Your Kingdom is burning. We are all in an unprecedented crisis situation, both in terms of scale and severity. We address You directly to ask for help. Every day that passes sees the means at our disposal to remedy the crisis diminish.
Article 23 of the Belgian Constitution clearly states that “Everyone has the right to lead a life in accordance with human dignity.” These rights include, in addition to the fundamental rights to work, social security, health care, decent housing, cultural and social development, the right to the protection of a healthy environment.
The scientific data are unequivocal. The reports of the IPCC all lead us to the same conclusion: a radical change in our production and consumption patterns must be initiated immediately to have any chance of preserving life conditions that can provide human dignity to all in Belgium. It is no longer just a question of protecting future generations. The consequences of the current political inaction on ecological and climate issues are already being felt around the world.
However, we are appalled by the failure of successive governments to fulfil their fundamental duty to protect our environment. We are appalled by the inability of our politicians and political parties to overcome their quarrels to face the most important challenge that humanity has ever faced. To date, nothing significant has been done by our political leaders to address the crisis and there is no sign that they intend to do so in the near future.
We are concerned citizens, of all ages and backgrounds, who are part of Extinction Rebellion, a movement that exists in more than fifty countries to date. We consider our actions of non-violent civil disobedience as our civic duty. We suspend the normal course of our lives and dedicate our energies and resources to asking:
- that the Government declares a Climate and Ecological Emergency, and recognises the need for rapid transformation of our economic system;
- that the Government enacts a comprehensive and legally-binding National Emergency Plan which phases out the extraction and import of fossil fuels by 2025, and prioritises the restoration of biodiversity and the preservation of our natural environment;
- a Citizens’ Assembly, equipping our regions and communities with the resources and the authority to ensure a managed transition to an equitable post-growth society.
Acknowledging the failure of our governments, we turn to Your Majesty for help. We are well aware of the constitutional limitations imposed on Your Majesty in the exercise of political power. However, in these exceptionally grave circumstances, we recognize the need for extraordinary measures to protect our lives, those of our (as well as Your) children, and the ecosystem on which we all depend.
We therefore respectfully ask His Majesty to leave his constitutional reserve to make the official declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency in Belgium. This is clearly a symbolic declaration. However, coming from His Majesty, this is a strong gesture that can significantly contribute to the most urgent implementation of a real crisis plan that mobilizes all available resources to deal with the climate and ecological disaster unfolding before our eyes.
On the 12th of October, we will come and occupy the garden in front of your Brussels palace to hold people’s assemblies open to all. All concerned inhabitants of Belgium are invited to join. Together, we can reflect seriously on what needs to be done in Belgium to make the radical and essential change of course. In this way, we will be able to demonstrate the willingness and the capacity of citizens to face the gravity of the current situation.
We will come to occupy the garden of your palace in peace, without any violent intention. We are resolute and determined though. We are fully aware that we will break the law, but are ready to assume the consequences. At a time when marches, petitions and even scientific reports are being ignored, this is the only choice we have left if we want to act and be heard.
We hereby wish to invite Your Majesty to join us on the 12th of October in the garden in front of Your palace, to address the citizens who will have gathered there and, as we sincerely hope, to make a solemn declaration of climate and ecological emergency in Belgium.
Our actions and demands may seem unreasonable to some. We believe that extraordinary pleas such as these are at the height of this historical period of complete blindness to the reality of our planet.
Please receive, Your Majesty, our respectful and devout sentiments,
Extinction Rebellion Belgium