Three days prior to the start of the UN Climate conference in Madrid, the fourth global climate strike initiated by the “Fridays for Future” movement was held on Friday 29th of November 2019, the same day as “Black Friday”. Worldwide 7 million people in 150 countries protested for more climate protection while simultaneously against excessive consumerism, as it was Black Friday.
In Germany, 630.000 people in around 520 places went on the streets to demonstrate especially under the banner “Neustart Klima” (Restart Climate) against the new German climate programme, which was under ballot in the federal council of Germany at the same time. The currently planned climate progamme is widely named in the media and by protestors “Klimapaketchen” (small climate package) as critics consider it slack and not efficient enough.
In Bonn, we demonstrated with around 4,000 people. Not only pupils/students participated, but also environmental organizations, trade union representatives, “Students for Future”, parents, scientists equipped with cardboards with sayings like: “It´s getting hot in here”, “Act now or swim later”, “There is no planet B” and “Change your minds not the climate”. The atmosphere was cheerful and energetic. Although the current state of politics and the environment, the protesters remained with a happy smile on their face, determined that they will succeed, maybe not today but in the future.
In Germany, “Fridays for Future” demanded not only the immediate stop of subventions for fossil energy sources like coal, oil and gas but also to switch off one fourth of all coal power stations. On top of that, protesters expect Germany to provide a full renewable energy supply from 2035 on.
Although there has been a significant drop in the numbers of participants since the last climate strike on 20th September probably due to weather conditions and “Black Friday”, protesters promise to stay active until a shift in the global politics is going to happen. Fridays for Future will hold on to their demands because they know that we only have one planet. . Soon, we will see if the world leaders are determined to change their course of action at the UN Climate Conference in Madrid as they are currently meeting to substantiate the Paris Agreement.
Finally, we from EFI Resilience Programme are curious, what role scientific facts will play for the decision making process in Madrid, and especially what world leaders will decide regarding the significance of forests worldwide, including questions like afforestation, biodiversity conversation and climate change adaptation.