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A group of young people are in the third week of a hunger strike in Berlin, claiming that German political parties are not adequately addressing climate change ahead of this month’s general election, writes Jenny Hill, Climate Change.
The protesters – aged 18 to 27 – have vowed to continue their hunger strike until the three main candidates vying to replace Angela Merkel agree to meet with them.
The atmosphere is hushed among the small tents and hand-painted banners near the German Chancellery in Berlin.
The six young people on hunger strike for more than two weeks say they feel weak.
At 27, Jacob Heinze is the oldest of the protesters here (organizers say four other people joined their hunger strike away from the camp). He speaks slowly, clearly has trouble concentrating, but told the BBC that while he is afraid of the consequences of his “indefinite hunger strike”, his fear of climate change is greater.
“I have already told my parents and my friends that there is a chance that I will not see them again,” he said.
“I am doing this because our governments are failing to save the younger generation from a future that is beyond imagination. Which is horrible. We are going to face a war over resources like water, food and water. land and it is already a reality for many people around the world. “
With less than two weeks before the German general election, Jacob and his fellow protesters demand that the three main candidates to replace Angela Merkel as German Chancellor come to speak to them.
Climate change is arguably the biggest electoral issue here. German politicians have been influenced by mass protests by young climate change activists in recent years, but this summer’s deadly flooding in the west of the country has also drawn public attention.
Even so, say the hunger strikers, none of the major political parties – including the Green Party – are proposing adequate measures to address the problem.
“None of their programs take into account the real scientific facts so far, especially not the danger of tipping points (major irreversible climate changes) and the fact that we are very close to reaching them,” the door said. lyrics by Hannah Luebbert.
She says the protesters want Germany to establish a so-called citizens’ assembly – a group of people chosen to reflect all parts of society – in order to find solutions.
“The climate crisis is also a political crisis and perhaps a crisis of our democracy, because the establishment of elections every four years and the great influence of lobbyists and economic interests in our parliaments often lead to the fact that economic interests are more important than our civilization, our survival, ”says Luebbert.
“Such citizens’ assemblies are not influenced by lobbyists and it is not the politicians over there who are afraid of not being re-elected, it is just the people who use their rationality.”
Hunger strikers say only one of the chancellor candidates – Annalena Baerbock of the Green party – responded, but spoke to them by phone rather than responding to their request for a public conversation. She asked them to end their hunger strike.
But the group – which is the subject of increasing publicity – is committed to continuing, despite acknowledging the plight of its families and friends.
Even so, Jacob says, his mother supports him.
“She’s scared. She’s really scared but she understands why I’m taking these steps. She cries every day and calls me every day and asks me isn’t it better to stop? And we always get to the point where we are. says no, we must continue, “he said.
“There is a real need to wake up people all over the world.”