Podcast "important today": climate protectors stick themselves on the street - is that still activism or already civil disobedience?

Most people in Germany still drive to work by car – and thus spend a lot of time in it involuntarily.

Podcast "important today": climate protectors stick themselves on the street - is that still activism or already civil disobedience?

Most people in Germany still drive to work by car – and thus spend a lot of time in it involuntarily. In 2021, commuters spent an average of 40 hours in traffic jams, 14 hours more than in 2020. These figures were calculated by the traffic analysis company Inrix. Often nobody can do anything about traffic jams, for example in the event of an accident or when there is simply a lot of traffic on the streets during rush hour in the morning and in the evening. But when, like this week, activists glue themselves to the highway to draw attention to the climate crisis, many people have little understanding. 21 members of the "Last Generation" group stuck themselves to various motorway exits around Berlin, while other demonstrators set off fire alarms in the Bundestag and the Federal Ministry of Transport. The climate activists said: "The blaring sirens are declaring the obvious: We are in a climate emergency and the government has a duty to act accordingly."

That's not just protest, it's civil disobedience, says stern editor Jonah Lemm in the 380th episode of "Today's Important": "For me, civil disobedience is intentional breaking of laws with moral legitimacy." These can be demonstrators who are stuck, for example, or school children who are striking with "Fridays for Future". These movements can annoy those affected who are stuck in traffic. But they also had a positive influence on society, according to Lemm: "There have always been forms of civil disobedience that ultimately led to us recognizing positions as a social consensus." Examples: The women's rights movement, opponents of nuclear power or the LGBTQ community.

At the moment, the climate protection movement in particular is suffering from the fact that other issues seem more important. The energy crisis, for example, has a direct impact on many people's everyday lives. The public is therefore simply concerned with other crises, such as the war in Ukraine or still Corona, says Jonah Lemm: "Activism thrives on attention. These are often minorities who articulate their positions through special protest actions. And if they don't get this attention , that can fizzle out in empty space." Activists who are currently fighting for the preservation of the forest in Lützerath have it harder than the protesters in 2018 in the Hambach Forest: "Ultimately it was preserved. [...] I don't think that would have happened if it weren't for civilians disobedience and the activists who fought for it," said Lemm.

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