In mid-December, five young women were arrested in Berlin for raising slogans in front of the chancellor. “Save Food, Agricultural Turnaround (GE) Setz Now” was there to read in scrappy script. He was a climate activist for the group “Uprising of the Last Generation”. In the autumn, the members had already received much media attention: during the federal election campaign, they had set up a tent camp near the Reichstag. Some of them went on hunger strike to raise awareness about climate change and to hold talks with the chancellor’s candidate.
I ran into the group by chance on a light evening. With friends, I went to the “Festival of Lights”, a large, colorful spectacle in which the television tower, the Brandenburg Gate and other landmarks were illuminated with animated images in the dark. We were quick and didn’t waste time too far from the climate camp. A group of young men, as serious as they were, passed by us towards the camp. He had a cardboard sign that read “Hunger Strike”. Parallel lines were drawn down – one for each day they were hungry.
Environmental journalist Ralph Stork gets to the bottom of these questions once a month in »Stork Spiesielafter.
For me it was a meeting that had a lasting effect: while I just wanted to spend a nice evening with friends, they were putting their health, maybe even their life at risk – with the belief that they had to save the world. Or at least try to. The fleeting encounter triggered a whole cascade of emotions in me: fear for the health of young people; Disappointed they didn’t see any other way; Respect too. At the same time, I felt guilty because, although I sympathize with the climate movement, in everyday family life I am still far from committing to climate protection with everything I have. And there was a sense of disapproval, because trying to enforce demands with a hunger strike always meant blackmailing others.
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