When does laughter go viral? When it stops a Trump administration panel at the United Nations-sponsored climate conference in Katowice, Poland. And Boulder's Michaela Mujica-Steiner was right in the middle of the craziness.
As reported by the Washington Post, a panel discussion starring the U.S. delegation to the Katowice talks had been under way for about ten minutes when Wells Griffith, one of the president's top climate advisers, made this statement: "We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability."
This assertion was met by guffaws from dozens of attendees, after which a woman yelled, "These false solutions are a joke!"
An instant later, a contingent began chanting, "Keep it in the ground!" as the session descended into chaos.
Here's what happened, as shared on video by Leo Hickman, the director and editor of Carbon Brief, a U.K. website:
In a press release about the craziness, Mujica-Steiner notes that afterward, "four representatives from Indigenous, youth, and Global South communities took the microphone and shared stories about the growing movement in the U.S. to stop fossil fuel and uranium extraction and advance a just transition to 100 percent
Mujica-Steiner says that the presence of Trump administration climate deniers at the conference is a joke.
In her words, Trump's "only priority is ensuring that fossil fuel CEOs get rich off of the destruction of our communities. It’s time for the United States to pay up and support a just and equitable transition away from dirty energy."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Mujica-Steiner's bio at sustainus.org describes her as "a performance artist and activist living in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Currently, she is working with East Boulder County United, Boulder DSA and other local groups to stop fracking, and kick the political influence of fossil fuel CEOs out of her home state for good."
Mujica-Steiner "focuses on direct action campaigns, and multi-medium body-based performance art," the bio continues, "exploring different ways in which our bodies can be tools for resistance or submission."
Her vocal cords, and those of her fellow protesters in Poland, certainly proved to be effective in this respect.
Or, as the Washington Post's headline notes: "That was awkward."