‘All zusammen für 1,5 Grad! ‘ and ‘Wir sind here, wir sind laut, weil ihr uns die Zukunft klaut! ‘. It‘s a few of the slogans that are being scanned at the Berlin climate demonstration. Tens of thousands of people gathered in front of the Reichstag building to send a signal just before Sunday’s Bundestag elections: the new government must do more to make Germany climate neutral. In other places in Germany, such as Cologne, Hamburg and Munich, climate activists demonstrate.
One of the demonstrators in Berlin is Martin (39), who has just become a father. On his back, he wears a sign saying “I am furious because our government is playing the future of our children.” As he gently pushes the stroller in which his newborn baby is sleeping back and forth, he says, “I‘m here because of Sunday’s election. We citizens want a lot of things, but we really need politics to deal with climate problems. Fortunately, almost all parties are clear that more needs to be done. But it‘s still way too slow for me.”
In the midst of all people, flags and life-size soap bubbles, Ricarda of 28 is also featured on a piece of cardboard, written in large letters, “Having children in spite of the climate crisis?” “For me, it’s really an open question if I want to have kids,” she says. “I am very sorry that the climate situation is so serious at the moment that young people do not know if they can live up to their future wishes. I don‘t have an answer to that for myself.”
Minority young voters
Climate is the central theme of the elections this year, especially for young voters. But they are relatively only a small part of the German voter population: only 14 percent of voting holders are under 29, while nearly 40 percent are older than 60, and that is why Angela (71) and Angelika (66) are here today. “It is precisely because we are older voters in the majority, we need to show solidarity with the young people,” says Angela. “It’s not just about more, more, more in life.”
Angelika adds that a demonstration like this shows a great intergenerational togetherness: “In politics, everyone only pays attention to contradictions. But here are so many different people together who only want one thing: working together to do more for the climate.”
According to Klaus Hurrelman, professor of sociology at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, you can see exactly what political influence young people do have: “They may be numberly underrepresented as a voter, but they do have political influence with their idealism. at the kitchen table. They talk to their parents and grandparents, and they take that to the polling booth. Otherwise, the Greens‘ polls would not be doubling their number of seats in the Bundestag.”
Somewhere on the big field before the Reichstag there is Ulrike -mid-thirties- with her two toddlers. “I think it’s important that my children, no matter how young they are, literally see that we have to stand up for the climate. There is only one earth, we have no alternative,” she says.