A group of 10 Extinction Rebellion climate activists on Monday glued themselves to the entrance doors of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels.
Around 25 activists in total, coming from Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Italy among others, were present to call on the EU to do more against environmental damage and to criminalize ecocide — the deliberate and systematic destruction of ecosystems.
“We want [EU countries] to criminalize ecocide and the Commission could start doing that,” said Amelie, a member of Extinction Rebellion Berlin, while her hand was glued to the Commission’s building. “We don’t have time to wait because biodiversity loss is going on and on … we need to start acting.”
Tom, another activist with Extinction Rebellion France, said the aim of the action was also to ask EU leaders to put the issue on the European Council’s agenda on Thursday and Friday. “Unfortunately today, if you want to be heard, there aren’t many options but to use civil disobedience,” he said, adding that they chose to glue themselves to the Berlaymont building “because there is less security there” compared to the Council building.
A Commission official on his way to work said he wasn’t bothered by the action: “It’s their right to protest.” Another Commission official said: “Why are they arresting them?” pointing at the police officers, who started to unglue the activists. “It’s stupid,” she added, “if they [the activists] don’t do anything, who will?”
In December, the Commission presented a revision of the Environmental Crime Directive, with the aim of expanding the list of environmental crimes in EU legislation and toughening sanctions against damages done to nature. But it didn’t add ecocide to that list.
The European Commission’s Spokesperson’s Service did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.