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Fridays for future

Fridays for future: There is no plan (et) B.

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»Why should any young person be made to study for a future when no one is doing enough to save that future? «

Greta Thunberg


climate activist

Climate change has become a threat to the people of our planet. It will significantly affect future life on the earth. This affects especially children and adolescents who will live on Earth in this very future.
It is already being warned of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, but the reactions of politicians are rather cautious. Some still deny climate change, others are reluctant to phase out coal into the distant future, and still others want to continue clearing forests to mine coal.

From year to year, so-called Earth Overshoot Day -the day we used up all the resources for a year – moves forward. In 2018, that day was already on 1. August reached. Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg recently gained international fame for calling for a strike under the slogan Fridays for future. Students should stay away from teaching on Fridays and strike for more action in terms of climate protection.

How it all started

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»So when school started in August of this year, I decided that this was enough. I set myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate.«

Greta Thunberg


climate activist

Since then, the 16-year-old has been campaigning for climate protection by regularly staying away from school. Why should someone learn for the future when a future will not even be possible under these conditions? Our current lifestyle would consume 1.7 earths – and the trend is rising. With our way of life, we contribute a significant part to climate change. Coal power and plastic waste are doing their parts to make us “overwhelm” our planet.

On 20. August 2018, Greta Thunberg, then 15, refused to attend classes. As a result, it created an international stir, so that cities around the world are now on strike. The aim of the school strike, she said, is to make politicians aware of the climate policy grievances so that they take swift and, above all, concrete measures to comply with the Paris climate change agreement.

The protests are often accompanied by calls for the possibility to vote with an age of 16 in order to give sufficient dignified of the future of young people. Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for future movement accuse politicians in thinking only of their own future and not of the future of children and young people.

Vowing school for a better climate policy? What politicians say...

Reactions from politics are being heard, particularly from the Department of Education. Schleswig-Holstein Minister of Education Karin Prien condemns the demonstrations as “tails,” for example, and threatens consequences and disciplinary measures. For example, teachers are required to register participation in Fridays for Future demonstrations as unexcused hours of error. While the Minister thinks it is great to show political commitment and to actively promote her own future, she condemns the fact that this happens during school.

  • I have the utmost respect when students show political commitment and actively advocate for their own future, but skiving remain skiving.

    Karin Prien, CDU

    Ministry of Education Schleswig-Holstein
  • It’s so great that the young people get involved and say, that the way we deal with climate can’t remain like this, but that we need to be even more active to actually fix the problems in the world. 

    Malu Dreyer, SPD

    Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Anyone who praises the Fridays For Future demos as a civil society commitment or welcomes them as ‘ lived political education ‘ must ask themselves who is politically carrying these events, in which students violate compulsory schooling. As today’s ‘ #FridaysForFuture ‘ demo in front of the State House showed, this includes the ‘ Antifa ‘, which is classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as left-wing extremist and ready for violence. 

    Frank Brodehl, AfD

    Schleswig-Holstein State Parliament
  • The fact is that if we fail to stop the climate crisis today, our children and children will bear the bitter consequences. The fact that the climate crisis is driving young people onto the streets is absolutely understandable. It is about their future! And the so-called adults are not getting it right now.

    Cem Özdemir, B90/Grüne

    Member of the Bundestag
  • In Germany, children are now protesting for climate protection. That’s a really important concern. But you can hardly imagine, that German children come to the idea that suddenly you have to make this protest after years without any outside influence. Such campaigns can be made much easier over the Internet today.

    Angela Merkel, CDU

  • Political engagement by students is great. But children and teenagers cannot be expected to see all global contexts, the technically sensibility and the economically feasibility. That’s task for professionals.

    Christian Lindner, FDP

  • Greta Thunberg is an inspiration to many people worldwide – young and old. Climate protection is important! Your commitment ensures that this topic gets the attention it needs.

    Katharina Barley, SPD

    Federal Minister of Justice

While the satire magazine Postillon jokes: “Schools postpone Friday lessons to Saturday so students can demonstrate on Fridays.” A thought that a minister would probably like. By the way: Until reunification, it was common to go to school on Saturdays as well. 

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»If you think we'd better be at school, we suggest you strike and take it to the streets for us.«

Greta Thunberg


climate activist

Most recently, the district government of Düsseldorf stood out by asking schools to “document who stayed away from classes on Friday.” The fact
that people in Germany are allowed to strike at any time is regulated, for example, by Article 8 of German Constitution. Here it says: “(1) All Germans have the right to assemble peacefully and without weapons without registration or permission. (2) For open-air assemblies, this right may be limited by law. “

Compulsory school attendance is governed by such a law, which should restrict the freedom of assembly for pupils. According to this, pupils are usually liable to school until the semestre in which they turned 18. Even full-year-olds can still be liable to school, for example if they have to go to vocational school as part of an apprenticeship. 

Parents can also be held responsible in such cases because they are responsible for their children visiting school. Fines of up to 1,000 euros or even enforcement may have possible consequences. Because by law, children are only allowed to stay away from teaching if they are “incapacitated in education.” In the end, only a doctor can attest to this inability.

Apart from what the law says: How seriously are students still taken when they strike in their spare time or on weekends? That would be like air traffic controllers only going on strike during the night and even only at night launch bans and kindergarden staff only going on strike during the holidays  closing times. You generate attention by breaking the rules, not by striking in your spare time. I can therefore only approve of children and young people standing up for climate protection and our future.

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