Smartphones move from jacket pockets to hands to take videos. Tourists stop in amazement, the saturday stroll has to wait a bit: at 13 degrees and bright sunshine – in the middle of february mind you – more than 1000 people (the police report 1000, some participants estimate up to 1500) set off from bamberger bahnhof to declare war on climate change and carry this message into the heart of the city.
If there really is a weather god, he certainly has a sense of humor. Under the title "not with us! Climate demo for people of all ages" on this afternoon, it is not only the schoolchildren who are on the road, but also those who have already arrived on the 1. February with "fridays for future" have pointed out what they see as the inadequate state of german climate policy. This time also the adults are invited together with organizations and parties, which can warm up for the climate protection. Following the example of the early anti-nuclear movement in the federal republic of germany, the demonstrators are chanting "resist, resist, resist"! Against lignite here in the country!" The coal phase-out is only one of many topics that come up for discussion.
Climate as a cause of flight
"Even before the burgerkrieg, many people in my home town had to struggle with the extreme heat of more than 50 degrees." Ibo muhamed, who is responsible for the group "change.E.V." Steps up to the mike, knows what he’s talking about. He fled from syria to germany and describes the suffering of the rural population, which has to struggle hard with climate change. Not least because more and more crop failures are caused by water shortages, climate change will force more people to flee their homes than any other conflict by the end of the century. "We must finally fight the causes of flight properly. Climate policy is peace policy, he calls out to the demo participants, who loudly applaud his speech. "You have brought us back to this playground and i would like to thank you for that", says ilona munique, who led the action group for the citizens’ petition for biodiversity.
The green member of the bundestag, lisa badum, also receives a round of applause: "you have a right to find a basis for life in the coming decades", she says, addressing the numerous schoolchildren. It was important to go on the road in the coming weeks and months to gain attention.
Christian hader addresses the people in charge at bamberger city hall with practical advice: "we have too much sheet metal in the streets. We must finally make headway with the bike decision so that we can travel in a more environmentally friendly way!" You also have to be "the car, the german’s sacred cow" take away some space for a proper infrastructure, thinks hader.
Greta thunberg changed lives
"If we talk about proper climate policy, then we must also fight lobbyism, on the other hand, paul lehmann of the left-wing party emphasizes. All major parties in germany – except the left – have become dependent on major donors and their interests. And thus put the brakes on the climate turnaround. In addition, lehmann asks himself the question: "can decent climate protection happen under capitalism at all??"
Political concepts and ideas or not: for the young people, solidarity seems to come at the right moment. "For a long time, I felt helpless in the face of climate policy, natural disasters and the fact that I myself could do nothing about them, 13-year-old fritz kundtner tells the attentive listeners on the maxplatz. And then greta thunberg – the swedish climate activist who launched the school strikes – stepped up and changed the world. "And now we are standing here with 1,500 people and I no longer feel helpless, the schoolboy, who has been organizing the event since the beginning, shouts into the microphone with great glee. The crowd applauds enthusiastically.
It is difficult to determine how many schoolchildren were actually present on that saturday. The police estimated a total of about 1,000 participants and drew a positive balance "because it remained peaceful throughout the entire course of the meeting and there were no incidents".
For alina utzmann, the demo was definitely worth it: "I think it was good that so many students were there and that the atmosphere was great." Her friend elena dietrich says: "it is so nice that we could also reach the adults!" And her classmate selale schwertheim laughingly adds: "it was so cool that even the parents were fully involved in the demo chants!" The three are in the tenth grade at the eichendorff high school. From her school alone, a good 50 schoolchildren and a handful of teachers were at the start. And if it is the next time on friday the 15. Marz goes on the road, then no one is afraid when the schools get serious and issue reprimands. They ended up "framed on the wall at the most," says the schoolteacher.