Will anything survive climate change?
Answers to questions from the students from the Climate Conference 2019
Table of Contents
- Consumption / plastic
- Society / politics
- What does a CO2 tax bring and why is Germany so much against the CO2 tax?
- The problems have existed for decades. So why is that being questioned now? If not act now, then when?
- Which costs are higher? Who adapt to the climate or who stop climate change?
- We have to decide: capitalism / economic growth or climate and environmental protection. But what use is the best economy if the world is going to end in the meantime?
- When can we no longer stop climate change?
- Why is everyone just after money / power? When the world ends, it's all worth nothing!
- How can one move / motivate the corporations to do more for the environment / climate protection?
- How can we find a good balance between politics and "myself"? (So what and how much can you do yourself, how much must politics do, and how can you get them to do it?)
- What can I do myself to improve the climate?
- How do you manage to make life in the private household more climate-friendly?
- How can I draw attention to the topic of climate change in my school and how can we make the school sustainable in order to protect the climate?
- Why are so many young people not taken seriously?
- Because of FFF, why are politicians only talking about not going to school instead of talking about what can be done about climate change?
- Why did we students have to show our faces first so that the topic of climate comes out into the open and how can I convince politicians to do something for climate change?
At the climate conference for schoolchildren organized by the Saxon state government, some left questions at the Parents for Future booth. Here are the answers from the Scientist for Future Leipzig
What's the most important next step?
It is not clear what the next step will be. Therefore, here are a few points that could be quickly addressed. It would be important to have clear communication from the government that we have to align our economy with the preservation of the ecosystem. Everything man-made can be made new. But if our livelihood is destroyed due to disregard for planetary boundaries, we have a catastrophe that most people will not survive.
In order to reduce the emissions of CO2, as a relatively simple measure, plants for the production of renewable energy should be expanded quickly. A power supply with renewable energies is feasible worldwide with today's technical means (see http://energywatchgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/EWG_LUT_100RE_All_Sectors_Global_Report_2019.pdf) and no more expensive than the previous energy system. More jobs will be created than will be lost through the previous system. If Germany started doing this, it could have an example for the rest of the world.
Another important point would be the preservation of the large forests. For example, deforestation must be stopped in the Amazon and forests should be replanted in as many places in the world as possible. Financial measures such as the immediate stop of subsidies for fossil fuels or the introduction of a CO2 tax are also good immediate measures.
Why are opinions about climate change so different? Why do people deny climate change?
There are numerous reasons for this. First of all, very early on in the debate about climate change and what can be done about it, there were industry-funded studies and campaigns allegedly refuting climate change, which do not stand up to scrutiny. This is described, for example, in the book "Merchants of Doubt", which is also published in German. In Germany there is e.g. the EIKE - European Institute for Climate & Energy.
Furthermore, reports in the media are often such that different sides of a topic are reported equally weighted, although most scholars agree that one side is correct. That applies to many topics. In Germany, this "equally weighted reporting" on climate change is not as pronounced as, for example, in the USA, where accordingly more people deny man-made climate change.
Some people also have a great belief that capitalism is the best system - and such people generally reject state interference and rules (but they also don't see that capitalism works only on the basis of exploitation). Another reason to deny climate change is that it is difficult to accept that one's behavior should be harmful to the world. After all, you also like to suppress a problem that is so big that you can't even grasp it, you think to yourself “if it were really that bad, then more would certainly be done about it”.
How can you convince opponents of the climate to act in an environmentally conscious manner?
At this point it should be said that it is difficult to convince people who are staunch climate deniers of the opposite. Maybe they are even climate deniers because they don't want to change their lifestyle. However, there are always people who just don't know any better. A bit of basic knowledge can perhaps bring about a change for them, especially because we are currently clearly feeling climate change even in Germany (less snow in the winters, more hot days in summer and more tropical nights (if the temperature is always above 20 ° C ist), the drought of 2018/19 (https://www.dwd.de/DE/klimaumwelt/klimawandel/klimawandel_node.html)). Once enough people change their lifestyle in such a way that, for example, a car with a lot of horsepower is no longer “cool” but “completely wrong”, then maybe climate deniers will change something.
On the subject of basic knowledge: CO2 (which is always produced when burning e.g. oil, coal, gas) is a greenhouse gas! The greenhouse effect warms the earth (up to now that was good, without it we would have about 30 ° C colder temperatures)! The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere has been measured continuously since 1958 (https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/) An increase in global temperature is measured (https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ graphs_v3 /) The measured warming is only correctly represented by models if the greenhouse gases emitted by humans are taken into account in the models (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/)
Is it still realistically possible to stay below 1.5 ° C?
A.From a purely scientific point of view, one cannot say whether it is realistic or not, because for that one would have to be able to predict how people will behave in the future and that is known to be very difficult. Nevertheless, one can say: it looks bad. A warming of 1 ° C (compared to pre-industrial times) has already taken place, and the earth is reacting slowly, so that it would get even warmer, even if the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere were kept constant from now on. We need radical measures worldwide to prevent a catastrophe. It is therefore entirely justified to speak of a climate emergency or an emergency. Some compare the situation to that of a world war: enormous efforts are required to end it and losses are to be expected in some areas.
The problem is global, so at least almost everyone has to participate. It's like a celebration where everyone should bring something. If everyone brings something with them, there is enough for everyone, if one brings nothing, it is not noticed. But if many do not participate, then it is not enough.
However, it is not impossible. Some also take the GDR as an example. In the summer of 1989, many still thought it unrealistic that the system would change over the next few years. As we know, it happened quickly because a large number of people took to the streets.
How can we get out of coal-fired power plants without causing major damage with the alternatives? Why is the coal phase-out taking so long and what are its (social) disadvantages?
As part of a study commissioned by Greenpeace, the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology has shown that an exit from coal would be possible by 2030. https://www.greenpeace.de/sites/www.greenpeace.de/files/publications/2030_kohlefrei_fraunhofer_iee_greenpeace.pdf)
But many people are afraid of the radical change that this will bring with it. This is particularly the case in the eastern German states, because people have bad memories of the upheaval after reunification. These concerns are justified because it is difficult to replace a large branch of industry in the short term. That is why the social issue was also a focus of the negotiations in the “Coal Commission”. However, the consequences of a climate catastrophe due to a delayed coal phase-out would be much worse. Of course, the disaster can only be prevented if everyone participates. But it is important that Germany, as one of the richest countries in the world, sets a good example and shows that an energy supply without fossil fuels is possible.
Will it be possible to do without fossil fuels completely at some point?
Yes, there are many studies on this, and it has also been shown that it is not only possible worldwide, but also cheaper than the previous system (http://energywatchgroup.org/globales-energiesystem-mit-100-erneuerbaren-energien) The special thing What is part of this study is that the costs alone have been optimized without making technological specifications. The largest amounts of energy are provided by solar power and wind power, depending on the country.
What will the future of mobility look like?
It is well conceivable and desirable that local and long-distance public transport will regain its attractiveness and that more people will use it. There are also ideas such as an inexpensive annual ticket, e.g. for € 365 as in Vienna, or free local transport, such as in Tallin. It is also now clear to many that cities would do well if cycling were to become more attractive, because if more people cycle or walk, many things that are bad in car traffic (e.g. emissions of CO2 and other harmful gases and Fine dust, traffic jams, parking spaces that take up space). Many cities in Holland and also the Danish city of Copenhagen are considered pioneers here.
However, individual motorized transport will continue to exist. For short distances, e.g. in cities, e-cars are a good alternative (if they are fueled with electricity from renewable energies). There are fast charging stations for long journeys where you have to "refuel". Car-sharing is also a good alternative - not everyone has to own a car with a long range. In addition, the problem of the utilization of the power grid in fleet operation can be solved much better.
How long will global stocks of rare earths last for the production of lithium-ion batteries?
There is no clear answer to this question, because there is still a lot of potential in the development of battery technology, so it is assumed that alternatives will be found when a certain raw material that is used today becomes scarce and therefore expensive.
You can see this in the development of solar modules, for example. For example, less than 10% silver is required to manufacture a PV module today than it was 10 years ago. During this time, however, the module prices have also fallen to around 10% of the price of 10 years ago. The other important factor is recycling. To stay with the example of the solar modules: Assuming that today I can recover 90% of the silver used from a 10 year old solar module, that's enough to produce 9 new modules (the service life of a solar module is 20-30 years). Since raw materials usually do not grow again and are therefore finally available, we generally have no choice but to rely on a high recycling rate and high efficiency in the use of materials.
In lithium battery technology, e.g. the use of cobalt is a much discussed topic. It is therefore assumed that cobalt-free batteries will be on the market in a few years.
Why aren't we doing anything against the auto industry? Why is the automotive industry not so concerned with sustainable means of transport and technologies?
The auto industry is one of the largest employers in Germany and is well networked through lobbying. That explains why politicians are happy to protect this industry (because when the economy is doing badly, the chances of being re-elected are worse). It is a shame that the German auto industry did not start promoting alternative drives and concepts a long time ago - ideas for this have been around for a long time. But the auto industry has earned well in the past without having to change, so it just kept going into 2019 as it had in the past. But if politics protects the auto industry too much (the costs of the diesel scandal are passed on to the citizens), then that can upset the citizens too.
It is important to provide the industry with clear framework conditions. For a long time in Germany it was the internal combustion engine and especially the diesel. In China there is now a clear shift to electromobility and whoever misses it will probably not survive in the market.
The aim should be to develop sustainable concepts based on boundary conditions, e.g. from the Paris Climate Agreement, not against but with the (auto) industry. It will then not only be about driving cars, but also about the question of how environmentally friendly mobility can be guaranteed for everyone, especially in rural areas.
In what ways should e-cars improve our future?
If they are fueled with electricity from renewable energies, e-cars have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline or diesel cars over their entire service life. They are locally emission-free, so they do not pollute the air with exhaust gases, which is particularly important on busy streets in cities. They are also much easier to manufacture and therefore other vehicle concepts than before are possible. For example, the motor can be integrated into the wheels as a wheel hub motor and less space is required. E-cars are particularly good for short distances, e.g. in cities, as they can then get by with smaller batteries. A range of 100 km is sufficient in most cases (Germans drive around 40 km per day on average). Our mobility concepts have to change: Up to now, cars just stand around for most of the day, and if every gasoline and every diesel car is replaced by an electric car, we will still have far too many cars on the road. That's why we don't just need a different drive, but a different mobility concept. See e.g. also (https://www.zeit.de/kultur/2016-04/strassenverkehr-auto-umwelt-staedte-utopie-10nach8/komplettansicht)
Consumption / plastic
Can microplastics be completely filtered out of bodies of water?
Microplastics are small particles of plastic waste that are by definition smaller than 5mm and typically less than a millimeter wide. Microplastics are not only found everywhere in water but also in the food chain, e.g. in fish or shellfish. Filtering microplastics out of water is a major challenge and there is currently no large-scale solution. For example, ocean activist Marc Ward invented a tool to use electrostatic attraction to remove microplastic particles from beaches https://vimeo.com/156218387. A young student from the USA has developed a submarine rover to detect and collect particles using infrared https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWGBc53v98E. For the application it is of course an important question who would bear the costs. Since the largest source of microplastics is larger parts, it is important that no plastic gets into the water and a lot is gained by removing the plastic parts, which are still large today, from the sea.
How do we reduce “hidden plastic”?
An important step is to become aware of where "hidden plastic" is and then to avoid these products: for example in foods in which it is not suspected: e.g. chewing gum and water. A report from WWF says that every week we eat plastic the size of a credit card without even realizing it (5 g) http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/plastic_ingestion_press_singles.pdf. Other products such as household products, cosmetics, synthetic clothing (microfibres) and cigarettes also contain plastic. The website "Eradicate Plastic" offers a list of 10 common items with hidden plastic (e.g. coffee cups to take away) that can be avoided quickly https://eradicateplastic.com/hidden-plastics-10-common-items-that-surprisingly- contain-plastic /.
How and why does garbage get into the oceans?
Over 80% of the annual garbage that ends up in the seas comes from the mainland: for example, rain and wind transport garbage into the sea via the sewers and rivers. In some countries, people dump garbage directly into rivers. 20% of the garbage is "thrown" directly into the sea: for example by fishing and shipping. In addition, the industrialized countries export their garbage to poorer countries (e.g. Asia), these countries receive money for disposing of the garbage. The garbage is then called "recyclable material". However, their environmental standards are not so high that they dispose of the garbage in the sea. Our rubbish also ends up in the sea via these detours. https://www.eunomia.co.uk/reports-tools/plastics-in-the-marine-environment/https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/how-does-plastic-end-ocean. There is an interesting film about the pollution of the Mediterranean here https://programm.ard.de/TV/arte/mittelmeer-in-gefahr/eid_28724610124485.
How can the waste (plastic) of products be minimized?
Anyone can take action on a daily basis to reduce plastic. A simple way is to buy the products without packaging, e.g. in the supermarket, in the unpackaged shop or in the market. The products can be transported and stored in cloth bags, glasses or old plastic containers. Alternatively, you can buy products that are packaged in glass or cardboard. Switching from water in plastic bottles to tap water or glass bottles is a good strategy for reducing plastic waste. However, the transport of glass (instead of plastic) generates more CO2 because glass is heavier. In fact, avoiding plastic is an important point for environmental protection, but, compared to other points, does little to protect the climate. In addition to the individual measures, it is important that governments enact new regulations. For example, the European Commission has passed new rules banning plastic in single-use products (cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and chopsticks for balloons) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-3927_en.htm.
Will there be a similarly practical alternative to plastic that will soon be usable?
Glass and reusable bags are already a viable alternative to plastic packaging in many situations. Much research and development is being carried out to find other alternatives to plastic. For example, fruits and vegetables can be packaged in palm leaves. A lot is invested in the development of bioplastics, for example from milk, wood plants, algae or even shrimp and crab shells (chitosan).
The general rule is: avoid, use multiple times, recycle as a principle for all raw materials. However, experience shows that an environmentally harmful product usually only disappears from use if it is forbidden or subject to a high tax.
Why is there still no minimum service life for technology such as smartphones?
If there were a specified minimum service life, the products would also have to be qualitatively designed for this, because premature failure would then be at the expense of the manufacturer. Higher quality would result in more manufacturing costs and at the same time prevent a new device from being acquired more quickly. In fact, some things are deliberately built so that they are impossible to repair, difficult to repair (riveted instead of screwed) or break faster so that something new will have to be bought soon. The EU policy is already going in the right direction, see also https://www.circuit-accessories.de/2019/02/13/update- Schrauben-locker- sucht-recht-auf-reparatur/ and https: // www.vzbv.de/dokument/ffektenblatt-zu-oekodesign.
Society / politics
What does a CO2 tax bring and why is Germany so much against the CO2 tax?
Basically the idea is: If products and services that cause a lot of CO2 in their manufacture become more expensive due to a CO2 tax, they would be bought less and then less CO2 would be emitted. The details are of course complicated, because there is no point if products that emit a lot of CO2 during production are then manufactured in countries that do not have a CO2 tax. In addition, the question arises of how such a tax can be made socially just.
So far, companies in Europe, such as operators of coal-fired power plants that emit large amounts of CO2, have already had to buy certificates for this within the framework of European emissions trading. The problem, however, was that these were relatively cheap and therefore had little effect.
What is new in the discussion of a CO2 tax is that all sectors not previously covered by emissions trading (ETS) (heating, transport, agriculture) should be included. Due to the failure to meet the national climate targets in the various sectors, Germany will not have to buy ETS certificates until the 2020s. These costs of 30-60 billion euros are initially paid by the state and not by the polluters. The design of CO2 pricing can be very different. The effectiveness then of course also depends on this.
A national CO2 pricing for transport and heating is also conceivable, of course a Europe-wide approach would be much better. See also: https://www.boell.de/de/2019/05/08/co2-preis-jenseits-der-leerformel. On the other hand, you can't wait long if you're serious about climate protection. There are already some suggestions for the first steps: e.g. here: https://www.agora-energiewende.de/fileadmin2/Projekte/2019/15_Eckpunkte_fuer_das_Klimaschutzgesetz/Agora_15_Eckpunkte_Klimaschutzgesetz_WEB.pdf
Whenever a new tax is mentioned, people fear that they will have to give more money to the state. This is not even planned for many models of a CO2 tax, because the income from the tax should be returned to the people; on average, it would be cost-neutral. In the end, people who generate little CO2 (and these are often poorer people who cannot afford air travel or expensive steaks) would even be better off, whereas the costs would be borne by the people who can also afford the relevant things . A lot of demagoguery is involved when it comes to taxes (see e.g. https://www.capital.de/wirtschaft-politik/klimapraemie-statt-co2-steuer). In fact, effective CO2 pricing is currently being discussed in many parties, only with different results. Some fear resistance from voters, among others. In any case, there are good examples that it can work - without an uprising by the population, in Sweden and Switzerland and currently EU-wide for approval of such a tax https://citizensclimateinitiative.eu/
If a CO2 tax is levied on average with no cost, however, an essential social problem remains unsolved: According to the UBA, CO2 emissions cause costs of 180 € / t. These costs have to be paid by the next generation and that is also unfair. For intergenerational equity, it would be better to immediately invest the income from a CO2 tax in climate protection measures. A social balance between rich and poor today could be achieved through other factors such as a wealth tax, inheritance tax, financial transaction tax or changes in income tax.
The problems have existed for decades. So why is that being questioned now? If not act now, then when?
In fact, the debate about when and how to act is almost as old as the realization that burning fossil fuels will cause global warming. Because just as old are arguments of climate skeptics who, financed by industry, have misled the public about climate change (well described, for example, in the book “Merchants of Doubt”, which is also published in German https://de.wikipedia.org/ wiki / Merchants_of_Doubt). It was appropriate to act 40 years ago, and this was already said by some scientists and politicians back then. The first steps were, for example, the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the agreements within the framework of the "Kyoto Protocol". In the meantime, however, the consequences of climate change can already be seen so clearly that it is to be hoped that far-reaching measures will now be adopted.
Which costs are higher? Who adapt to the climate or who stop climate change?
Basically, the costs of stopping climate change are certainly smaller. If many of the so-called "tipping points" are reached, we can no longer stop some of the effects with the technical means known today, regardless of how much money one would invest. This is most evident, for example, in species extinction. If a species is extinct, humans can no longer bring it to life. If, for example, bees are no longer there, flowers are no longer pollinated to the required extent and fruit is no longer harvested in the current amount. The ecosystem has a "buffer". Humans can certainly survive if some species die, but if there are too many, we lack the basis of life.
It is therefore important to avoid tipping points from being reached, as otherwise the costs for mankind will become immeasurably high. Stopping (or holding back as much as possible) global warming is therefore also financially the cheapest. And for example, electricity from renewable energies is already cheaper worldwide than electricity from coal.
We have to decide: capitalism / economic growth or climate and environmental protection. But what use is the best economy if the world is going to end in the meantime?
This hits an important point, which well-known scientists also mention, for example Maja Göpel and who is after all Secretary General of the “Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Government on Global Environmental Change” (see e.g. http://www.jungundnaiv-podcast.de/2019/06/420 -maja-goepel-scientists-for-future-jung-naive /). On the other hand, capitalism is not so clearly defined and with certain limits you may well have a chance to mitigate the consequences of climate change with capitalism. Unfortunately, the consumption of resources and the damage to nature are often not provided with a corresponding price and thus there is no corresponding steering effect in capitalism. A lot would be gained, for example, if the prices reflected the real costs. So if, for example, 1t of CO2 causes environmental damage, the removal of which costs 180 € / t, then the emission of 1t of CO2 would have to be taxed, which is so high that after deduction of the administrative costs 180 € / t is left for the removal of the damage remains.
Nor do everyone understand the same thing about “economic growth”. If, for example, we now consistently and very quickly switch to renewable energies, insulate houses, install new heating systems, organize mobility differently, there will certainly be economic growth first. How long that would be is difficult to say and there can be no such thing as “infinite” growth in a “finite” world. Therefore, an essential question related to the topic is: What do we actually need to lead a happy life and we as humanity can probably get by with less material things. Only so-called “social norms” have to change. If it is seen as "cool" to do your mobility, e.g. mainly on foot, by bike and public transport, significantly fewer SUVs are bought. Unfortunately we are not there yet. But that also means that we have to begin at the moment to start taking measures against climate change with the existing economy.
When can we no longer stop climate change?
We're already dealing with climate change - it's getting noticeably warmer, weather patterns are changing. There are, however, a number of tipping points in the climate system, and if one of them is reached, major changes will quickly occur. This should be avoided at all costs. That is why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) advises that the temperature increase should be limited to below 1.5 ° C. Tipping points are, for example, once a certain amount of the ice on Greenland has thawed, when the ocean circulation stops, when the permafrost continues to thaw and then large amounts of methane are released (see https://klimakonferenz.org/was-sind-kippelemente/ ). It is not possible to say clearly when a tipping point will be reached. One area is given, for example, in Schellnhuber (2016) Why the right climate target was agreed in Paris.nature - http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~ricardaw/publications/schellnhuber_rahmstorf16.pdf).
But regardless of how high the temperatures will rise - slowing down the rise in temperatures can help to be able to react better. It is therefore important in any case to find a sustainable system for our life and economy on earth.
Why is everyone just after money / power? When the world ends, it's all worth nothing!
Often it is only about one's own prosperity and / or that of one's own voters. But it is now becoming increasingly clear that our own prosperity also depends to a large extent on the welfare of the world. A human life is only a brief moment in this regard. And an election period for which politicians are elected is even shorter. Accordingly, politicians are often short-sighted. Some may really not have understood it and some know better, but let themselves be guided by their own interests and those of lobbyists. That has to be questioned and uncovered. “Prosperity” is also often confused with quality of life!
An important aspect is that big problems like the climate crisis can only be solved in community. If everyone only looks at their short-term well-being for themselves, they behave differently than if they have the (long-term) interests of the community in mind. It is also important how immediately someone feels the (negative) consequences of their own actions. It is therefore important to make people aware that everyone is part of a community, and the more individuals identify with this community, the more likely they are to act in the interests of the community.
How can one move / motivate the corporations to do more for the environment / climate protection?
Every company has to generate profits if it wants to continue to exist in the market, because we have a market economy and at the same time a capitalist social order. If the profit can be increased with environmental / climate protection, then they are there too, but never without economic requirements. This can come from two directions.
On the one hand, from the consumers. They can definitely influence the public opinion of products. For that to work, the pressure has to be very high and a lot of people have to participate. An example here would be that the automotive industry will stop building cars with internal combustion engines when they are no longer bought.
On the other hand, the boundary conditions such as CO2 pricing are important. And only if more environmental protection is demanded, e.g. by the voters, will something happen in this direction. There are of course always pioneers in ecological aspects who voluntarily do more than what is required by law. But these are rather medium-sized and smaller companies, where human beliefs can play a bigger role than profit. Prof. Göpel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vhuFlVGBeI) therefore suggests considering a change in company law.
Large companies in particular are quite sluggish. You move in a business field as long as you can make good money there. With the money you earn, you often buy up innovative smaller companies and thus secure access to new ideas. Sometimes large companies miss the point of reorientation and then they disappear, e.g. Kodak, the former market leader for films, or Nokia as a mobile phone manufacturer.
How can we find a good balance between politics and "myself"? (So what and how much can you do yourself, how much must politics do, and how can you get them to do it?)
How the balance between one's own actions and politics should look like, of course, cannot be said across the board, it is clear that we need both; where someone sets his / her individual focus, he / she can only decide for himself / herself.
For many, it is helpful to join local and global initiatives, because there are two aspects to this: Firstly, as part of a community, it is much easier for someone to do things that are also inconvenient and one can motivate one another. Second, as part of a (large) community, one can better influence politics. In any activity in a group, of course, how well you get on with the other people in the group also plays a major role.
So it's up to you to try out what suits you. Some are good at appearing in public, others are good at motivating or organizing, and some may simply impress simply because they live in a way that corresponds to their values and many trends simply do not go along with them.
What can I do myself to improve the climate?
It helps to change one's own way of life, for example to eat less meat and animal products and not buy more than one needs (clothes and food), public transport and bike instead of car and plane, vacation without flights; But politics must set the general framework, i.e. FFF demos and inform those in the environment (parents, relatives, friends) about the dangers of climate change!
How do you manage to make life in the private household more climate-friendly?
First, you have to find out what the really decisive levers are for a climate-friendly household. In principle, everyone can have an influence in these areas: diet, energy consumption in the home and when moving around, leisure and consumer behavior. Around half of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are directly or indirectly influenced by the behavior and consumption decisions of private households https://www.wissenschaft.de/umwelt-natur/klimafreund-leben-es-gibt-viele-ansatzpunkte/. With a CO2 calculator (https://uba.co2-rechner.de/de_DE/) everyone can see where they stand.
Energy-saving behavior can even save you real money. Here are a few tips: In winter, the temperatures should be reduced to what is necessary, possibly they can be lowered at night. The window should not be tilted to ventilate, but should be opened wide every now and then. You can save energy for warm water by showering only briefly and not or rarely bathing. https://www.verbrauchzentrale.de/sites/default/files/migration_files/media248932A.pdf.
In the case of electrical devices, care should be taken to ensure that they are only in operation when they are needed and that "standby" operation is avoided. Choose energy-saving devices when buying a new one.
Eco-friendly transportation is most likely on foot or by bike, and for longer journeys by public transport. Long-haul flights in particular can tip your entire personal climate balance!
When it comes to nutrition, it is very beneficial to only buy and prepare as much as is actually eaten and to throw away as little as possible. Avoiding meat and animal products also has a major impact. It is still good if the things you buy have not traveled far (especially food) and are produced as ecologically as possible and traded fairly.
It is not always easy to pay attention to all of this. And of course it is much easier in the long run if you change your behavior together with friends or with your partner. Further tips are available from:
https://www.omasforfuture.de/handeln https://www.co2online.de/klima-schuetzen/klimabilanz/strom-heizen-mobilitaet-und-essen/, https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/umwelttipps- for everyday life.
How can I draw attention to the topic of climate change in my school and how can we make the school sustainable in order to protect the climate?
First look for local allies: pupils, teachers, school management, operator (municipality?) And then research a first topic (e.g. heat waves) and make connections public. There are many good online sources that you can use, e.g. https://sachsen-im-klimawandel.de/Bildung-fuer-nachhaltige-Ententwicklung.html or https://www.umwelt.sachsen.de/umwelt/ klima / 1285.htm
In order to make the school sustainable, you don't have to reinvent everything; you can first orientate yourself on the experiences of others, e.g. in 50/50 projects and other public competitions (www.energiesparmeister.de/wettbewerb/). You should definitely ask the school authority (e.g. municipality) for support with everything.
It is very effective to advocate economical energy consumption - you can do a lot here as a student by influencing everyone's user behavior. It's best to do your research online - there are tons of initiatives with good ideas. There is good information here: https://www.energiesparmeister.de/mitmachen/klimaschutz-in-schulen/
Maybe it's good to start with small things. If they work out well then you can tackle the bigger ones.
Why are so many young people not taken seriously?
Young people sometimes have little political influence and there are fewer young people compared, for example, with pensioners. The younger youth are not yet a group of voters who have the politicians in their sights. People (unfortunately not all) learn more and more in the course of life and understand more and more contexts. Because of this, some adults may look down on young people in general, although especially (but not only) among the folks who participate in Fridays for Future, many of them are more familiar with a variety of topics than some adults.
The problem of “not being taken seriously” is not just a problem for young people. Climate scientists in particular sometimes feel that they are not being taken seriously. They have been warning against climate change for decades, and the FFF movement has achieved a lot more in one year than many scientists at many conferences.
It is also a question of quantity and persistence. Little noticed the first school strikes by Greta. But now millions of people are active and committed to climate justice and climate protection. Mahatma Gandhi said in this context: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win."
Because of FFF, why are politicians only talking about not going to school instead of talking about what can be done about climate change?
If people (not just politicians) have no good arguments in terms of content, then they switch to other areas. They are trying to find something bad about their "opponent" and in the case of FFF it was, for example, violating compulsory schooling. The only thing that helps is to stick to the subject matter and look for allies.
Why did we students have to show our faces first so that the topic of climate comes out into the open and how can I convince politicians to do something for climate change?
It was important that FFF / students took to the streets. It was noticed because there are so many of you! Individual scientists who, for example, give lectures or appear in a talk show (which has been around on the topic for a long time) are quickly forgotten or suppressed. You also motivate others (parents, grandparents, scientists ...) to participate and also to come out more publicly. Politics has already changed in the last year and will continue to change if the pressure stays “off the road”. That is why it is important to stay tuned, and not only students but also adults must take advantage of their opportunities to maintain this pressure or to renew it again and again by participating in demos, for example. We all have to talk to others and also to politicians about the climate crisis. The more it shows in elections that parties that do far too little to tackle the climate crisis are voted out, the more likely they are to change their program.
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