I was planning to write a report about an online demonstration against climate change conducted by youth organization Fridays for future on 24th of April, 2020, but there is already another article on this topic at Youthreporter. For more information how it went on, check out “Fridays for Future: Jetzt auch im Netz” report from 29.04.20, written by accionews.
Here I will go a bit deeper into the question why this demonstration was important.
What idea was behind it?
Why should we think about climate, while there are other pressing issues at the moment? The thing is that the climate crisis is not interested in what else we need to do now. It doesn’t care whether we pay enough attention to it or not. It has nothing to do with our other priorities at the time. These are just human or social or economic constructs, or whatever one may want to call it. Climate crisis is first of all a physical crisis that has its own logic, according to which its speed is constantly increasing. So far it is one of the biggest threats to our existence. It does not underestimate the importance of fighting the current Corona-crisis. However, we cannot just say: “This year we deal with Corona, and next year we’ll get back to the climate issue”. Given all the facts and palpable evidence around us, 2020 is the year when we have to learn how to tackle these both crises simultaneously with equal levels of devotion.
Our global community as the whole is experiencing now our own fragileness. We see now that we are not that strong as we used to think we were. Just one tiny bug – and the entire planet has stopped. There is a well-known discourse going on that we as global society must become crisis-proof. It is a good vector of developing, for sure. Yet, it can be holistic only in case of including climate crisis resilience into that bundle as a highly prioritized component.
Why did Fridays for Future (further FFF) Germany decide to demonstrate on 24.4?
One reason is that it was the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.
Another reason is that one of the very important climate conferences in Germany was taking place on 27th and 28th of April, 2020. It is known as Petersberger Klimadialog. There were many speakers from Germany and abroad. However, in the light of the need of strong political actions, the most important was the presence of Angela Merkel, who was publicly speaking about climate issues for the first time since COVID-19. FFF Germany believes that this conference has now more political impact that it used to have in the past. Angela Merkel was speaking about her concept of dealing with the climate crisis. So they wanted to create more resonance to show that there are many people out there who expect more than just a few nice words, like “Yes, the climate is important and we will work on it”. These many people expect stable, factual, consequent and sustainable governmental politics that will grant a high importance to the climate crisis while working on COVID-19 crisis. So this whole digital demonstration was a sort of a signal to the government.
What are the other reasons for demonstrating?
One more important point is that we all observe a decrease in CO2 emissions now. Consequently, one may think that while fighting Corona, the climate change issue is solved by itself. However, it is a very elusive conclusion. There is a simple logic behind why the emissions are decreasing: the system slows down – the pollution slows down as well. Nevertheless, it is only a temporary side effect. As soon as the borders are open and we are back on track, the fuel-based economy will regain its pace. Even more, it will definitely try to increase the speed further, in order to make up for the financial losses. As a result, we will have a rapid increase in emissions, which may exceed what we had before the virus crisis. It is clear that the German state as well as the EU and the world-wide governments are planning to iron out the economic wrinkles caused by measures against COVID-19 crisis. They bail out a damaged economy by providing grants to companies and firms. The EU has already agreed on an aid package of 500 billion EUR to rescue the economy. For sure, there will be big discussions as to who will get the money. Certainly, there also must be strong lobbies that have their own interests in mind. And here we have a very important turning point: if EU as well as governments of the world invest more in industries that have no future or more precisely do not bring any future to the health of our planet, in order just to quickly resuscitate the economy, our strive to decarbonize the production and become climate-neutral society may suffer substantial drawbacks.
We live now in a very peculiar time, when each political decision matters. This is why it is crucial to demonstrate, protest and to create big resonance. While trying to fix everything quickly in the short run, our long-term objectives must not be obscured by the haste.
FFF Germany explaining their objectives: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+netzstreik
FFF Germany Netzstrike Live-Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EUVRPSWJsk&t=6108s
Earth day: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/
Here you can read more about Petersberger Klimadialog: https://www.bmu.de/themen/klima-energie/klimaschutz/internationale-klimapolitik/petersberger-klimadialog/
Angela Merkel on Petersberger Klimadialog: https://player.admiralcloud.com/?v=69db837c-3a82-457d-b54f-ad166cebef2e
EU aid package: https://www.focus.de/finanzen/boerse/konjunktur/wer-jetzt-geld-bekommt-drei-sicherheitsnetze-so-funktioniert-das-500-milliarden-hilfspaket-der-eu_id_11871368.html