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Nnimmo Bassey, co-recipient of the Alternative Noble Prize, in an Elevate-Interview about the Festival theme Human Nature.

Nnimmo Bassey will join Elevate the Campus on 02.03. and will take part at the opening of Elevate Festival 2020 on 04.03.

Free entry! -> Full programme info.


Elevate's festival theme 2020 is "Human Nature". What's your second thought about it?

Humanity has long lost its nature and now assumes that everything is human nature. We think it is human nature to own Nature. This attitude has gravely eroded the essence of who we are by nature.

And your first?

Love. Solidarity. Cooperative. Justice. Empathy. Community. Respect. Knowing we are human beings in a community of other beings. These are the hallmarks of human nature.

Quo Vadis Humanity? In 2009 Elevate's main theme was the climate crisis. 10 years have passed. Whats your take on the next 10?

Humanity is heading to the precipice. 10 years ago we were campaigning that global temperature rise must not be allowed to go higher than 1 degree Celsius above pre industrial levels. We were campaigning that polluting nations must take their fair share of climate mitigation actions. We were insisting that justice must remain the bedrock of climate action. We called for Climate finance rather than needless, mindless investment in warfare. Where are we now? The world is celebrating a 2 degrees target and nations are fighting to avoid responsibility. Climate arithmetic has trumped climate action. However, the next 10 years will be dramatically different. There will be a massive reversion to reality as mass movements come together to build a truly progressive internationalist rejection of inhuman actions and governments.

The relationship of humans and technology - more reasons to be pessimistic or optimistic? Can you name some?

More reasons to be pessimistic. Unfortunately. We tend to think that technofixes will take care of a broken human nature. Of broken Nature. Rather than transiting from a fossil fuels dependent civilization we are hearing talks that humans can continue with business as usual while technological advances will place sunshades and mirrors in the sky to take care of solar radiation. We hearing about captured forests capturing carbon so polluters can amass more profit and the poor can wallow in deeper misery. Brilliant scientists are developing extreme genetic engineering technologies to ensure species extinction. As though climate driven extinction wasn’t bad enough!

And our relationship with nature? Of course we are "part of it", but....where are we going?

It is a crazy time in history. Humans hardly remember that we are part of nature. We have literally lost our mind. Wisdom dictates that we work with Nature and not against her. We are probably heading towards another planet because as my people say, when you burn your mother’s house you inherit the ashes. Is there Planet B?

"Psycho-spiritual crisis", "a psychotic society",... How bad is the status quo of humanity?

We aren’t sounding sufficient alarm bells. Or maybe we aren’t listening to the bells. Or we may think they are tolling for the koalas, moths, locusts, antelopes and lions. It is a fiery moment in time. But we are capable of waking from our slumber if we arise and stop pretending we are asleep.

A message to the Elevate Festival community? What can we do?

Shake the tables. Speak truth to power. Connect the struggles. Eliminate barriers. Fight inequality! Pull down the walls! Elevate our true human nature of love and solidarity. Open the classrooms of the street.

Elevate features many amazing artists in the music & arts programme. Can we meet you on the Dancefloor too?

Yes. See you on the Dance floor of the mind! 


Nnimmo Bassey will join Elevate the Campus on 02.03. and will take part at the opening of Elevate Festival 2020 on 04.03.

Free entry! -> Full programme info.

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