Talk!

A good friend of mine told me about a birthday. A women’s round in Prenzlauer Berg in August. Everyone reported about their holidays and everyone, all but my friend flew. I asked her if she had said anything. The answer was, “No, they would never invite me again.”

The comic artist Ralf Ruthe reports on Twitter about similar situations:

On Sunday I was in a park with the twins and our new AuPair Laura. When it started to rain, we “saved” ourselves on a beer bench under a large gastro umbrella, along with approx. 10 other people. It was raining for quite a while and somehow it was quite cozy with this small, randomly thrown group of people. A small cross-section of society, a friendly, protected mini-world. They smiled and mumbled their quickly bought fries.

Ralph Ruthe (@ralphruthe) September 13, 2019

He describes a scene in which he wanted to tell a Colombian woman whether it is raining often in Germany for such a long time. He talked about climate change and all the conversations around him came to a standstill. Silence, isolation, ignorance. A second scene he describes is a meal with many people, one of whom went into the climate discussion with racist arguments. Again: silence.

These two experiences were like a slap in the neck for me. I am shocked at how little the climate crisis seems to be being communicated outside the front pages of magazines and news pages. I am horrified when I imagine that there is no talk about it at kitchen tables, in company canteens and in office coffee kitchens, because people may be afraid that it will break the cosy atmosphere – although that is exactly what is absolutely necessary.

Ralph Ruthe (@ralphruthe) September 13, 2019

I have had similar experiences in a discussion about a class trip, where one option was an air trip to Naples and a train trip to the Baltic Sea. Declared goal of the students: Hang out on the beach. Most parents in the class did not understand the problem of air travel or did not take it serious (the plane will go anyway). Only one mother indirectly supported me in the discussion at the parents’ evening. The discussion then continued by email and took on epic proportions. It culminated in an email in which a father said that it wouldn’t be so bad if a few million people bit the dust, there would be too many anyway.

Yes, FridaysForFuture is destroying this nice world where no one is getting too close to the other. Young people question our everyday lives. Suddenly, as an adult, you have to ask yourself whether it’s ok to go on holiday by plane every year. Or for a weekend in Paris/London/Tallin. Or even more crazy: from Berlin to Frankfurt or Stuttgart. And yes, we need to talk about it. We have to get out of the filter bubble. If it happens more often, it also becomes more normal, the group of those who know increases and the risk of social ostracism decreases.

Talk!

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