The climate crisis is here. The world is on fire, melting and flooding. Heat records are being broken time and time again, with significant consequences for all life on Earth. Almost everyone in the Netherlands knows someone who experienced extreme weather this summer. The impacts are felt most by those who have contributed the least to this crisis, both within our borders and far beyond. It is clear that we need to take rapid and drastic action. That’s why we will demand this change in Amsterdam on Sunday, November 12.
Politics that prioritize corporate profits over people’s well-being push us into social insecurity. Starters can no longer afford homes. Social housing has been stripped down. Major cuts in healthcare and education result in waiting lists and degradation. Due to inhumane policies, refugees sleep on the streets in Ter Apel. The affected people in Groningen and the parents in the childcare allowance scandal have still not been compensated. Nature is also suffering: nitrogen emissions from Tata, Schiphol, and the bio-industry threaten vulnerable natural areas. The air is polluted and multinational corporations discharge toxic substances into our surface water, often without consequences. This must change: the polluter must pay.
We need a government that serves the interests of the people, not multinational corporations. A government that combats inequality. One that upholds human rights and fights for nature. A government that ensures everyone receives good healthcare and education and protects us from the climate crisis. A government that ensures this transition is inclusive for everyone. A government that invests in our future and stops fossil fuel subsidies.
What we need is fair policy. For example, invest in home insulation so that people no longer have to choose between a cold home or a high bill. Put money into public transportation as an alternative to high fuel prices. Build a caring society with more green jobs in healthcare and education and guarantee income and job security for workers in the fossil fuel industry. Support these workers in shaping their future in a sustainable economy.
Now is the time for international solidarity. It is essential to support vulnerable countries that have contributed little to climate change but must now defend themselves against its consequences. This fight for climate justice is not isolated; the roots of the climate crisis are connected to other important issues in these elections, from growing income inequality to institutional racism, from the housing crisis to equal rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community. There is a lot at stake in the upcoming elections. Let’s fight the climate crisis while simultaneously ensuring a dignified existence for everyone in the Netherlands and beyond.
But this won’t happen on its own. Only through mass protest can we change politics. That’s why we are building a broad movement of people who prioritize humanity and the climate over the profits of major polluters. If we take to the streets en masse, politics can no longer ignore us. Together, we will force fair (climate) policies. Now, because the crisis is now.”
The March for Climate and Justice is an initiative by the Dutch Climate Crisis Coalition, which is a collaboration between ten different organizations and groups: Oxfam Novib, Fridays For Future, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, FNV, Fossielvrij NL, Milieudefensie, Grootouders voor het Klimaat, Code Rood, DeGoedeZaak and TNI. The protest itself is organized by a team of passionate people like you, as well as a large number of enthusiastic volunteers – and of course we would be nowhere without the people who donate to this cause.
Listen to the available science and be honest about de consequences of the climate crisis. We are looking at uncontrollable global warming and the complete disruption of our habitat. The only answer is rapid change by means of regulating big polluters and reducing greenhouse gases as much as possible. In order to remain under the already disastrous 1.5 degrees of warming, we need to become climate neutral as quickly as possible. Involving civilians in this process is essential. As a rich country we should be leading the way, not trailing behind.
Oil, coal and gas heat up the Earth and spark disastrous conflicts. It is therefore essential that we quit fossil subsidies, block new fossil projects and divest from fossil altogether. Prohibit fossil fuel lobbyists from greenwashing via ads, sponsoring and marketing. Listen to ordinary citizens instead. Our government must radically reduce flights at Schiphol, cancel Lelystad Airport and invest in sustainable alternatives.
We want job security and perspective for everyone currently working in sectors that need to heavily reduce their emissions and/or energy use. The government, as well as companies, can offer guarantees in the shape of retraining and well-paid permanent jobs in e.g. healthcare, energy transition or education. Everyone who transitions to a less pollutive job should be able to make use of this support scheme, and should be offered good working conditions and fair terms of employment.
The big polluters and the richest one percent of the world who have not only caused the climate crisis but have also reaped colossal benefits off of their destructive behaviour, should be the to carry the heaviest burden. Their profits should be invested in civilians instead – especially those with the least resources – for example by insulating homes and investing in healthcare and education.
The climate crisis is a crisis of inequality. Across the globe, the poorest people are affected most by problems they have contributed to the least. Vulnerable countries should therefore be supported in their efforts to adapt to a changing climate. They should also receive compensation for previous damage, and get the means to restore living areas of most affected communities. The Dutch government has an obligation to listen to these communities and to involve them when creating solutions. The climate crisis doesn’t end at the border.
Most of the Netherlands’ energy supply still originates from fossil fuels. We must shift towards sustainable energy and increase its scale on land and at sea, whilst also reducing overall energy use. In this process, benefits for civilians and earnest care for nature must go hand in hand. Participation of civilians is key. Nuclear power plants are no part of the solution due to waste issues, time constraints and safety risks.
The Dutch agricultural system treats farmers unfairly and destroys ecosystems in the process. The future lies in nature-inclusive, circular agriculture with substantially less animals and price guarantees for healthy food. Farmers should receive support in this transition, and should be able to carry out their profession in a sustainable way.
Biodiversity is falling: nitrogen issues, microplastics, waste mountains. Forests are being cut down on a mass scale. This is inconsistent with the need for CO2 uptake via trees, and the importance of healthy ecosystems. Therefore our government must make large-scale investments in nature restoration and biodiversity. Any additional climate solutions must also be sustainable in order to facilitate this process. When tackling the climate crisis and ecological crisis, it is only possible to do so hand in hand.