Correspondent in Berlin
Today (Sunday) marks 14 days since you last ate solid foods. Six young people between 18 and 27 years old remain camped in front of the German Bundestag and they have been on a hunger strike for 14 days that they threaten not to abandon until the electoral candidates speak with them and commit to concrete measures to protect the climate. “This is a last resort,” says one of the girls, “and we will only stop if they have an honest conversation with us,” she adds, pointing an accusing finger at the seat of the German parliament. Behind him, a camp of about 200 young people expects to occupy the space between Merkel’s Chancellery and the Bundestag for about two months, which coincide with the German electoral campaign.
Most of them are members of “Sin-Kerosene” and “Fridays for Future”, youth movements to combat climate deterioration. It is a kind of 11M, although more organized and somewhat less festive than the one that camped at Puerta del Sol, which protests against the passivity of the German government. “Our demand is for Germany to completely abandon coal by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2035,” explains 30-year-old Fridays for Future spokesperson Fabian Schäfer, a research scientist at the University of Bochum. The average age of the campers is somewhat lower, around twenty years, and they all share a deep dissatisfaction with German environmental policy, despite being one of the most committed on the planet. “There is no time left, we are now reaching a point of no return and it is time to put all the meat on the grill,” explains Gaby, a chemistry student, “and although there is all kinds of scientific evidence, politicians do nothing. It is unbearable! That is why I support the comrades who are going on hunger strike ».
The hunger strike is not officially part of the camp, explains Schäder, “because Fridays for Future does not call for or incite any activity that could endanger life of the people, but that does not mean that we do not sympathize with those who are carrying out this extreme measure. Schäfer also specifies that, for the campers, the conservative CDU and the Social Democrats of the SPD as well as the Greens, the latter party by which they do not feel represented, give as much. «In Germany we have the problem of large companies with lobbying capacity that distorts even the will of the Greens. I am talking about RWE, for example, which reacted late and then exerts a lot of pressure arguing that it needs more time, jobs and all that, but the truth is that if we allow the temperature to continue to rise, not only will employment be will be affected, but also the migratory waves that we will receive and natural disasters. This summer we have been able to verify it with the terrible floods suffered in Germany.
18-year-old Lina Eichler is one of the people on the hunger strike. “We want the candidates for chancellor to promise that, if elected, they will set up a climate council made up of citizens. An organism whose members are determined by lottery and that elaborates legislative proposals that politicians will have to listen to and implement ”, he says with a thread of voice. “We do not count on the candidates, once in front of us, to speak differently from the others. But we can make it clear to the public in conversation that the politics of the three simply ignore the scientific facts, “says KLina,” perhaps because we are young and more emotional than other generations could be. Perhaps this will give the candidates a different connection. Baerbock has children of his own. Why don’t you listen to us? It refers to the candidate of the party Los VerdesAnnalena Baerbock, who in the spring appeared in the polls ahead even of Merkel’s party but who has been losing the intention to vote since she qualified her climate speech. “We have been participating in demonstrations for years, giving a lot of time and effort, some colleagues have even been beaten by the police in the demonstrations, but all that has not served any purpose,” he laments, “that is why we have now opted for this resource.”
In July 2020, the Merkel government decided to completely abandon the energies coming from the burning of coal in 2038, although all the experts agree that it is technically possible several years before. “It is not enough, if they do not press harder we will not arrive in time to save the climate and our future will be lost,” says a speaker from the assembly platform who supports himself with a power point. He points out that the growth of photovoltaic energy could create thousands of new jobs in the country, some 750 new jobs for every GW of module manufacturing capacity. “Continue, until they listen to us, until it is necessary, that the electoral campaign cannot avoid us, it is the only hope of preserving our future.”