On Sunday, March 10, 2019, the the dam in Amsterdam was the starting point of a climate march. After all school strikes for climate in the Netherlands, Belgium and the rest of Europe took to the streets, I thought I could no longer sit on my ass. I was very curious what would happen during the march and afterwards in politics. With my blog I regularly try to write about nature and the environment, but participating in this march was really the next step. It was the very first time I ever participated in a protest.
As a child I have often seen images of squatters and punk types who chained themselves to fences to show that they disagreed with something.
I never really had the feeling that I had to show that I disagreed with something. At first because I had not yet developed my own opinion and once I did, it seemed to me to be very useless. This time it’s different. I think we have to show that it is no longer of this time to handle our planet like this. So that’s why I was there.
In the end almost 40,000 people showed up despite the fact that it was extremely wet and very cold and windy that day. When I arrived at the dam a few minutes before the start of the program, it was already packed. I had agreed with a friend to meet in front of Madame Tussauds, but we were not the only ones who had come up with this idea. Before we found each other I had been in the crowd for a while. Flags, plates and umbrellas regularly obstructed my view. And while it was pouring with rain, the group around me was euphoric. A woman went completely crazy while her children were sadly standing there, somewhat ashamed of their mother.
I casually talked to different people, everyone wanted to share why they were there and what they are already doing to have less impact on the environment. In the meantime, the program on the stage was well on its way, but it was impossible to hear, apart from the remark that we were there with 30,000 people. After this a huge cheering rose.
Once it really started, everyone was happy that we could finally start walking. Along the way a lot of music was made. It had a cozy atmosphere of unity. Tourists and casual passers-by were completely surprised by the parade. Occasionally we could see for ourselves how long the march was. Both the beginning and the end of the procession simply could not be seen.
A few days after the climate march it became known what the set climate goals will cost and whether the goals were achieved with the intended measures. In response, Mark Rutte has announced that he and his party are now in favor of a CO2 tax for companies. You might think that this is a huge advance on the part of the government, but I fear that this is just another populist action by the VVD to influence the elections of 20 March.
I now wonder to what extent the protest has been useful. I have to say that I am quite skeptical about protests. Politics is shrugging and quietly continuing with what they were already doing. I think it has more effect on our fellow citizens who are not actively thinking about climate change. Because the discussion is open, it is increasingly being discussed. I notice that with friends and acquaintances I still talk more and more about these things.
Ondanks dat het niet direct in de politiek terug te vinden is denk ik toch dat de mars samen met alle scholieren stakingen ervoor zorgt dat er wat gaat veranderen. Laten we hopen dat het snel genoeg is.