Got a bit excited the other day and had an action / campaign idea crystallize in my head. I currently have too many projects for the future to be able to carry this forward, but thought I'd write it down so that someone else can do it perhaps (and also because I'm on holiday and I decided to do a phone detox, but I didn't say anything about laptops).

Small disclaimer: I'm not going to bother putting links to justify any of the claims I make, but you look smart - DuckDuckGo that shit.


We're currently facing an energy crisis, with high prices for pretty much all forms of energy - gas, oil electricity. This has also translated into a cost of living i.e. social crisis. We're also facing a climate crisis (in case you haven't noticed) - not much to say about that. Finally, we're facing a broader ecological crisis - we are devastating the natural world and ourselves.

Regarding the first two crises, back in the 70s we took some quite drastic measures, with car free Sundays and 3 day working weeks.

The idea in brief

Some words so the bloody header works properly.


Block roads in Brussels from two ends and make space for activities in the road between the two blockades. By activities, I'm currently quite vague - could be games, teach ins, that sort of thing.


To demand:

  • Cost-benefit analysis of re-introducing car free Sundays in Brussels - EVERY SUNDAY!
  • If the above makes sense, then bloody do car free Sundays!
  • Other possibility would be to introduce a (significant) congestion charge like they do in London.

Reducing cars in Brussels would:

  • Reduce our GHG emissions (there may be an ETS argument against this, but let's leave that aside for a second).
  • Reduce air pollution in a city which makes public transport free every so often because the pollution is so shite. Air pollution that disproportionately affects (i.e. creates medical conditions, leads to premature mortality of) less privileged communities i.e. ones that don't live in Uccle.
  • Reduce demand for cars, which at the end of the day are things made out of materials which we don't really know how to recycle and should fuck off (apologies for all the swearing, but I find it immensely enjoyable). (Also I realise this is a second order effect, but give me a break).
  • Lower demand for petrol and reduce prices (probably a third or even fourth order effect, but again, fuck off).
  • Oh yeah, reduce our consumption of Russian oil, which people are not really into these days for some reason...

Aside from promoting the above, such an action would:

  • Wake people up, get them to reclaim the streets that we've sacrificed to cars over the last 50 years.
  • Remind people that they have the power to take action and possibly even enact change.

Some more detail

  • Glue would be easiest I imagine, tripods and the like are a pain in the arse and can get confiscated.
  • We would need stewards and the like to avoid the gluers getting run over.
  • I would be in favor of not being too disruptive - allow for some sort of deviation to take place for the cars (after all, many car drivers may not be as privileged as me, have to go places etc). Obstructing buses and ambulances is a penal offense so that's a definite no-no.
  • My idea would be to get this to be a "copy paste" action, i.e. XR Brussels groups start it off and then we do trainings on how to replicate it around Brussels.
  • We would have a Telegram chat announcing the blockade on the day itself. It would be cool if eventually there were several blockades as well.
  • Regarding the demands, I sent some emails to the mobility and environment ministries of Brussels as well as the Ecolo minister for transport asking whether there would be the possibility of more car free Sundays. The response was "yes, more than once a year", and to my recollection I got the impression that they wanted to increase this to a jaw-dropping 3 or 4 times a year.

Some reflections

  • There is of course the question "Why do this illegally?" Aside from practical issues such as would it even be allowed and how often, my immediate response would because we need to disrupt business as usual and get more people to become activists.
  • I imagine that things could get rowdy within the blockaded area if we're not careful. Activities such as football would probably not be a good idea for example (getting the ball in the face, people getting excited, etc).
  • There's also the question of communicating the risks to people who are within the blockade regarding arrest. Ideally we would not have them arrested, but you never know with Brussels police... they really don't seem to like these sorts of disruptions, but perhaps that's just 1000 Bxl.
  • General criticism - this is very inward looking, and ultimately no cars on a Sunday is a drop in the ocean. Perhaps we should be more global in our outlook. On the other hand, I think narrative wise it makes a lot of sense and local action does not preclude global action.

Wrapping up

So there you go. If anyone else thinks of this after today, the 13th of July 2022, you've stolen my idea (possibly). In fact please do, because like I said I don't have the time for this and I think it would be a banging idea.

Part of me is a bit hesitant to make thoughts like this public on this blog, but another part of me is reminded that the world is going up shit's creek and this is quite tame compared to e.g. my fantasies about Molotov cocktail making classes*...

* I realise that jokes like these don't translate well into writing, so disclaimer - that was a joke. They're not very effective and you're more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else.