8600 Tracker laid off this week the Berlin traffic. On one hung, a reporter of the "Berliner Morgenpost", a banner with the inscription: "May my child still be a farmer?".
I think that's a remarkable question, in many ways. Once, because the child may not want to be a farmer (or farmer's wife). On the other hand, because this question suggests: If we can not continue to destroy the habitats for insects and fertilize with too much nitrogen, my child can no longer become a farmer.
Six billion in subsidies
The opposite is true: if the wild bees are gone one day, it will also cause one or the other problem for farmers. The same applies to polluted groundwater. And if in Germany in 30 or 40 years, a completely different climate prevails than today, with much more extreme weather events from drought to hail storm, then it is also difficult with agriculture. It has already become 1.5 degrees warmer with us. Also and especially the farmers should have an interest in that we change our way of life lasting.
Environmental regulations, even if they have nothing superficially to do with the climate, are not an end in themselves. They serve the preservation of our livelihoods, also the bases of agriculture. Part of the regulations that the Federal Government wants to implement now are based on EU regulations; if no action is taken, penalties are threatened. As a reminder, the EU spends 58 billion euros annually on agricultural subsidies, more than six billion of them land in Germany. The EU is not a nasty bureaucracy that harasses farmers.
Who is radical?
The Protestant peasants, unlike, for example, the activists of Extinction Rebellion, call nobody radically. The position is to refuse to comply with EU rules that reduce the use of toxic substances, indeed quite extreme.
Both farmers and climate activists use the same form of protest: They paralyze road traffic, preferably in the federal capital. But every time Extinction Rebellion or Fridays for Future, like this Friday, does the same thing as the peasants this week, some commentator or politician once again fables that this will eventually end with violence.
Personally, I find part of Extinction Rebellion quite problematic, and its co-founder Roger Hallam an ill-advised persuador who does more harm than good to the cause of the climate movement.
It is also a mistake if climate activists, if only out of pragmatism, ally with left-wing extremists, who would like to bring down the first "The System", or even question democracy, because it is said that the global climate is not save. We have to rebuild, not destroy, the social market economy.
Further poisoning as before
But that blockades of people who want to save the planet are routinely interpreted as a problematic and potential precursor to violence, while traffic blockades of people who want to go on poisoning as before, treated as a protest worth protesting, I do not light. Incidentally, climate clones are, of course, by orders of magnitude more people and, more importantly, a truly international, even global, phenomenon. Frills for Future is the first decentralized global non-governmental organization, and that gives hope.
By the way, parts of the still very nationally thinking peasants, who paralyzed traffic with their tractors in Hamburg and Berlin, have in their turn connections to radical positions - only from another, very problematic direction.
Video: Bauer on Rügen - "We operate in generations"
Thus, the AfD shares the demands of the farmers completely. She tries, because the hatred of refugees does not seem to draw so much now to develop into a kind of anti-environmental party. The organizers of the farmers' protests, on the other hand, are people who also like to pick up the narratives by which climate change deniers constantly seek to see doubts about man's guilt in the climate crisis.
Arguments from the pool of climate change deniers
As the "taz" has shown in recent weeks, the initiative "Land creates connection" is not just an independent grassroots movement outraged farmers, but maintains close ties to the Farmers Association Schleswig-Holstein. Although he does not deny man-made climate change, he quotes someone on Facebook as saying that the CO2 concentration follows the trend in temperature, not the other way round - a scientifically discredited position.
It is then claimed that agriculture has "the best leverage" for keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere, and that's just nonsense. Above all, it is necessary to convert our energy supply from CO2 production to renewable energy, and indeed nationwide. Agriculture itself, if one calculates correctly, at the moment contributes 14 percent to the German CO2 budget, one believes calculations of the Thünen Institute, a research institution of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. Another way of doing business could change that.
STPP / imago images
Demonstration sign on the farmer demonstration on 26.11.2019 in Berlin
"Betrayed by democracy"?
Also peculiar were the comments of some of the protesters this week in Berlin. On a tractor hung a banner with the inscription "Free peasants - betrayed by democracy", on another one with the sentence "Politics is dead". One involuntarily thinks of Roger Hallam, who sometimes calls democracy into question when it comes to the climate. Only that the democracy critical poison fans should feel in doubt rather at the AfD at home.
This new target group of right-wing radicals may be much smaller than expected. According to the Farmers' Association, there are almost 270,000 farms in Germany, and the number has been shrinking for many years. How many of the German farmers are behind the 8600 tractors that drove through Berlin, but is completely unclear. Many peasants, as well as the Union parties, may have long ago realized that the destruction of ecosystems and the pollution of groundwater will in the long run also harm agriculture itself. And that the friends of sustainability are not their enemies.
The desire to keep the planet alive is neither right nor left. Likewise, nothing is "conservative" about the requirement to continue harming ecosystems. It does not preserve anything - except an economy that will lead us all into the abyss.