Climate Change Conference

People marched from the Netherlands to Paris to protect the environment

L’associazione olandese Urgenda ha organizzato The Climate Miles: una marcia lunga 580 km, dall’Olanda alla Francia, per chiedere di salvare la Terra.

They left Utrecht, the Netherlands, on the 1st of November and arrived at Paris on the 28th. They’ve used no cars, motorbikes, or planes: they’ve walked 580 kilometres over 28 days. The aim? Reaching the French capital on the eve of the United Nations climate change conference (COP21) and urge immediate action to fight against climate change.

The initiative, called The Climate Miles, was conceived by the Dutch association Urgenda. It is the very association that managed to take the Netherlands to court in The Hague in order to make it reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and won unprecedented victory, through an “environmental class action” supported by 900 citizens as plaintiffs.

Students, professors, celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, and farmers joined the march. Some walked the entire route, others only a stretch. Among them, the meteorologists Margot Ribberink and Reinier van den Berg, the astronaut Andre Kuipers, the UK entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett, the actor Pieter Derks, and scientists and students from Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Ethiopia.

The environmentalist caravan, covering 20 to 25 kilometres a day and stopping once a week, has passed through the cities of Essen, Antwerp, Brussels, Saint-Quentin, and eventually Paris. Along the road, they left placards bearing messages reminding how important the climate challenge is.


La marcia dell'associazione olandese Urgenda, dai Paesi Bassi alla Francia, per chiedere di agire in difesa dell'ambiente ©Urgenda
The march oranised by the Dutch organisation Urgenda, from the Netherlands to France, to ask action to protect the environment ©Urgenda


“We want to demonstrate that a transition towards a sustainable society is possible: our march is a symbolic march towards a fossil fuels-free world,” said Marjan Minnesma, President of Urgenda. The association has published a report in 2014, explaining that the Netherlands could complete the energy transition towards renewable sources by 2030. It’s only about “political will”. “Our generation is the first generation to be affected by climate change and, at the same time, is the last one able to do something to stop it. Through our march, we want the world to understand that this is the moment to act”.


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