Last Updated: 18 January 2018 - 05:54
News ID: 3475
Publish Date: 05 June 2014 - 13:48
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Dutch editorial cartoonist and coordinator of the VJ Movement cartoonist network – reflects on the International Media Forum on the Protection of Nature.
Zistboom: Tjeerd Royaards Dutch editorial cartoonist and coordinator of the VJ Movement cartoonist network – reflects on the International Media Forum on the Protection of Nature.

On October 13-16, the 8thInternational Media Forum on the Protection of Naturewas held in Cuneo, Italy. Each year, non-profit organizationGreenaccordinvites 130 (environmental) journalists from around the world to catch up on the latest environment and sustainability news. This year, I was invited to give a presentation about cartoonists and the environment.

It turned out that getting there presented something of a problem. Arriving at the Nice airport, I had intended to take the train into Italy. This was not to be, as the French had decided to declare a national strike to protest a proposed rise in retirement age. Luckily, there were buses that would take me to the last station before the Italian border. From there, Italian trains would run according to schedule, a SNCF official told me. At 8 in the evening, I arrived at Breil-sur-Roya (translation: middle of nowhere), where a nice lady at the ticket desk told me no trains would run that evening. ‘Maybe tomorrow’, she added helpfully, as I watched the bus pulling out of the parking lot.

With few other options left, I decided to try my luck at hitchhiking. And as luck would have it, I was picked up after about 45 minutes by a nice Italian who dropped me off at a train station only 15 kilometers from Cuneo. From there, I could finally take the train, arriving in Cuneo only an hour later than I had originally planned.

Although the cartoon above might suggest otherwise (so much for my invitation next year), the forum is in many ways a useful way to bring environmentally concerned journalists together. It is, however, quite exhausting to listen to 4 days of presentations, from 9 in the morning until 8 at night.

Being the second to last speaker on the final day of the forum, I decided to let the cartoons do most of the work in my presentation, and not to bore an already weary crowd with lots of talk. We have lots of great environment cartoons at VJ Movement, and the response they received was amazing.

One cartoon in particular got an extra round of applause. Italians do like the sound of their own voice, and this is especially true for Italian government officials, of which there was no lack of during the forum. National, regional and local politicians all had their say, giving rather lengthy talks on how important they feel sustainability is (and of course how successful they are in implementing sustainable policies). My presentation came directly after one of these officials. One of the first cartoons I showed was the one below by Italian cartoonist Matteo Bertelli. I probably did not make friends in the Italian government, but it was a crowd pleaser.

All in all, it was a good experience. The part of this job I love the most is the response of people have when they see our cartoons. I once again realized that cartoons have a real power to raise awareness about certain issues in a concise and critical way, and that what we’ve created with VJ Movement is something quite unique.

Source: VJ Movement
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