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€2.4 million for projects to tackle climate crisis, as new march planned

19:52 12/06/2020

The government of the Brussels Capital-Region has earmarked €2.4 million for projects that promote sustainability, climate minister Alain Maron (Ecolo) has announced. Simultaneously, the Extinction Rebellion has announced a big climate march for 27 June.

Maron (pictured) is calling for proposals from Brussels’ 19 municipalities for projects that directly address the climate crisis. Every municipality can get up to €150,000 for projects.

Proposals should focus on measures to limit direct or indirect emissions in the food and waste sectors, conservation programmes, water management or the establishment or recovery of biodiversity.

“Combating climate change is one of the priorities of this government, and the corona crisis has laid bare an urgent need to accelerate the development of a more environmentally friendly city,” said Maron. “It is up to all of us to make the necessary changes together.”

Massive protest on 27 June

The local chapter of climate crisis movement Extinction Rebellion, meanwhile, is calling for a major protest march on Saturday, 27 June. While public gatherings of this size are in fact banned because of efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19, the group is keen to resist the “hectic race to get back to business as usual,” said spokesperson Leen Schelfhout.

The coronavirus crisis “is not an isolated incident,” Schelfhout continued. “Virologists, economists and climatologists have made it clear that more crises like this will follow. And they might even get worse. These are health, economic, ecological, political and social crises that all have a direct or indirect connection to the same thing: A way of life that damages the environment and all living things.”

The Extinction Rebellion held a protest on Place des Palais last October The Extinction Rebellion held a protest on Place des Palais last October

While the federal measures to control the spread of the coronavirus limit public gatherings to 10 people, police did not intervene in the many Black Lives Matter protests last weekend, except when fringe groups of protestors gathered outside of the designated areas or when things got violent, as they did in Brussels. Still, the protests earned much criticism from politicians and other public figures.

“We do not want to put anyone in a dangerous situation, but we need to be visible,” said Schelfhout. “We feel that this is the moment to let our voices be heard in public space.”

To that end, march organisers are asking people to gather in Brussels’ pedestrian zone to disrupt daily life, “from consumerism, finance and politics to transport, pollution, advertising and exploitation.”

Photos, from top: ©Nicolas Maeterlinck, ©Antony Gevaert/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw