Fridays for the Future: 25000 demonstrate in Berlin with Greta Thunberg


An article by Reto Thumiger for Pressenza

More than 25,000, mostly pupils and students, have gathered again in Berlin to give visible and audible expression to the climate strike “Fridays for the Future”.

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Most of the participants were not at my eye level, as they were not yet fully grown. That’s why most of the cardboard signs were right in front of me. Apart from the physical aspect, I felt like a dwarf with my generation in the face of the joy, determination and will of these children and young people taking responsibility and the future into their own hands.

“We are the generation that can and must change the climate chaos,” said activist Luisa Neubauer, “because we are more global, connected and agile than the generation before us”.

The initiator of the worldwide movement, the 16-year-old Swedish climate protection activist Greta Thunberg, also took part in the protest action in Berlin, where she gave a speech at the closing rally in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

She then visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) together with Lisa Neubauer and met with scientists to discuss climate research, change and its consequences.

On Saturday, Greta Thunberg received the Golden Camera Special Award, which she dedicated to those people who supported the Hambach Forest and that fossil fuels remain in the soil. At the gala, which was broadcast live on ZDF, 2ndnational broadcast television, Greta called on the stars and starlets present to use their great influence on so many people and to work for climate protection.

It is a strange world in which children have to sacrifice their education to protest against the destruction of their future, Thunberg said. And in which stars were not committed to environmental and climate protection because “they would no longer be able to fly around the world to visit their favouriterestaurants, beaches and yoga seminars”.

While I walked along the demonstration for climate protection on Friday and looked into the faces of the other participants, I heard inside my head like an echo the words of Silo (Mario Rodríguez Cobos) in his speech in 2004:

“But nothing of what is said will be listened to. Nonetheless, events themselves […] will result in children rejecting the hypocrisy of their parents; and cause each person to reproach the contradiction that they generate in themselves and in those around them.

We are at the end of a dark period in history and nothing will ever be the same as before.  Little by little, the dawning of a new day will come. Cultures will begin to understand one another; the peoples will experience a growing yearning for progress for all, understanding that progress for the few ends up being progress for no one. Yes, there will be peace, and out of necessity it will be understood that the outline of a universal human nation is taking shape.”

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Question for this article:

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Greta Thunberg’s speech, her Facebook page

My speech tonight at Goldene Kamera in Berlin. There is no recording available without me dubbed into German yet…
so here it is:

I dedicate this award to the people fighting to protect the Hambach Forest. And to activists everywhere who are fighting to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.

We live in a strange world. Where all the united science tells us that we are about 11 years away from setting off an irreversible chain reaction way beyond human control that will probably be the end of our civilization as we know it.

We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future.

Where the people who have contributed the least to this crisis are the ones who are going to be affected the most.

Where politicians say it’s too expensive to save the world, while spending trillions of euros subsidizing fossil fuels.

We live in a strange world where no one dares to look beyond our current political systems even though its clear that the answers we seek will not be found within the politics of today.

Where some people seem to be more concerned about the presence in school of some children than the future of humankind.

Where everyone can choose their own reality and buy their own truth.

Where our survival is depending on a small, rapidly disappearing carbon budget. And hardly anyone even knows it exists.

We live in a strange world. Where we think we can buy or build our way out of a crisis that has been created by buying and building things.

Where a football game or a film gala gets more media attention than the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced.

Where celebrities, film and pop-stars who have stood up against all injustices will not stand up for our environment and for climate justice because that would inflict on their right to fly around the world visiting their favorite restaurants, beaches and yoga retreats.

Avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown is to do the seemingly impossible. And that is what we have to do.

But here is the truth: we can’t do it without you in the audience here tonight.

People see you celebrities as Gods. You influence billions of people. We need you.

You can use your voice to raise awareness about this global crisis. You can help turn individuals into movements. You can help us wake up our leaders – and let them know that our house is on fire.

We live in a strange world.

But it’s the world that my generation has been handed.

It’s the only world we’ve got.

We are now standing at a crossroads in history.

We are failing but we have not yet failed.

We can still fix this.

It’s up to us.

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(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)