Bezos & Rotterdam: Stop the dismantling of historic bridge #ABridgeTooFar


Bezos & Rotterdam: Stop the dismantling of historic bridge #ABridgeTooFar

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Municipality of Rotterdam and

Why this petition matters

Started by Hajar Yagkoubi

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The super-rich- like Jeff Bezos- live in a parallel world, with no restrictions and an above-the-law position.

‘De Hef’ bridge in Rotterdam dates from 1878 and is one of the first structures in the city to have been repaired after the bombardment during the second world war. Because of this, it became a historical heritage site.  After a major renovation in 2017, the municipality of Rotterdam promised that the bridge would never be dismantled again. Now, that promise seems bound to be broken. All because, the richest man in the world, wants to pass his personal mega-yacht through the river in Rotterdam

It seems, ‘De Hef’ is not dismantled for anyone unless you are extremely rich.

"But he pays for the expenses and, after two weeks, the bridge will be put back!", some might say.

But, that's exactly the point! As long as you are rich enough, there are no restrictions whatsoever. Monuments can be modified and rules -that apply to everyone- lifted. The eagerness with which Bezos’ request is being indulged forms a stark contrast to his own rigidness and refusal in providing basic human rights to his warehouse workers (e.g. denying them bathroom breaks and work-recess). 

Most striking about the situation is that from a practical point of view it would not even be necessary to dismantle 'De Hef' to pass Bezos' super-yacht. Without the sails and mast installed, the ship would fit perfectly beneath the historical heritage site. However, because of 'economic reasons',  the municipality emphasizes the importance of completing the ship at the current location. These benefits to the local economy are also relative, as the actual owner of the ship producer is a billionaire from Oman, who made his fortune in the oil industry.

All of this, happens consecutively to the year in which Bezos made his joytrip to space, on a day on which many of the east-coast of the U.S. was smothered in suffocating wildfire smoke and -of course- in the middle of the pandemic. 

During the first two years of the pandemic, the world's ten richest men -amongst which Bezos’ resides at the top - saw their income more than double, during a period in which 99% of humanity saw their income drop and over 160 million were forced into poverty. 

“If these ten richest men were to lose 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all the people on this planet,” said Oxfam International’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher. “They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people.”

Additionally, the super-rich have by far the greatest negative impact on the climate.  The main reason for this disproportionate contribution is their consumption, energy usage and transport;  giga houses, fleets, planes, helicopters, and super yachts.

Inequality goes to the heart of the climate crisis, as the richest 1 percent emit more than twice as much CO2 as the bottom 50 percent of the world, driving climate change throughout 2020 and 2021 that has contributed to wildfires, floods, tornadoes, crop failures, and hunger.

Next to the exorbitant pressure on the climate crisis, they also disproportionately contribute to overshooting other planetary boundaries for a liveable planet - including biodiversity loss and chemical pollution. Mind you: this is excluding the impact through their companies and broader portfolio of investments.

We are entering a trend in which the super-rich are quite literally gaining an-above-the-law status. As long as your pockets are deep enough, rules can be disregarded, taxes omitted, and the environment broken down. 

With less than 7 years to prevent irreversible climate tipping points from being set in motion and no time left to stop human rights degradation. We need to stop the outlandish privilege of the super-wealthy. 

Bezos is taking it a bridge too far. Stop the dismantling of ‘De Hef’.


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