Skip to main content

You too can support Hugues!

Hugues Falys is a farmer in the Belgian province of Hainaut. He has been growing cereals, protein crops, vegetables and strawberries there since 1993, and raises around a hundred Charolais cows for organic meat production. 

Like most farmers, Hugues is suffering from the impacts of climate change: heatwaves, droughts, but also extreme rainfall. 

The consequences? Unproductive or even ruined crops and meadows, significant financial losses, animals suffering from heat stress, as well as extra workload and major stress linked to growing climate unpredictability.

Why a case against TotalEnergies?

After many years of suffering the effects of climate change on his farm, Hugues has decided to take legal action against one of the multinationals causing them: TotalEnergies. It is a first in Belgium! 

Coal, oil and gas companies are by far the biggest contributors to climate change, with fossil fuels accounting for over 75% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The problem? 

All too often, these companies evade responsibility and all constraints in terms of climate regulation. As for governments, they are struggling to adopt sufficiently strong legislation to effectively protect the environment, climate and public health considering the enormous economic and political power of those private actors.

Who is paying the price? Hugues, farmers, all of us – in Belgium and elsewhere.  

3 objectives

This legal action has three objectives.

This action concern us all

Climate change is already a real threat to the Belgian population’s right to life. A number of extreme weather events in Belgium in recent years serve as stark reminders that this is not a distant concern but an immediate one. It significantly impacts the fundamental rights of various segments of the population, ranging from farmers and the elderly to residents vulnerable to flooding. The images of the floods that hit Belgium in July 2021 are still fresh in everyone’s mind. 

This action also highlights the impact of climate change on our food sovereignty, i.e. our ability to produce quality food locally. Hugues’ case is far from isolated, and shows the challenges facing farmers in the face of an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.