251,450 of 300,000 signatures

To the Region of South Tyrol and Arnold Schuler, provincial agricultural minister of Bolzano

Petition

In a well-functioning democracy, civil society needs to be able to openly criticise those in power and speak out on social issues. When environmentalists criticise the massive use of pesticides in South Tyrol they should not be intimidated, but listened to carefully.

We therefore urge you to immediately drop the criminal charges against Karl Bär and board members of the Munich Environmental Institute, as well as author Alexander Schiebel and his publisher Jacob Radloff.

Why is this important?

This is the story of Karl Bär and Alexander Schiebel, their mission to stop the use of pesticides in our food, and how the local government of South Tyrol is doing everything in its power to silence them.

Karl and his organization, the Munich Environmental Institute, displayed a billboard to draw attention to the massive use of pesticides in the apple plantations in South Tyrol. [1]

Alexander wrote a book called “The Miracle of Mals” about the story of the small village of Mals in South Tyrol whose citizens voted to ban pesticides in their community while the local government subsequently tried to stop them. [2]

Now, they’re being sued by South Tyrol’s local government in an attempt to censor them until they abandon their activism. The trial starts next week, in mid-September.

We know the local government in the quiet mountain and prosperous region of South Tyrol isn’t used to being targeted. They rely heavily on tourism and absolutely hate bad publicity.

Karl and Alexander have a plan to spread their story across Europe. [3] But it would be so much more powerful if this isn’t just their struggle, but all of ours. All it takes is your signature to stand with them.

If we let South Tyrol’s government get away with this, the impact will go much further than Karl and Alexander.

Outrageously, these kinds of intimidating and baseless lawsuits are increasingly used across the European Union by companies, powerful individuals and governments in an attempt to silence activists and journalists by burdening them with huge legal costs. They are often called Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP). [4] In this case, more and more people will be scared of speaking up against the use of pesticides.

Karl and Alexander have dedicated their livelihood to stopping pesticides. But right now they need our help – let’s join them!


References:

  1. https://www.tageszeitung.it/2017/08/10/suedtirol-ist-pestizidtirol/
  2. http://alexanderschiebel.com/wunder-von-mals/
  3. https://www.slowfood.com/do-pesticides-poison-freedom-of-expression/
  4. https://www.ecpmf.eu/slapp-the-background-of-strategic-lawsuits-against-public-participation/

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