July 26, 2021

The Swiss must speak out on climate and environmental issues

The link between Roger Federer, global warming and the Swiss Supreme Court? A judgment of the federal court, Friday June 11. The court of last resort has definitively condemned, for trespassing of domicile, climate activists who had invited themselves three years ago to the prestigious Lausanne building of the Crédit Suisse bank to play an improvised game of tennis on the marble. ripoliné from the main hall. With their slogan –“Wake up Roger! “- they symbolically denounced the bank’s oil financing, using the aura of its main image bearer, the Swiss tennis player, adored in the country.

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Annoyed to have been called “Fossil bank” in this operation which brought smiles across the country, the establishment preferred to prosecute the activists, so as not to encourage the multiplication of incidents in its agencies. The activists were released at first instance after pleading for “the climate emergency” to justify their action. Disappointed by the final verdict of the federal court, they let their lawyers know that they will seize the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In other Swiss cantons (Zurich, Friborg), trials of climate activists are increasing.

This verdict comes at the right time to underline the importance taken by climate and environmental issues on the Swiss political scene for three years. A trend that has not declined despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Sunday June 13, during their traditional day of quarterly voting, Swiss citizens will vote on several questions related to the environment or climate.

Communication massive du lobby agricole

It was above all the two popular anti-pesticide initiatives that took center stage, during a voting campaign marked by heated debates between traditional farmers and organic farmers, and supported by another rupture, between conservative campaigns and “bobos des cities ”, as we hear more and more often. Switzerland is also home to one of the largest manufacturers of plant protection products, the Basel group Syngenta, acquired in 2017 by the Chinese giant ChemChina.

A first text entitled “For a Switzerland free of synthetic pesticides” calls for the prohibition of these products within ten years. The importation of food produced abroad using or containing synthetic pesticides would also be prohibited. Another initiative (“For clean drinking water and healthy food”) calls for tougher environmental requirements which condition the payment of “direct payments”, the subsidies allocated by the Swiss Confederation to farmers. The text provides that this aid is only paid to farms that do not use pesticides.

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