After protest visit, Thunberg continues to make waves in Germany
Deutsche Welle / Spiegel Online / taz / dpa
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg continued to make waves in German media over the weekend, after she spoke to a crowd of thousands at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Friday. More than 20,000 people turned out for the “Fridays for Future” protest, newswire dpa reports.
On Saturday, Thunberg received a German Golden Camera media award during a televised ceremony, Deutsche Welle reports (read full article in English here). Thunberg dedicated the award to activists who protested the destruction of the Hambach Forest and called on media figures to do more to promote action on climate change.
Thunberg was also interviewed for the German political talk show Anne Will. When asked about the source of her “radical determination”, Thunberg told the host, “I am a realist. I see facts,” reports Peter Luley in a write-up for Spiegel Online. During a roundtable discussion of Thunberg’s message, Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy chairman of the business-friendly FDP, argued that students are only harming themselves by participating in the Friday protests, saying the strikes are “simply about truancy”. That view was echoed by Reiner Haseloff, the prime minister of Saxony-Anhalt and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU, who argued that students should focus on the subjects at school, Luley writes.
Therese Kah, a 19-year-old climate activist, argued that this view is a “fundamental misunderstanding”. “We don’t have time to wait until my studies are finished,” Kah said. She was supported by Green Party head Robert Habeck, Luley writes.
Meanwhile, in an op-ed for Spiegel, columnist Christian Stöcker argues that "the kids aren’t angry enough yet". The failure of Germany’s transport commission to agree on a plan to reduce emissions enough to meet the country’s 2030 climate targets is just the latest sign that the German government and society aren’t taking the threat seriously enough, Stöcker writes. On everything from Brexit to climate laws, Stöcker writes, “The young have begun to defend themselves. They should not stop.”
Students around the world are walking out of school on Fridays to demand faster action on climate change. The protests were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began skipping school last August. In Germany, thousands of students have walked out of class in cities from Hamburg to Munich.