picture of the history of the planet?
My believe in climate change caused by human beings was transformed. I found myself a fool, a slave of the media, an opportunist. My believe in the past was naive, stupid, I never thought about the point that scientists have always different theories. That in science there is never one train, one direction.
We have to open the eyes of people in our documentary and show them what really is going on. Let them think. My motivation is strong.
Inside my working space I walked to the computer and checked the inbox. Walter mailed:
A day to cry, a day to laugh.
Cry, because…… my chief start laughing about our idea. He thought it was a joke. Everybody is against global heating and a fan of controlling Co2, he said. Where are you talking about? He did not understand it at all. I became angry and went so far that he suddenly said: do you ask for a dismissal?….so, it is what it is: forget our film.
Damned regrettable. In the hurry we forgot to think about a good presentation to sell the idea. In the first place my fault. Of course this man is also in that train.
We can try another road but at the moment I think we are already too late. Your brother can go on, laughing….laughing.…tonight as you know I have a carnaval party. Come to our pub. Later we will find another train. Maybe not too late. For a moment you can flush away the climate hysterie.
The mobile telephone showed a message. Walter asked why he does not see me in the pub.
In the light of a lantern I could perceive that the rain stopped. The phone made a sound. Much noise at the other side. From far I could pick out the voice of Walter, it was difficult to hear what he said. Only the word prince was clear.
An hour later I tried to wurm through the crowd in the pub to the restaurant, today transformed into a carnavals space. On a small stage a band was playing and people were drinking and singing.
After several subs of beer I approached the stage.
I saw Walter as Prince Carnaval, beautiful dressed, moving a stick to all sides. Suddenly he recognized me. A few times alaaf followed.
On stage I moved my arms up and copied the movements of the other people around me. Walter suddenly pushed up his stick straight into the air and the music stopped right away.
‘Tonight my last living legs, we will have a special lullaby looner.’
After a move of Walter the music answered: alaaf.
‘He is a windy wild westerner who let the windmills wave.’
People in the audience were laughing and screaming.
‘Time for a special moment.’
Out of his pocket he drawed a lint with a big blue rosette, in the middle in bold:
He dropped the lint around my neck while he said:
‘I declare this wake-up windsock wanderer from where-land to the world of the wind prizes. Till in eternity. Amen.
I got giggles. Proud I showed the rozet to all sides.
Three times alaaf clinched and the party continued as before.
The film: The Great Global Warming Swindle