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Tour de Climat Campax

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) fuels the climate crisis. By investing billions in oil, gas and coal, it doubles Switzerland's CO2-footprint. Major shareholders of the SNB are the 26 Swiss cantons. By the campaign Tour de Climat, Campax asked them to stand up to their responsiblilty. With a good crowd of activists, we cycled from canton to canton and delivered a petition to every single one of the 26 finance ministers, asking them to take action for a divestment. By doing this, we gathered wast attention of the local and national media and set a new topic in the canton's politics. As well, and maybe even more important, we brought together climate activists from all parts of the country and all language regions, which led to countless new contacts and friendships.

Facts and Figures

The Tour the Climat was the largest project Campax has ever organised. Here are some figures:

  • 14. August – 18. September 2021
  • 36 days, 35 nights
  • 332 participants
  • 1’471 km cycled
  • 14’011 altitude metres climbed
  • 26 petition handovers
  • 0 missed appointments
  • 3 successful banner hangings (Martinsloch, Rheinfall, Jungfraujoch)
  • 2 aborted banner hangings (due to weather and safety)
  • 10 flat tyres
  • 2 grazes
  • 0 serious accidents
  • 74 media reports (or more), 849 Photos on Flickr (see the best of) and a dozen videos on Vimeo
  • Uncountable new friendships

Tour de Climat in the Media

A Resounding Success!

Throughout the tour, we garnered attention from national and local media in every Swiss cantonal capital.

Cooling down in Wil. Tagblatt St. Gallen, Wil, 15.08.2021
Frosty reception in Frauenfeld. Tagblatt Thurgau, Frauenfeld, 17.08.2021
Climate activists stretch giant banner in Martinsloch, 20 Minuten, 12.9.2021.

Teleticino (regional TV station in Ticino) – News on the Tour de Climat and Interview with Campax Campaigner Iared Camponovo (in Italian), 16.9.2021

Thumbs up from a financial director meeting in plenary session in Bern. ticinonews.ch, 24.09.2021

Journal of the Tour de Climat (14.8. – 18.9.21)

Zurich, 14th August

Finally, it was time to go! After a long period of preparation, we set off from Zurich city centre to hand over our first petition to the Zurich Finance Directorate.

Petition-Handover in Zürich – the cantonal administration doesn't receive petitions at the weekend

Appenzell Ausserrhoden & Appenzell Innerrhoden, 15th August

On this sunny Sunday morning, we cycled towards Appenzell Ausserrhoden. When we arrived in Herisau, we looked for a nice place for lunch. A local baker spontaneously invited us to use the tables and chairs of his closed café for our picnic and even served us cool drinks. What a lovely welcome!

Petition handover in Herisau, canton Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Participants needed a cool-down on a hot summer day.

A little later we arrived in Appenzell, where we were able to hand over the petition directly to the Finance Director. He took the time to discuss with us and everyone was able to present their concerns and ask him questions. A great experience for all participants!

Wil – Appenzell

In the evening we were invited to dinner by two Campax members. A wonderful evening with the best food in a beautiful garden.

St. Gallen, 16th August

In St. Gallen, the petition was not received by the finance minister personally, but only by the state chancellery. Due to that, some participants were somewhat frustrated and pessimistic because they didn't believe that this campaign will make a difference in the canton of St. Gallen. Nevertheless, it is worth a try!

Thurgau, 17th August

In Frauenfeld, we went to the cantonal administration to hand over the petition. At the reception desk, the secretary told us that they were not ready to receive the petition – this despite the fact that the finance director had written to us that we should hand in the petition at the reception desk, as he himself was in a meeting. After some time, we were able to hand over the petition to the director's secretary.

Schaffhausen, 18th August

Banner action at the Rhine Falls

Schaffhausen, 19th August

The petition handover in Schaffhausen attracted a lot of media interest: Teletop, Radio Munot and Schaffhauser Nachrichten sent representatives.

Aargau, 20th August

On our way to Aarau, we faced some obstacles. In addition to our first flat tyre, we also lost several participants for a short time. Fortunately they soon found their way back to the group.

Aarau

Basel Land & Basel Stadt, 21st August

This day, we delivered two petitions. First in Basel Landschaft and then in Basel Stadt. We were supported by many activists from the Collective Climate Justice, Basel2030 and Extinction Rebellion Basel. Thank you!

Liestal & Basel

Jura, 22nd August

No rest for us! On that cloudy Sunday, we delivered a petition to the finance minister's letterbox in the Jura. There were about 20 participants at the handover. Despite the rain, we pedalled tirelessly up the mountains of the beautiful canton.

Solothurn, 23rd August

At the Zytturm in Solothurn

In Solothurn, we first went to the Zytturm, where we took some charming photos. There we were treated to coffee and homemade cake by Campax-member Noemi, who lives right next door. What a nice surprise!

Bern, 25th August

First, together with fossil-free.ch, we delivered a petition directly to the National Bank in Bern.
Bern

Accompanied by over 25 activists, we then handed over the Campax petition to the canton of Bern. Bern is the canton with the most shares in the SNB, so it carries a lot of weight! Natalie Imboden, President of the Green Party of Bern, was also present and said a few words about the responsibility of the Canton of Bern.

Fribourg, 25th August

Neuchâtel, 26th August

Neuchâtel

In Neuchâtel, a television crew greeted us, and our group leader, Nora, gave an interview – in French. The ride along the lake was especially beautiful!

Geneva, 28th August

Geneva

When we arrived in Geneva at the Jet d'Eau, we were warmly welcomed by members of the BreakFree Collective, the Grève pour l'Avenir and representatives of the Greens, the SP and SolidaritéS.

Waadt, 30th-31st August

We arrived in Lausanne in the afternoon of the 30th august. After the delivery of the petition, we were invited to a short city-tour and a apéro at the lakeside. Thank you, Christine and Alain!

The next day, we rode to Wallis, an exceptionally beautiful ride through the vineyards of the Lavaux. We made a break at the Chillon castle, where some of us even went for a swim!

Lausanne – Monthey
The Vaudois Chancellor Vincent Grandjean received us at the Château Saint-Maire. He said it was a sign of respect to personally present our request to the cantons by bicycle and that the cantons will respect us for it. Great to hear something like that from such a high official!
Flat tyres at the Lac Léman and in Wallis

Wallis, 1st September

This day, we rode through Lower Wallis (Valais) on a scenic path along the Rhone. A route with a slight, steady incline, but very pleasant to ride along. We could admire the vineyards on both sides of the valley.

Wallis, 2nd September

Another beautiful trail took us from Salgesch to Brig. Fortunately, we found some diversions through the vineyards – it was worth it!

Wallis, 3rd September – trip to the Mattertal

The valais black nose sheep, a symbol of the canton
View of the iconic Matterhorn from the Stellisee

Wallis, 4th September

The first stage with more than 1,000 metres of altitude! And that included the handcycle! The way to Ernen and then on through the Goms was exhausting, but very rewarding. The Roman bridge ahead of Ernen, the village of Ernen itself and the suspension bridge near Mühlebach were particularly beautiful. In general, the Goms with its charming, traditional villages is truly impressive.

Wallis & Tessin, 6th September

The Nufenen Pass! As a small but strong group we tackled the comparatively steep pass. From a sporting point of view, it was quite manageable for everyone, but the experience was marred by the many cars and especially motorbikes that sped past us. Really not a nice experience!

Tessin, 6th September

We started the day with a really multilingual group of German-speaking Swiss, French-speaking Swiss and Ticino-speaking Swiss – led by Iared, our Ticino-speaker within the Campax office. "I couldn't remember whether to speak German, Italian, French, Spanish or English," said one participant. "But everyone had loads of fun and I really enjoyed the day."

Cooling in a fountain in Valais
... and in the canton of Ticino

Graubünden, 10th September

Another eventful couple of days on the Tour de Climat came to an end. From Spluegen through Schams and the Viamala, this day's route took us to Felsberg, where we were invited for coffee and cake at the Quadrel Bouldering Gym. Then, it was onwards to picturesque Arcas in Chur, where the Climate Strike Graubünden, VCS Graubünden and representatives of the Freie Liste Verda welcomed us for a photo session.

In front of the finance minister's office in Chur
At the Arcas in Chur

Graubünden, 11th September

Banner action, Martinsloch

The path along the Walensee offered a most particular challenge: dodging all the tiny and medium-sized lizards that wanted to sun themselves on the black asphalt. Some braking was necessary for this, but also a nice sign that there are so many of the cute little animals.

With a stiff headwind, we then headed up the Linth-Escher canal embankment into Glarus, where three quarters of an hour later we proudly introduced ourselves at the Landsgemeindeplatz and handed over the petition to the finance minister himself.

Schwyz – Küssnacht a. R.

Schwyz, 13th September

The 20 participants in this day's stage of the tour were rewarded with a breathtaking view after the first steep climb when they reached the level of the Klöntalersee. But that had only been a foretaste. The second part of the climb, over the Pragelspass, was a really tough one for almost everyone. The motto of the day was thus "Sweat for the Climate".

Uri, 14th September

The route from Schwyz to Uri was very impressive. After a coffee break in beautiful Sisikon, we rode to Flüelen. The ride on the Axenstrasse was so bad because of the traffic that we decided to take the boat for this section on the way back to Meierskappel.

A very special bike

Obwalden & Nidwalden, 15th September

This day we were particularly busy on the Tour de Climat, because two petitions were handed over at the same time: One at the State Chancellery in Sarnen and the other at the government building in Stans!

Stans

Luzern, 17th September

On our way to Lucerne, thanks to some participants who are familiar with the region, we discovered a particularly scenic route along the lake. We rode up and down hills, and then also worked up quite a sweat.

At the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) we stopped for a quick photo shoot to record our message to the Canton of Lucerne: #DecarbonizeTheNationalBank!

Zug & Zurich, 18th September

This morning we set off from Zug. We made a first stop at the Zytturm for another quick photo session. Very soon after we had a first flat tyre, but after a quick patch up we were on the road again in no time!

The road to Zurich was beautiful, but quite bumpy and muddy in places. We finally arrived shortly after 15:00 - happy that everything went well; but at the same time sad that the tour was over.

In Zurich we ended the tour with drinks and appetisers in the Klimapavillon and looked back on the past 36 days we spent together. Viva!

Jungfraujoch, 23rd September – banner action

Bern, 24th September

The last act of the Tour de Climat! This morning, the Conference of Cantonal Finance Directors met in Bern. We stood in front of the entrance to the conference hall and held up all 26 banners of the Tour de Climat. In doing so, we reminded the finance directors once again of our demand to ensure that the National Bank no longer invests in fossil energies.

Nora's emotional speek at the end of the tour.

Thanks to everybody who made this unforgettable experience happening!