Fridays for Future and what we demand in these times

My name is Sophia Marie Pott and I am from Lübeck in Germany. For over a year I have spent much time advocating for the movement Fridays for Future (also known as Youth for Climate in some countries).

In August 2018 Greta Thunberg sat down in front of the Swedish Parliament to protest against the country’s climate policy. One year later, on 20 September, we, Fridays for Future, were over 1.4 million strong out on the streets in only Germany and with over 4 million worldwide! We are fighting for a better world and for climate justice. We also advocate for the Paris Agreement of 2015, which was signed by politicians from nearly every country to establish a better global climate policy. The signatories stated that they would limit the heating of the Earth to a maximum of 1.5 degrees more. Now, five years on, some scientists are saying that this goal is no longer reachable because the politics are not changing and too much CO2 has already been emitted. But we say: You cannot give up on such an important goal – we will fight for it! To reach this goal we want to stop fossil fuel consumption by 2030 and bring about a general transition in our society’s approach to energy. Furthermore, we demand a change in transit policy, which means more investments in public transportation and an improvement in cycling infrastructure while also stopping the subsidization of gas-burning cars. While we have some other goals, it is particularly important to change the mindset that leads to a growth-obsessed approach to the economy. After all, capitalism is the reason for the enormous social differences that we have in our societies. The Global North is profiting from this system, while the Global South suffers and is exploited. These countries of the Global South are the first to experience the consequences of the climate crisis. That is why we do not define ourselves just as an environmentalist movement, but also as a climate justice movement.

Owing to the global pandemic we have moved our strikes from the streets to social media because we stand behind the science. We want the politicians to act on the basis of science and to fight the climate crisis with the same intensity as they are fighting the corona crisis. Right now governments are mobilizing vast amounts of money to support the economy, and this is a great opportunity to invest in environmentally sound structural change as should have been done years ago. Now we have the chance to reach all the climate goals that we have set for ourselves. The financial investments that we make now are all that we need to bring change to the system. Politicians always claimed that what we want is far too expensive. But now the money is here and being spent. We must act now to ensure that that money is not allocated to the same old ecologically irresponsible industries. That is why we are fighting now for changes in the law and for increased environmental funding. But our “lobby“ is not as big as the industrial lobby. So the only option we have is to share our point of view on the streets, to reach the voters who could change their minds before the next elections. We try to put the science out there because if we listened to it, our decisions would be much easier. Let’s #unitebehindthescience to fight for a worthwhile future!

Sophia Marie Pott