The Netherlands is protesting against climate change, and the upcoming parliamentary elections are already on the horizon. Frans Timmermans, among others, appeared during the protest in Amsterdam.
Seemingly, they have little in common. They are of different ages, come from different backgrounds and cultures, but they came for the same cause – to show how important the climate and environment are. – There is a lot of uncertainty about the state of our climate. I am very concerned about this – emphasizes one of the protesters, who adds that he hopes that people will notice the problem and politicians will take action.
A total of 70,000 people marched through Amsterdam for several hours on Sunday afternoon to mark this position. Some had never participated in such a demonstration before. – The Dutch government awards €37.5 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. Such data was published two months ago. I was really shocked by this. I didn’t think it was such an amount. I couldn’t believe my eyes and that’s what brought me here. This is actually my first climate protest – emphasizes Robbert Schep, an IT employee in Amsterdam.
The power of protest
Protesters are shouting because, in their opinion, too little is being said about the climate crisis. There is a lack of awareness and, consequently, there is no social pressure on politicians, because nothing can be achieved other than through the decisions of those in power. – The topic of climate change and sustainable development is neglected, but in my opinion it is extremely important. People do not have enough knowledge and education. In the public debate, too little is said about the disaster that awaits us, and these are not just jokes. We have to do something collectively, warns Daria Delawar, a Ukrainian living in Amsterdam. – I’m worried about climate change and the decline in biodiversity.
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– People can choose ecology, they can act more ecologically. They can also choose the right politicians. I mean the elections that are approaching in the Netherlands, adds Maria Rus, advisor to the Municipal Water Department in Amsterdam.
In just over a week, the Dutch will vote in early parliamentary elections. Among those running are former EU climate commissioner Frans Timmermans. They stood not only for the protest, but also at the head of the combined Labor and Green Parties. “The climate crisis is happening now. It affects young and old: we have massively demonstrated and shouted that time is running out. It’s high time to take action for a clean and sustainable world,” he wrote on social media.
To start taking action
Greta Thunberg also appeared at the demonstration. However, the activist enraged another protester who at one point took over her microphone. – We are destabilizing the biosphere and the systems on which our survival as a civilization depends. We are not on the brink of disaster, it is already underway. People on the front line of the climate crisis have been experiencing its consequences firsthand for decades and sounding the alarm, but those in power have not listened to them, Greta appealed. The man shouted that he did not come to hear about political views. He referred in this way to the Swedish woman’s scarf and its expression of solidarity with Palestine. He was quickly removed from the scene.
Activists constantly put pressure on politicians, but also corporations. In February 2023, six Greenpeace activists boarded a Shell mining vessel. They demanded that oil drilling be stopped. Now Greenpeace is facing a lawsuit. The fuel concert demanded compensation of up to more than $8.5 million. The amount is intended to cover costs related to shipping delays, expenses for additional security and legal issues. – This company is destroying the climate all over the world and neither takes responsibility for it nor pays for it – explains one of the activists.
Greenpeace stated that such a high claim threatens the existence of the organization. Shell offered to reduce this amount to almost USD 1.5 million, provided that it would stop protesting against the company.
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Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ROBIN UTRECHT