Esther’s Blog: the all-important decade - what will you do?
A new decade has arrived and this decade will be decisive. We are in the midst of a climate crisis, nature crisis, and resource crisis. Worldwide, billions of animals and people are victims of this. The world is at a tipping point. That's why, just before New Year's Eve, we saw people of all ages and backgrounds take to the streets and demand action that their government keep our earth livable.
The Dutch court also ruled for the third and final time for procrastination has passed. The supreme court ruled in favor of Urgenda - a Dutch foundation that is committed to making the Netherlands sustainable more quickly - that the Dutch cabinet must ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 25% by the end of this year compared to 1990. Not because a few green people want it so badly, but because the State takes unacceptable risks regarding the safety of its citizens if it doesn't. By delaying a serious climate policy, the Dutch State is violating its duty of care and acting in violation of human rights. This historic statement is also an important turning point in the international fight against climate change.
"It's frightening that we have to fight our government to save the environment." I wore this famous quote from photographer Ansel Adams in 2015 on my dress as a political statement. Terrifying indeed, that citizens must force action from their government and that their government thwart them in every possible way: climate and animal rights defenders are being hit hard, while large polluters such as the livestock industry, the fossil fuel industry, and the aviation sector are supported and promoted. Shameless.
The European Union (EU) also continues to pursue an anti-climate policy, despite the nice words of a so-called "Green Deal" and an adopted motion in which the European Parliament proclaims the climate crisis. After all, there is still 365 billion euros in European subsidies for agriculture, including the largest greenhouse gas producer: livestock farming. Free trade deals with Canada (CETA), Latin America (Mercosur), United States (TTIP) and Thailand are concluded at the expense of climate, animal welfare, and human rights. If that EU policy does not stop, the green talks are a sham.
The Netherlands seems to get a decisive vote in the future of destructive trade deals. The Party for the Animals leads the debate and in the meantime has won over the entire opposition, from left to right, in its resistance to, for example, CETA. Now that a ruling party has also begun to doubt, the chances are very small that the treaty will be adopted. The vote on this in the Netherlands has been postponed. Social resistance to trade agreements such as CETA, the Mercosur treaty is immense: from environmental organizations, farmers, and consumer organizations to trade unions, scientists, and lawyers. Together we will continue to demand the government stop this all-destructive trade policy.
Help the Australian animal protectors
In 2008, scientists already warned of more intense and longer forest fires as a result of the climate crisis. The governments did not listen. We now see one of the consequences of this every day in the horrific images from Australia: dozens of people died in Australian forest fires, more than a billion (!) Animals died. And it is not over yet: the extreme heat and drought persist. There is no evacuation plan for animals. Our sister party Animal Justice Party works very hard with many local organizations to help injured animals and provide food for survivors. They called the Australian authorities back from recess and in Victoria state they successfully pleaded for a stop to the hunt for kangaroos.
There is also good news to start the year with. In November, our motion for a fireworks ban was rejected. Now, we have a majority of the Dutch House of Representatives behind our bill to ban consumer fireworks. It can go that fast. After all, a party with hundreds of victims, terrified animals, endangered care providers, and a polluted environment every year is not a party.
In the European Union, just before the end of the year, the Party for Animals requested an urgent debate on the atrocities that occur during animal transport. There appeared to be sufficient political support within the European Parliament to tighten up the existing rules for animal transport. A drastic reduction in the maximum transport duration, better enforcement, and a ban on animal transport to countries outside the EU are necessary. The European Commission must now come up with a proposal.
We also put a stop to the admission of the dangerous agricultural poison Mancozeb: the European Commission wanted to extend the admission of the poison (by toxicologists associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's) by one year, but a majority of the European Parliament voted for an objection motion by our MEP Anja Hazekamp and wants to ban the substance by 31 January. The European Commission must now reconsider its decision.
Strong together. What are you going to do?
The past decade has shown: whoever tramples the earth, nature, and animals also tramples people. Only when we learn to look beyond the short-term interests of our own species, will we be able to keep the earth livable for all its inhabitants - humans and animals.
This decade we have to work hard to keep our earth livable. Everyone can make the difference. An important step is to opt for plant-based consumption: replacing animal milk and meat with plant-based treats. George Monbiot, journalist at The Guardian, made a fantastic documentary about it. It's available to view for free here for another month. Watch and share!
What will you do for a livable earth this new year?
Until next time!
(Parliamentary leader Party for the Animals)