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101: Fridays for Future activists Darya Sotoodeh & Katharina Maier

Guest Name(s): Darya Sotoodeh & Katharina Maier

Absorbing interview with Fridays for Future, the organization founded by Greta Thunberg who reminds us that, “No one is too small to make a difference.” Hear from one of Germanys’ leading climate activists Darya Sotoodeh and the lead organizer Katharina Maier (Kat) at at Fridays for Future USA. Please go out there and make a difference! Join an environmental organization TODAY.

Fridays for Future >>

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Absorbing interview with Fridays for Future, the organization founded by Greta Thunberg who reminds us that, "No one is too small to make a difference." Hear from one of Germanys' leading climate activists Darya Sotoodeh and the lead organizer Katharina Maier (Kat) at at Fridays for Future USA. Please go out there and make a difference! Join an environmental organization TODAY.
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Fridays for future or FFF, is a youth-led and -organised global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. In the three weeks leading up to the Swedish election, she sat outside Swedish Parliament every school day, demanding urgent action on the climate crisis. She was tired of society’s unwillingness to see the climate crisis for what it is: a crisis…
Thousands of climate protesters, young and old, gathered Friday in Berlin and other German cities to demand tougher government action against global warming, particularly in curbing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector…
I am dedicated to the behind the scenes work required to make real change in the world. I recently completed my B.Sc. in Business Administration from the Freie Universität of Berlin, Germany and am an accredited office manager. As a lead organizer for the Climate Initiative: Fridays for Future in Berlin and the US, I strengthened my drive to establish a career in this field. I have prior experience in both business and event management. Through international work and travel I have gained a breadth of culture knowledge. The combination of my education, prior experience, organizational capabilities and drive makes me the person that gets the job done…
101: Darya Sotoodeh & Katharina Maier, Fridays for Future
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Darya Sotoodeh & Katharina Maier, Fridays for Future

You’re listening to A Climate Change, this is Matt Matern, your host and I’ve got two great guests on the program – Darya Sotoodeh and Kat Maier both with Fridays for Future and just for a little background Fridays for Future is the organization that Greta Thunberg started and became a worldwide sensation. Greta has just recently published a book, the climate book, New York Times bestseller, which is a collection of essays. And Greta once said, “You’re never too small to make a difference,” which I think is just a great quote, and reminds us all that we can all step in there and make something happened.

One of the things I like about your group is that it’s a non hierarchical group and that all the local groups are autonomous, and that you kind of encourage each of these members to speak for themselves. So that it isn’t a situation where somebody on high is telling you do this, do that, say this say that, that to me is very powerful.

I love that. Now, climate change is the most important issue facing the world. And it’s an existential threat, and young people should be upset about what is happening. Because those of us who are a bit older, have made a very big mess of this planet, and have polluted it.

And the corporations that have been polluting are certainly responsible, but all of us bear some part of that culpability. So it’s time to get out in the streets and shout from the rooftops stop polluting our home our planet. So with that, Katharina, Darya, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having us. It’s it’s great to be here.

Darya, your position is that you’re in Germany, as a spokesperson for Fridays for Future in Germany. Tell us a little bit about the work that you’re doing in Germany?

Um, yes. So as you said, we have several, we have several local groups. And I’m active in different groups, one in a bigger city in Berlin, and also in Heidelberg. And, yeah, so what we do, of course, is organizing those strikes, we recently just had the 12 Global Strike 12 already.

And so well, yeah, we tried to also work together and connect to like, groups from other countries to coordinate that day. What I also do is like a lot of educational work inside, like within the group, and also work in the media section where we kind of tried to talk to the press and reach out to as many people as possible. I saw in the news that there was a big strike regarding a German coal mine that your group was trying to shut down.

Tell us a little bit about that strike and importance of doing that, um, you probably referring to loads.

Yeah. Yeah. So that was a huge thing, the story of Litsa that is that it’s a village or it used to be a village in northwestern Germany. And there is a coal mine, quite close to the village, which belongs to our W. E. fossil fuel company. And they have plans to like, expand that coal mine, in order to try more lignite, supposedly, because it’s needed. But there are studies that prove that this is wrong, and we actually don’t need that lignite.

And however, the government of that region also kind of agreed, and therefore the company was allowed to demolish lots a lot, and to evacuated before so all the inhabitants were forced to leave in the recent years, and then many activists from Germany but also from other countries, came to it’s a lot and build up the place again, and they built tree houses and like a whole little village, so it kind of became a life again, and they kept the place occupied until a few weeks ago, actually.

And then finally, later that was evicted by the police and demolished it’s kind of a sad ending to that. But I think that the point is being made that we need to get off of coal which is such a dirty fuel and causes so many harms to our environment in so many different ways not only just the air pollution, but also the water pollution that results from it. And and displacing communities and, and all the things that happen downstream.

Tell us a little bit about the work that you’re doing Kat.

Glad to. So I coordinate nationally with Fridays for Future U.S. and Fridays for Future U.S. is set set up to be a network of all the different local groups that are within the US.

So what we do is we try to connect all the different organizers in these different local groups and like bundle resources create a unified platform on which we can amplify all the amazing work that they’re doing and connect to the international index with all the other national virus or future groups that are out there. So how big is Fridays for Future in the US so Fridays for Future U.S. is so because of the way that Fridays for Future like came and came to be and kind of swept across the globe pricing future is a lot larger in Europe. And I actually got started with Fridays for Future when I was going to university in Berlin.

And that’s where I got hooked on Fridays for Future organizing in the summer of 2018 Whenever it kind of like swept across Europe. And then whenever I moved to the US in 2020, I was like I you know completely obviously wanted to keep organizing Fridays for Future U.S. And it was right after COVID hit and a lot of a lot of organizing and protesting and all the the stuff that kind of lived off of bus being on the streets meeting, you know, to plan and doing all kinds of workshops and all these different things that were really built around community. Right when the entire world kind of everybody went into isolation, it all kind of went on pause.

And then when COVID ended up taking a lot longer than I think than most people expected it to the question really became how do we pivot to a lot more online organizing? What can we do that doesn’t require us to be in person out on the streets and stuff like that. And so from there, it really became basically an entirely new iteration at least within for at least in price featured us I don’t I know that other other fights future groups also kind of struggled with this. But I can’t speak to how it was in other countries. But at least within the US. The basically we set up an entirely new iteration of Fridays for Future us at the end starting the end of 2020.

And yeah, since then it’s really grown. We I don’t even have a count right now because we are literally adding local groups so fast. It’s incredible. So we’re now I think somewhere close to around 50 local groups. And the size completely varies. Sometimes it is an individual person bringing that message to the community and being that person to put up their hand to be like, Okay, everybody who wants to work on climate change, let’s meet over here. And then other groups and other cities. We’ve got 1000s of people, at least that come to the protests, right?

How many of those are organizers is always a little fluctuant. But yeah, anywhere from from a single organizers to to massive groups within the US. That’s great. Well, it’s an amazing story. Maybe Darya, you can tell us a little bit, give the listeners a little bit of the background for those of us who may be less than familiar with Fridays for Future, how it started, and how it’s grown. Yeah, so I’m in Europe, it started in 2018, as Ken just told you, and it was also like, I think, the end of 2018.

And the beginning of 2019. We had those like huge strikes where we had, I don’t know, sometimes even millions of people on the streets. And that was like massive. And that was really, as Kat said, it was like a wave of like, kind of pulling so many people, and especially young people, and it felt like it was really present. And also in Germany, for example. Politicians talked about it a lot, partly because they were angry.

They were angry because children were skipping school, and all of that. So we had that discussion going on. But our main achievement was that people were talking about climate change again and about the climate crisis. And it’s understandable that so many young people are angry about the government and it’s kind of a policy. So that was this huge moment.

And then of course, we had to pandemic and we had to look for new ways to how to continue. Because we couldn’t do those strikes anymore, obviously. And we did a lot of like online work. We tried to stay connected or to connect to new groups do a lot of like educational work, and found creative ways for different forms of actions and protests.

Well, it’s amazing the work that has been done and the phenomenal success that the group has had. We’ll be right back in just one minute you’re listening to A Climate Change and I’ve got two amazing guests on the program from Fridays for Future Kat Maier and Darya Sotoodeh. We’ll be back in just one minute.

You’re listening to A Climate Change. I’ve got two amazing guests on the program Fridays for Future’s Kat and Darya, we were just talking before the break about the genesis of the organization and maybe you could tell us a little bit about your thoughts as to structure and theories of change that your organization teaches and talks about to its members.

Sure, I’m happy to jump in on this point because this is something that I think about and talk about quite a bit in the in the organizing work that I do. And I think kind of what led to Fridays for Future becoming such a massive thing so fast and such an international force that as we were saying earlier just really was like this massive wave that swept over first Europe and then the rest of the world was really that really simple rallying cry of just like just speak up grab a sign literally out of your recycle out of your trash write your message on there and then like go sit in front of the parliament building or have dinner table conversations with your parents start asking questions right talk to your friends about things and it was there was no like massive kind of barrier to entry into into the movement and into doing something there was no like official entity right?

That was like You are now officially Fridays for Future there is there is no like legal entity, there’s no headquarters, there’s no staff, there’s no head honcho, we are all fighting for future, right. There’s base values that we that we all believe in. But outside of that there’s no like official stamps or anything like that. Even with an international, like fast food, you’re international isn’t a separate body. It is just a network of all the different national and local groups.

And so really, I think what what empowered so many people to take this up was the fact that it was just a super simple cry. And it was never intention to kind of become, you know, the next big international use network, right, there was no strategic plan, there’s no, you know, there’s no board of advisors or anything like that, that really just came out of a sense of desperation and the need to call for change.

And I think kind of really having those super simple, super low barriers of entry, especially to do like a lot of things that we’re not, right, like a lot of organizations that work in this space, do a lot of arrest stubbles, and kind of where the theory of change behind there is disruption. And while we fully like we do need to disrupt the norm, we need to change the status quo.

There’s different ways of going about that. And one of the niches that Fridays for Future fills, not to say any of them are right or wrong. But one of the niches that Fridays for Future fills within this broader movement is having that space that encourages everybody to get involved. So most of the actions don’t require, you know, getting arrested or you know, any kind of putting your body on the line or something like that, it really is about changing the way that we think and thus act in everyday life. So the basic aim in the end is mass mobilization, but not really mass mobilization onto the streets, we need to be there to to get our message out.

But the main goal is to mass mobilize people across the world to make changes in the systems that they’re already in. Right where you are right? Look around yourself with open eyes. What are the decisions that other people are making around you? What are decisions that you disagree with? Or what are things that we could be doing differently? What are things that you can do differently in your own life, but not in the sense of individual action? Right?

What are the things that you could change if enough people got together to change things society is we decide how we live together society. It’s not like the laws of physics, right? And so when enough of us get together and like actually, I think we should be doing this thing differently than we totally can. And that kind of fundamental societal shift of having active being active participants in our society and being aware of the consequences of our actions in whichever way shape or form environment and climate is completely one of them, but being very active in our in our society and caring about those around you think that is the fundamental shift and societal change in the societal norm that Fridays for Future is trying to enact.

Well, I certainly can relate to that. And I feel like I probably sat on the sidelines too long is our climate, and our political system was going in the wrong direction on this. And I think it was, in 2016, when President Trump was elected, and his kind of complete disregard of climate change kind of woke me up and said, Okay, you know, we cannot sit on the sidelines any longer, I can’t sit on the sidelines any longer, I’ve got to stand up and start doing something and so little by little became more engaged in this movement.

So what brought you in Darya to the movement? What was kind of your story, what made you get up off your seat and say, Hey, this is the time I’m gonna do something.

Basically, I’ve always wanted to be politically active. But it just took me a lot of time to get started, because I couldn’t really decide on which group I wanted to be part of. And because there are so many groups and movements, and yeah, and then actually, the funny thing is, I actually got more involved with Friday’s with future right at the beginning of the pandemic. So with the first shutdown, I was like, Okay, now, it’s maybe the time to do those things that I kind of, always, that I always wanted to do.

And then my local group just had had an online meeting, they offered an online meeting for people who were interested in becoming part of the group. And I just participated, and they were really nice. And then I got started and everything went super fast. Like we had weekly meetings. And for two or three months, I only knew everyone online, but we still got to work each other really well. And I was so impressed by the amount of ideas that people had actions of, like the global strike back then kind of suddenly had to be an online strike.

And they were having a steal, like so many who were painting posters, and we had like workshops. And, yeah, so that’s how I got started with a great story. I mean, I think that just jumping in and taking that first step to go to a meeting. And then after going to a meeting, getting inspired and taking the next step and the next step.

So you don’t have to have a master plan. And I totally love the organic nature of Fridays for Future in not having a strategic plan and just being organic. So I’m a bit of a Taoist. So in Taoism, there’s kind of no plan, either. But so without the plan, where where’s the Spirit leading all of you next, have any ideas I’d love to join here, I think, you know, not having a strategic plan from the beginning on like a grand master plan is definitely true. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t like strategic moves and like strategic, you know, kind of questions about what campaigns to engage in, and how best to go about it, go about them.

But kind of the way that the organization came together and grew was very much organic. And also just real quick to echo completely what you were saying about getting involved first, it’s like not, like, take that first step, there is no way that you can plan out your activism journey, there’s so much that you don’t even know that you don’t know, right, and so many engaged, like ways to get engaged.

Whenever I first started with activism, I literally never, ever could have imagined doing what I do now. And I didn’t even know that these jobs like this kind of activism, and not to mention these jobs that exist within this kind of world, that they even exist.

So I just wanted to echo that, that just like take that first step, connect with people, grab your first sign, go to your first rally, and then you will be 10 steps further for you even know what hit you. And also just like, you know, there’s no need to be a climate expert or anything like that to engage. We are all figuring as we go it all changing really fast. It’s all just about engaging. And then And then, you know, you’ll move on before you even know it.

So, Rick, he wanted to echo that. But in terms of where the movement is going, I do think that Fridays for Future has really changed a lot. And it’s because it started with the whole like the youth calling on those in positions of power to wake up and create use their positions to create change. And that I mean, we kind of like you started that in 2018 but right that stands on the shoulders of environmental activists for decades. Is decades before us.

And the thing is that just like, even though we’re even just within those few years since 2018, we’re not seeing nearly enough action. And now as this movement grows, as we start pulling, keep connecting to other networks, and are starting to build our own resources, and and we also within the movement are getting older, we are moving ever more towards, like finding our inroads into these positions of powers into the rooms to the table.

So we’re not standing on the outside as much anymore being like, hey, you have to change. But we’re like, okay, if you’re not going to do if you’re not going to enact the change, if you’re not going to change, then move out of the way or lead us into the room. And we’ll just have to do it. So I think that’s kind of really where the movement is headed evermore right now is is taking is going from the strikes where we’re, I think we will always be a strike organization.

But using those the strikes kind of as basically one really powerful tool, but still one tool within a broader toolkit. So now figuring out how we move beyond striking that striking are strategic tools that we use in broader campaigns in order to enact that change that we’ve been calling for for so long. Well, I think that’s a brilliant move and getting people involved to take the next step to say,” okay, well get on the water board or get on the air quality board, get on the City Council or the state legislature or wherever it is that you are in that process,” you can engage and you can have a voice and don’t kind of be a victim to the situation, use your ability to get on there and make change happen.

Because, yeah, it’s it’s sometimes important to protest, but executing on these ideas. And being like you said in the room is Well, I think it’s a line from Hamilton in the room where it happens or something like that. Right, isn’t it?

Darya, that may be musical that you’re not familiar with on the other side of the Atlantic? I don’t know. But we’ll be coming back and we’ll ask Darya about Hamilton and which what’s your favorite song right after the break?

You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host. And I’ve got two great participants at Fridays for Future on the program, Darya, and Kat and we were just talking about Hamilton. And Hamilton’s not only a great musical, but I think it’s a kind of a great model of 17th century, I guess it was 18th century change of one of our great political leaders, Alexander Hamilton, he kind of came out of nowhere, he, you know, had a very limited family structure and came to the US with nothing and became a huge player in our system.

I think that’s what we’re calling kind of on everybody to do. Like you can do your part, he jumped in with both feet and said, Hey, I want to be a part of this. And he did it. And I think that’s the kind of spirit that we’re talking about is is jump in and just start doing.

So tell us a little bit about your journey, Kat as to what were the next steps, you kind of gave a few things that you’re talking about the organization doing? Is there anything else that you know, the audience should know about? And also how they can jump in and work with your group or, you know, touch base with other groups?

Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that you were saying is about, like, if everybody is active and takes, you know, a few steps around them, then less people have to do a lot of steps. So I know sometimes it feels daunting when we say like take that first step before you know it, you’ll be like so far, like it doesn’t mean that one has to like spend their entire evenings right on Zoom calls and organizing these strikes and basically taking on an unpaid 40-hour job.

All right, but the point being that everybody just does a little bit around them. And it’s just consider it and you know, lives decently with consideration for those around them and the consequences of their actions. Then we collectively as a society, create that change and create the world in which we all want to live. It’s fully fully possible for us to create a society in which I would even say everybody can can live comfortably.

That you know, requires us all to be active because as you were saying earlier about sitting on the sidelines and then that if enough of a sit on the sidelines and feel like we are unable to affect change, then that leaves the space open for those people to take advantage of the situation that everybody is kind of like, you know, passive hands off to step in, and then, you know, take on and take over do these things.

And that’s what we see a lot in like the fossil fuel industry, as you were saying when how President Trump got elected, because there were so many of us that just were like, What can I change? I’m just one individual person, like, I don’t need to go vote, what does my voice matter, right? I don’t need to go like I’m too busy, I don’t want to go sit on, you know, the school board, I don’t have time to go look up what my gov stands for, right. And all these things add up to really leaving the door open to these other actors coming in and us not having this this world.

And then like that we all want to live in and then just standing there shaking our heads, right at the systems that have that that we have allowed to happen. So it sounds maybe sounds a little meta and abstract, but basically saying, like looking around with open eyes, and really breaking down that that narrative of individual isolation. So that whole concept of like, you are just not even a cog in the machine, what you do doesn’t matter.

And that whole narrative was very intentionally crafted by the fossil fuel industry in the affiliated industries. Like the for instance, the whole, like, the carbon footprint was literally a concept thought of by BP. And if you look back into the internal documents, it’s literally something that they were like, Okay, how do we distract from the fact that we are causing climate change what we don’t want anybody to know about it? So how can we make it so that people feel responsible for it, but also enable to counter this massive system? So they just give up? They’re like, Well, what choice do I have?

So I’m going to keep consuming fossil fuels, because I can’t make a change anyway, but I’m gonna feel bad about it and calculate my carbon footprint, and not fly even though that’s going to be a drop in the bucket, right? That entire paradoxical situation. And that narrative was intentionally crafted. And we can break that by making just action and stepping up and talking to each other and breaking the cycle of silence and all these things that seems so small, having dinner table conversations, talking with our friends, so that it becomes normal to talk about climate change, and the Eco anxiety and these things that words that when you bring them up, they make you sounds like some leftist radical, right?

That is how we create that change. And it’s so hard to grasp. And it’s you can’t measure it and like you can maybe count the number of people that come to a strike. But that is like the tip of the iceberg. Right? What what creates change is these conversations is seeing that my friends really actually care about this thing.

And the reason that we never talked about it is because we all thought the other person thought we would be weird if we said that we’re really scared about our future, right? But we are now seeing that it is okay. Like eco anxiety was the word of the year last year, because it suddenly became Okay, enough of us spoke up that enough of us were like, hey, oh, my goodness, I’m not the only one that feels that way we can talk about that stuff, right.

And that is the incremental change that has to happen and how we slowly shift the fabric of our society. And that is unfortunately not measured in some sort of key performance indexes and KPI, indexes and stuff like that. But that is that is the fundamental action that everybody can take.

 

Well, absolutely. And it’s being an active citizen. And being an active citizen requires a lot. I mean, quite frankly, it has its challenges, you have to kind of read up a bit about the environmental problems so that you can talk about it, you know, with some degree of you no authority.

And I know from my experience, it took a while to kind of start to wrap my arms around the problem. I remember printing off the IPCC report, and it was like this massive document and, you know, seeing that there were hundreds and 1000s of studies regarding the climate, and it can be a bit overwhelming. But I think you just start reading a little bit every day.

We all have our news feeds, and you start reading about these things. And then talking about it and sharing it with friends and family and talking to governmental officials and saying, Hey, we need to change this. We need to reduce our waste. There are ways to do this. And you know, it’s exciting. There are a lot of there’s a lot of great work being done. I’ve had Senator Ben Allen, who was a California State Senator here on the program, and he was the leader on reducing plastic single use plastic waste here in California.

I think it’s one of the world leading programs that is happening. And I think we have these types of things happening around the world and we need to look, look out there like you were saying find them support those leaders that are doing the right thing and give them our attention, give them our work or money, whatever it is that we have, we can engage and we can we can push things forward. So

Wanna tell us a little bit more on the front in Germany, besides the major strike at the coal plant, which caused a lot of worldwide attention, I saw you quoted in a number of different papers and publications. Congrats on that. But what’s next for, for you there in Germany and the organization?

Cat mentioned some very important and crucial points. And I would agree with that. And I think that we tried to work on that as well. So our aim is to unite as many parts of society as possible. And for No, of course, the other side is that we have like, people who are really kind of critical, and they like, they’re kind of don’t agree with us, or they think that we don’t see their struggles, especially, for example, workers and coal companies or other parts of the industry.

And we, I think it’s really important to get in touch and to talk to each other and talk about our different perspectives. And that’s what we did recently, like for the last Global Strike, we were striking together with workers of the public transport and with a trade union. And we also get in touch with like other trade unions, which are more focused on like, purpose of the car industry, which are basically those who are kind of afraid of climate activism because they think that, well, they will lose their jobs, and no one cares, those narratives that are actually pushed by many politicians. And I think that’s like a key issue that we have to work on. And to say that, like, what we want is that every single human being has the chance to live in security.

And therefore, I think our power has always been to, to work together and to support each other, because that that’s what made us that strong. And so this is what we’re kind of going right now. And I’m looking forward to connect to people like workers and different parts of society. And to learn more about the other aspects of life that don’t know yet.

Well, that’s really important in order to understand the other side of any argument, the other side of any movement, so that you can work with them and ultimately persuade them is when you really understand as a great trial attorneys know that when they understand the other side of the case, that’s when you really can make your best case.

So just jump in real quick because the framing of them being on the other side is one that is that is one of the problems is that they’re not the other side where there’s not some other side to understand we’re not enemies or anything like that we are like all fighting on the same that is like one of the most like ways in which this entire fossil economy has been able to keep workers and participants and like citizens downs because they divide us, right?

They craft these narratives that pits us against each other where we feel like we it’s our fight or their fight, right and all these different things we’re in that’s not true. And so I think really countering that fundamental narrative of that there is the other side whenever it comes to like workers or or you know, not the water, I appreciate that correction Kat. Brilliant and thank you. And you know, it’s a very important point worth stating and restating that. It we’re all on the same team as far as saving the planet so we all have that interest.

So you’re listening to A Climate Change I’ve got two amazing young guests on the program, Fridays for Future, will be bright back in one minute.

You’re listening to A Climate Change this is Matt Matern, your host and I’ve got Fridays for Future Darya and Kat on the program, Kat Maier and Darya.

So today, Darya, tell us a little bit about how the war in Ukraine has affected your organization in terms of has it distracted, governmental officials from the problems of climate change has it helped them focus on the problems of climate change because of the fact that say Germany was so dependent on fossil fuels from Russia? Tell us a little bit about what’s been going on there. From your perspective.

First of all, it had different effects like the war, but at the beginning, it caused a lot of insecurity within society. And we and especially Germany, are really dependent or have been dependent on Russian gas. And that was like, actually, we knew that, and the government knew that. And they had been experts who had warned the government for years.

But yeah, nothing had happened. And then suddenly, there was this fear of like, okay, how can we get our energy supply in time, we don’t have the time to like, transition to renewable energies right now, because also that had been kind of neglected for too long. And that led to the government actually doing things that are kind of fueling the climate crisis, they went to other governments and bought gas and made contracts for like LNG imports, they well can work, for example, dealing with RWE, and negotiating about their coal mining, and a huge argument and this whole debate about Litsa had was that we need, there’s lignite that is below the village because of our energy security.

And that is something that at the beginning, convinced many people because they were afraid of they believe that. But in the end, they actually looked at United many people from society and different parts of society and brought them all together. And I think, also the war in Ukraine, it also showed the effect that had on Europe, it also showed that we cannot, you know, deal with every crisis, just on its own, that the crisis are connected to each other, and that the climate crisis is also connected to the war. And we have to find solutions that help in every part.

And we have those solutions, for example, renewable energies that kind of would have made us more independent, and also help consider concerning the climate crisis. And I think this is one of the other things that became really obvious through that word that we can support each other. And we also, like we are going to see huge protests to support your Ukrainian people, and work together and built this alliance.

And I think this is, well, maybe one of the few good outcomes of that situation, right? I mean, the old phrase, it’s an ill when that doesn’t blow any good. I mean, not obviously, is a tragic situation. But you hope that certain good things can come out of it at the end of the day.

And I’ve read articles that it might have sped up the change towards a carbon neutral society by as much as 10 years because of getting governments and individuals but particularly governments and corporations to start making changes regarding energy use and switching the types of fuels they’re going to use and things of that nature, Kat. What’s your comment on that?

Yeah, I think after so many decades of various activists and scientists and stuff like that warning of exactly something like this, the fact that it has to happen, like Why Why did this have to happen, there’s going to be so many other terrible things that happen, from the escalations that are going to happen through the climate change.

And also the I don’t like to call them natural disasters, because they’re not natural disasters, but right like hurricanes and tornadoes, stuff, like there’s going to be taking lives, that it takes these kinds of things happening to wake up the governments and the people in positions to make the changes. I think that’s really sad that had to come this far. Yeah, it’s certainly tragic that humans tend to wake up very quickly from their slumber.

And there’s a certain degree of unconsciousness and comfortability, we’ve kind of been lulled into sleep, by TV and music and all the media that we have that just entertains us mindlessly versus being awake to the problems that are in front of our face. So that’s one of the kind of systemic problems that I feel like we have and I quite frankly, think that young people are dealing with it in some ways.

In a more of a crisis state then then maybe my generation because we had less of that social media, we had less entertainment that could distract us from working on the problems that we had, it didn’t mean we did a better job. But we, we certainly had less distractions. Maybe the other flip side of it is you have more tools to bring people together more effectively than ever before.

Darya, what do you think?

Yeah. In general, that’s a difficult question like whether media and all the technical innovations that we had, rather help us or make everything more complex and difficult? I’d say it depends. But I definitely say that, especially in quite young movement, we, we learned how to use those tools, in order to well use the advantages that they have. And one crucial part of this, in my opinion, is to be connected on an international level. And that is something that I really appreciate, so that we can like talk to activists from all over the world.

See them, listen to them, and learn from them, especially as someone who lives in a global north, talking to activists who, Yeah, unfortunately had to kind of grow up with the consequences of the climate crisis, who are seeing those not natural.

But catastrophes and floods and droughts and everything in their everyday life. And to be connected to them and exchange have an exchange and work together is something that is really, really crucial for our work as an international movement. Yeah, and then also social media. It’s it’s a really complex topic, but I think it is, it can be used in a good way in order to like, unite many people and especially reach out to young people.

Yeah, and just real quick, that the youth kind of had to build all these like we’re having to build all these inroads and systems and figure kind of how to do all this on our own. So just kind of maybe a shout out that to the other two people listening this like rice repeater is a youth led group. But this is an intergenerational fight.

Like we’re we need all hands on deck. And it’s like the youth bring like untethered thinking and energy, but adults have resources and experience so if you are somebody that is in the room, open the door, there was an inroad help us learn what we need to what we need to learn and so that we don’t have to figure it out by ourselves and reinvent the wheel, but that we can all move a little bit more efficient so and faster.

So just wanted to give it a shout out that it’s maybe youth led that this is an intergenerational fight.

Absolutely. We are all in this together.

So it’s been great having both of you on the show. You know, Fridays for Future, you guys are doing great work. It’s such an exciting organization.

Darya Sotoodeh, spokesperson and activist in Germany, and Kat Maier, National Coordinator for the US for the organization. I think everybody should go out I got the book, the climate book by Greta Thunberg collection of essays, it’s a New York Times bestseller, and I again love her quote, “you’re never too small to make a difference.”

So I you know, one of the calls to action on our show is to have people get involved. And if you’re listening to this program, on the radio, or if you’re listening on the website of podcast, look at aclimate change.com We’ve had 100 guests on the program from policy people to activists like yourselves corporate folks that are creating new technologies to help us conquer this problem.

So check it out, go look at aclimatechange.com get engaged. Get engaged with your local groups, check out Fridays for Future and make that call just get on the line, talk to somebody get off, get off the sofa and get into action. That’s that’s the name of the game. Take that first step. And then the next one will become self evidence.

So again, thank you both Darya and Kat for being on the program. Thank you so much for having us. Thank you. It’s really this is Matt Matern, your host and tune in next week.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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