Swiss Women Take Climate Battle to European Court of Human Rights
The KlimaSeniorinnen, a group of 2,400 women aged 64 and older, have taken the Swiss government to the European Court of Human Rights, alleging its insufficient action on the climate crisis constitutes a violation of human rights. The group pointed out the urgent need for meaningful climate policies and is determined to secure a liveable future for generations to come.
The group hiked up a challenging terrain to emphasise their fight against climate change.
Pia Hollenstein, a 73-year-old retired nurse and former Green party member, embodies the spirit of the KlimaSeniorinnen. Declining assistance during the challenging hike, she stressed her identity as a mountain climber and expressed confidence in her ability to manage. Hollenstein sees the legal action as a crucial lever for change, overcoming initial scepticism about Swiss politics.
The lawsuit focuses on the correlation between rising temperatures from fossil fuel consumption and the heightened vulnerability of women, especially older ones, to heat-related deaths. The KlimaSeniorinnen draw attention to the environmental losses caused by glacier melting, emphasising its impact on Switzerland’s identity, tourism, and energy sectors.
Choosing the Göschener Alps for their symbolic hike, the KlimaSeniorinnen were not deterred by the highest reported level of the zero-degree line, indicating rising temperatures, on the morning of their ascent. Two days earlier, the national weather agency had issued heat warnings for most of the country. The group came prepared with water, trekking poles, and appropriate footwear.
Beatrice Braun, an artist among the group, added a personal touch to the journey, mentioning that she had knitted the multicoloured hiking socks she was wearing. The women, conscious of their physical limits, expressed a preference for the cool mountain air over the stifling heat of the city.
Annemarie Ulmi-Klieber, with a touch of humour, remarked, “I have the same problem as the glacier; I’m melting.”
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