The students not only discussed, but also worked artistically and handicrafts. Here, a colorful stele with encouraging thoughts is created. It will soon be on the monastery grounds. © Pröhl
How is climate-neutral living possible? This question was the focus of a youth conference at the Centre for Environment and Culture (ZUK), which was attended by 32 pupils from the area between Rosenheim and the Allgäu. They are ambassadors of their schools. They want to take numerous ideas with them and implement them in their families.
Benediktbeuern – The youth conference took place from Wednesday to Friday in cooperation with the Catholic Foundation University (KSH) and the Energiewende Oberland at the Benediktbeuern Monastery. The workshops and discussion rounds were accompanied by Doris Linke, Head of the "Education" department at ZUK, and education officer Andrew Blackwell together with students from KSH. On Thursday there was a discussion evening in which Jakob Koch (member of the district council and state parliament candidate of the Greens) as well as representatives of "Fridays for Future", the environmental protection organization BUND and the Ministry of the Environment took part.
"Over the past few days, we have been dealing with the question of how we can live in the future without destroying our foundations," reported Doris Linke. For this purpose, artistic and handicraft work was also carried out in nature. Visitors to the monastery will soon see a colorful stele on which the participants summed up their encouraging thoughts for the future.
Benjamin: "The climate targets have been overslept in recent years"
In any case, they are motivated to the tips of their fingers. This became clear at a press conference in which pupils from the participating institutions, but also a student and a young man who is completing a Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ) in the monastery, reported on their experiences at the conference. It was agreed that it is not only personal commitment that matters, but also politics. "We need different rules of the game," said Benjamin (FÖJ). "We are not to blame for the current situation, but the climate targets have been overslept in recent years. The oil companies had far too much power." Student Hanna's interest in politics was awakened: "During Jakob Koch's discussion, I learned that our generation must get involved in the ongoing discussions."
Something is already being done for climate protection at every school. Valeria from the Fugger-Gymnasium in Augsburg, for example, reported that her school has, among other things, an apiary and a working group on fair trade. Others have "environmental managers" who are thematically engaged, for example for a veggie day in the school canteen. Some new ideas emerged at the conference. Briana from the Maria-Ward-Realschule in Mindelheim wants to try to get every graduating class to plant a fruit tree on the school grounds.
For many, climate protection begins on the plate
And what does each individual do to protect the environment? For many, climate protection starts with food, they are vegetarians or vegans. Matthias wants to try to produce less packaging waste, Valeria now wants to visit a zero-waste shop. Others reported that their parents had installed photovoltaic systems on the roof of their houses or had an electric car. However: "There are already discussions between the generations," said Sophia from Penzberg, when Siri said: "I want to convert my family to live vegetarian."
Briana: "Mobile phones should have replaceable batteries again"
The topic of media consumption was also discussed. "It would be good if the phones had replaceable batteries again," Briana said. Two students from the Gymnasium Penzberg reported on critical discussions when blackboards were replaced by boards at the facility. "They light up all the time," Emma criticized. Quirin from FOS/BOS in Rosenheim reported on the difficult decisions that one sometimes faces: "When my mobile phone display was broken, the repair would have cost 600 euros. Of course, you think about buying a new one." The students would like to see stricter rules for more sustainability from politicians. "The fact that the EU has decided that there must be uniform charging cables is good," said Benjamin.
Controversy over the "Last Generation"
Young adults are also following current politics. "I understand the criticism of the Heat Pump Act," said Matthias. "They're expensive. A lot of people don't have that much money. There is a need for much more funding, which should be easier to obtain." The activities of the "Last Generation" were controversial among the young people. "They already have a lot of right thoughts," said Matthias with a view to their goals, "but they only achieve with the actions that they turn people against them." Benjamin felt that the media should not report so much on the effects of the actions, but much more on their goals.
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