As part of the Fridays for Future movement, we are already accustomed to quite a lot from the government when it comes to dealing with crises. In a fashion similar to their treatment of the climate crisis the federal government is repeating its brand of so-called “crisis management” in relation to global covid pandemic. One might think that politicians have still not learned anything from the climate crisis. Experts continue to be dismissed and their proposals and warnings largely ignored or ridiculed. Instead, large-scale support packages to save the economy and associated large corporations are issued. This suggests that humans are of secondary importance. In this it makes almost no difference whether it is a clearing of forests to mine lignite or a lack of support for self-employed artists or students in times of the coronavirus pandemic. In contrast, there are compensation for coal companies and support packages for Lufthansa in the billions. Instead, the Fridays for Future movement has been discredited with the argument: "Think of the jobs". In the coronavirus crisis, the question then arose as to exactly whose jobs it is that matter. Over the last year it has been large corporations that were deemed existentially necessary.
Fridays for Future has been around for over 2 years now. For years, our demands and those of scientists worldwide have been ignored. Instead of effective climate protection regulation, compromises were presented as if they are solution and adopted. But there can be no compromise with the climate, if we exceed the 1.5 degree mark, an unstoppable spiral of events will follow that will lead to the earth as we know it becoming uninhabitable for most animals and humans. Once our climate reaches a tipping point, it cannot be reversed. The realization of the Paris Climate Agreement and its goals will be yet again be pushed further into the background by the coronavirus crisis. Of course, first and foremost, it is of utmost importance to guarantee and protect the health of all people. But that is also what is at stake if we don’t solve the problem that is the climate crisis.
In the same way, it is necessary to remain consistent in the prevention of the virus. A middle course which keeps workplaces open while depriving people of all recreational opportunities and social contacts hardly helps and increases stress and isolation of individuals, leading to an increase in mental illnesses. The global pandemic brings many people to their limits, between existential fears and the feeling of being left alone, it is equally important to support the weakest in our society. People fear not only for their health, but also for their economic existence. Overcoming capitalism is just as much a liberation of humans as it is of their environment!
The climate crisis can no longer be viewed in isolation from the covid pandemic. Subsequent crises such as economic recessions put the existing system to the test. There is a lack of knowledge about social inequalities and structural problems in society. One particularly clear example is the lack of support for the working class, in the form of promised but never delivered subsidies, a situation which is simply accepted. The policies of the coronavirus crisis are aimed primarily at keeping the economy alive, rather than dealing effectively with getting through the crisis in a forward-looking way. Of course, it is important to deal with stopping the spread of the virus in these times. But by joining struggles, we will all benefit in the end.
Crises are also often seen as an opportunity to learn as a society and to change existing conditions so that we can then emerge from these times stronger. However, this idea holds only partially true and ignores the fact that crises often bring with them subsequent crises such as economic recessions and that it is above all underprivileged people who suffer the most from the crisis, while the most privileged can use the situation to increase their profits. The extent to which privileged people have benefited from the crisis can be seen, when looking at the online mail order company Amazon. While Jeff Bezos' company raked in record profits as a result of the Corona crisis, small businesses were unable to recoup their losses and were forced to close. Even the promised covid government aid was either too little or never came at all.
As a climate justice movement, it is just as much our responsibility to call attention to the inequalities mentioned above and to actively oppose a system that prioritizes capitalist logic and exploitative actions over helping people and their environment in times of crisis. Not only the handling of the climate crisis, but also the crisis management of the coronavirus pandemic demands private commitment. Instead of working together, responsibilities are often passed along or placed in the hands of the individual. There is still no uniform crisis plan for climate as well as coronavirus crises. Instead, the focus is on the independence of individual countries, which stands in the way of a collective solution to these problems. However, it is precisely in these cases that we need a common solution strategy in order to be able to change and improve the current circumstances.
In order to be able to shape our future in a climate-just way, we finally need to unite our struggles! The climate fight must be anti-fascist, feminist and anti-racist! Let's stand together for a fairer, climate-neutral future, for our future!