For Amsterdam residents who are so worried about global warming, they were comforted that the judge rebuked Shell this week. “It is not true that we, as consumers, have to deal with debt.”
On the ferry way back, Seitz Fortwyn (15) on Wednesday heard about the loss of Shell in the Milieudefensie climate case. It was the same phrase he had campaigned a week ago with other students bearing placards like “Shell must fall” and “No more shells.” “It gave me a lot of energy.”
As scientists became increasingly pessimistic about global warming and Donald Trump halted a global approach to climate change for four years, elections in the Netherlands ended in disappointment for the green and left-wing parties. “That’s why this was such a big, boost,” says the high school third-year student. “There is widespread among the young people a great feeling of helplessness. I’m not allowed to vote about us. I can really lose sleep because of that.”
The joy was even greater when a judge blamed Shell on climate change. “Shell is the Dutch oil company after all,” says the student. “It is like a giant that almost hits your village.”
The statement was also a huge relief to 16-year-old Jesse Van Shayk. In between my VWO exams, I stood with a demolition ball in front of the Shell desk with the Code Rood action set last week. It’s also part of the Greta Thunberg Friday for Future-inspired school movement, just like Fortuin.
Van Shayk was one of seventeen thousand participants in the lawsuit. “For me, a lot of anger and despair meets in companies like Shell. How can they go about this while I just have to wait and see what’s left of my future? Sometimes I hope I’m wrong, it’s not as bad as I think. But even if the judge says humanity is in danger.” “It must be very dangerous. So it’s not just crazy tree huggers who want a few polar bears to survive.”
“I almost thought: Yes, we are right. Because I have no illusions: Shell will not comply with this. Just look at the government after the Urgenda ruling, which was already six years ago.”
Van Shayk thinks her generation in particular has to be anxious. “We will have to find our way in an inhospitable wasteland in twenty years.” Therefore, the verdict is not in any way reassuring. “I can only hope that it helps bring down this company.”
About the same comb
Margaret Goodden (75) drew new courage from judgment. “I almost fell from my seat,” she says. She hopes to have a domino effect and that other companies will now also be brought to court. Goddijn is campaigning for the grandparents’ movement for climate with special consideration for her five-year-old grandson. “But also my grandchildren. This is one such event that gives hope again.”
Goodden, a former AUAS lecturer, predicts that climate measures will also be easier for citizens to absorb when they see large companies forced to participate. “You can also see that in Amsterdam in the debate about windmills,” Godden says. “It doesn’t work if ordinary citizens have to do all kinds of things and big companies don’t.”
I thought Lisset defiled (35 years old) in the past. “It was a struggle all too often.” The climate movement has made itself heard through student campaigns and the Extinction Rebellion. Then the aura came.
This is why the verdict was such a big boost. Two weeks ago, environmental organization FossielvrijNL, led by it, unsuccessfully asked ABP to join shareholders demanding that Shell make it green faster.
FossielvrijNL was one of the organizations involved in the lawsuit with Milieudefensie, five other environmental organizations and seventeen thousand individual plaintiffs. Meddens hopes the ruling will accelerate awareness of the climate crisis. “If you look at the science and the facts, it won’t look as bright.”
The referee confirms this once again. “The more I allow it to affect you, the more frustrating it becomes to see a Shell advertisement in a bus shelter.”
Jelle Zijlstra (33) of the Amsterdam Queers4Climate movement sees judgment as a flatline under the idea that a better environment begins on your own. “We have stayed with that saying from the 1990s for a long time. As if it was your fault and things would be better if you separate your trash carefully. That explains why Shell has stayed out of harm’s way for so long.”
He hopes the judge will handle this. Lawsuits began piling up. It is not true that we as consumers have to run around in debt. A handful of companies are responsible for the lion’s share of pollution and this is where it starts. ”
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