To: LaFargeHolcim board members, and members of the Vaud Canton Parliament & Council
Call to support the ZAD de la Colline
In Switzerland, a few kilometers from Lausanne, the multinational cement company LaFargeHolcim seeks to expand the exploitation of the limestone quarry which consumes and attacks the Mormont hill. The quarry’s expansion threatens to engulf the hill’s protected forest, its unique biodiversity, its history and the cultivated lands which it is home to. The company is no stranger to such aggressions. Its involvement in over 120 cases of environmental and human rights violations is currently documented in 34 countries.
The Birette plateau is an area of precious biodiversity. It hosts an atypical flora comprising several protected species, including rare species of orchids. It is also of crucial archeological and historical importance. Furthermore, the extracted limestone participates in the colossal CO2 emissions produced by LaFarge Holcim and the cement sector, which is responsible for 12% of the global CO2 emissions. Holcim Switzerland is the company producing the most CO2 territorial emissions in the country.
Since the legal recourses submitted were unable to guarantee the termination of the project, the occupants of the Zone à Défendre (ZAD) de la Colline decided to block it in order to defend the hill’s biodiversity, local farming, cultural patrimony and, more broadly, the climate against the concrete industry. Through their physical occupation of the site, they oppose corporate land-grabbing, the rampant exploitation of resources whose transformation and usage is detrimental to the environment, health and human rights. Additionally, this ZAD seeks to understand and combat the socially and environmentally destructive system of which the company’s extractive project is a part.
Why is this important?
Holcim very recently filed a complaint against ZAD. The countdown has begun.
The fight to save Mormont hill is emblematic. It is the fight of the living world defending itself against the system which oppresses it ; a system within which multinational corporations and their race for profit engender destruction and exploitation. The occupants are fighting for life, for water, for the earth ; for the beauty of landscapes and fertile soil ; for the recognition of the rights of non-human elements. They are fighting to defy the exploitation of non-renewable resources, fossil fuels and illimited growth. They are fighting for our future and for their own. As well as for this unique hill.
The ZAD is more than a place of resistance. It is also a space of convergence and a collective, inclusive, experimental way to sustain innovative aspirations. By creating this space of community for the safeguard of the hill, the occupants are simultaneously carving a breach in the concrete wall which separates the current world from the one which we all hope for. They are supporting other ways of producing, consuming and living. This breach is the breach of possibility ; that of a creative and caring space where we try new ways of living together, that of a nascent, forming imaginary of community, perpetually questioning itself in order to elucidate and realize our common values.
We, individuals and collectives of diverse sensibilities but united in our determination to defend this space and what it represents, declare our support to the ZAD de la Colline.
Aurélien Barrau, Astrophysicist, Professor at the University of Grenoble-Alpes & CNRS researcher
Laila Batou, Lawyer
Dominique Bourg, Philosopher, Professor Emeritus at the University of Lausanne
Lukas Aramis Bühler, Sustainability Entrepreneur
Béatrice Camurat Jaud, Filmmaker
Daniel de Roulet, Writer
Vinciane Despret, Philosopher, Professor at the University of Liège
Laëtitia Dosch, Comedian
Jacques Dubochet, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Jean-Marc Ducotterd, President of the Association for the Protection and Recovery of Turtles, Chavornay
Annabelle Ehmann, Climate Activist
Txetx Etcheverry, Climate Emergency Activist Social Justice
Isabelle Fremeaux Activist and Author
Pierre-Henri Gouyon, Professor at the National Museum of Natural History, AgroParisTech and the ENS
Antoine Guisan, Botanist co-author of one of the IPCC reports
Jean-Paul Jaud, Filmmaker
John Jordan, Activist and Author
Massa Koné, Spokesperson for the Malian Convergence against Land Grabbing
Bill McKibben, Journalist and Activist, recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize
Anne Mahrer, Former Member of Swiss Parliament
Baptiste Morizot, Professor-researcher in Philosophy, WBU University
Payal Parekh, Climate Justice Activist
Carola Rackete, Captain and Activist
Philippe Roch, Former Director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Forests & Landscape
Asti Roesle, Financial Analyst
Stephanie Roth, OPEN Network Manager, recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize
Philippe de Rougemont, President of Sortir du nucléaire Switzerland, Coordinator of Noé21
Julia Steinberger, Professor of Ecological Economics and Social Ecology at the University of Lausanne
Juan Tortosa, Spokesperson for the CADTM Switzerland
Josef Zisyadis, Co-Chairman of Slow Food Switzerland, Director of the Swiss Week of Taste
Pierre Zwahlen, Member of the Canton de Vaud Parliament, President Swiss Platform Agenda 2030