Poles pedal to power outdoor cinema as energy prices soar

  • September 4, 2022
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WARSAW — For Marek Kaszewek, 63, there’s no better way to spend a Friday evening than watching a film, riding a bike and doing something good for the planet all at once.

“We are learning how to operate in a new world,” he told Reuters as he pedaled a static bike with an eye on a screen showing him how much charge he was generating to show a film in Warsaw’s central Pole Mokotowskie park.

“It’s important to find a way to continue helping our planet.”

He was one of dozens of Poles who showed up at the event to watch the film Knives Out. A row of bikes had been set up behind fold-out chairs in front of a big screen on a clear, late summer’s night in the Polish capital.

The bikes were plugged into a generator that would provide at least 50% of the power required to show the film.

The initiative is part of a series set up by services company Impel that has toured Polish cities this summer, with the aim of encouraging Poles to think about more environmentally-friendly ways of living.

“The negative impact of companies…are felt on a daily basis. Snowless winters, torrential rain, excessive temperatures. We don’t need to explain anymore what global warming is, we feel it every day,” David Frik, Impel’s marketing manager said.

The events have been held as energy prices are set to spike across Europe and many Poles wonder how they will afford their bills.

Around 3.8 million people in Poland rely on coal for heating and now face shortages and price hikes, after Poland and the European Union imposed an embargo on Russian coal following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Patrycja Kowalkowska, 25, brought her boyfriend to see the movie and said she’s been spending more time thinking of ways to limit her energy use.

“Before I got on the bike I even said that I want one to charge my phone,” she said with a laugh. — Reuters