They pelt expensive paintings with gruel and soup, film their actions and shout their political messages on the Internet. For weeks, actions like the recent attack on a EUR 110 million Monet painting have been escalating. They stick themselves to paintings, on walls and on street pavements and don’t want to leave.
But what are actions like these supposed to achieve? Who do they want to reach with these actions? How do they feel about these acts? What feelings do they want to trigger in others?
Questions like these inevitably lead into the assumption that the activists have a goal; not necessarily to destroy a painting. They want attention for a cause that should be close to all our hearts: climate protection.
This issue has been with people since the 1970s. It is far more complex than the self-proclaimed climate activists want to admit. Even if the „climate activist“ Luisa Neubauer thinks that anyone who is horrified by iconoclasm is not really in favor of climate protection. Unfortunately, this is simple-minded propaganda. The earth’s climate cannot be determined by the emissions of mankind alone. That is only a number, which covers the causes. Just like the number of people living on earth and the economic striving to satuate them all; with technology, industrial food, cars, lifestyle, … and also eco. All this has a price; environmental destruction and the disrespect of life.
Just twenty years ago, environmental protection was on the agenda of Greens worldwide. The protection of animals, plants, the environment. It was up for debate how cities worldwide could emit less, bring in more green. Not an easy thing to do with the green and the less gray in view of the rapidly growing number of people.
Interestingly, debates like this are primarily held in an ecologically regulated Germany where urban development has always been associated with green lungs; be it with the help of parks, avenues, recreational areas and allotment gardens. In super- and gigacities in Asia, on the American continents and Africa, the debates do not exist – and it is precisely in the parliaments of the cities on these continents that they should be carried; actions, protests, demonstrations, discussions.
Of course, in Germany there are the riverbeds set in concrete, the floods known for centuries, land erosion at the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, recently also in Germany raging forest fires, which are rather based on deliberately or unintentionally set arsons than on an alleged overheating of the temperate climate zone. Has any environmental activist ever thought of chaining himself to such a riverbed before a flood? How also, this could contribute to the extinction of the own life. Who would have what from it, except to transfer a guilt on others.
On the other side, the polar caps have been melting increasingly for more than 150 years, the Antarctic „Doomsday“ glacier is waiting for its great harbor cruise into the Atlantic, in addition to the increased onset of volcanism, earthquakes, methane releases in the Siberian tundra. All consequences for smoking chimneys and steaming cars? The reasons are various and can be looked for in the deeper past when the earth experienced a heat push; approx. 16,000 to 12,000 years ago. Here we can also analyze the phenomena we are experiencing today; greenhouse effects, increased volcanism, floods, sinking land masses and islands, rising seas, storms. The people of that time had to live with the new circumstances that arose, nor did they glue themselves to the elaborately painted cave walls of Lascaux with resin and bone glue. There were also no demonstrations during the climate push in the Middle Ages that turned into „thumbes umbherlaufen“ and a „forsa“ blown out of the back exits of the demonstrators – at least the medieval „demos“ were not about protecting the climate, but rather about hunger walks and a rebellion against the authorities. With hysteria also cavemen, like medieval and today’s people, achieved nothing. Except to be calmed down in an arrest. Of course, what today’s climate activists cause is measured with value. And this value is quantified with numbers. Who destroys a valuable and unique painting of Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet must pay the bill for the cleaning and restoration. And so the self-proclaimed climate activists make it very easy and at the same time very difficult for themselves. Instead of actually becoming active, getting involved locally, or even worldwide in animal protection organizations and environmental protection associations, and actually forming a lobby for the silent and the weak – animals affected by extinction and mass farming, as well as human economic victims – they take offense at defenseless paintings, objects, sculptures and streets. With the consequence that this escalation stage causes the next one and the trouble really starts. Seen in this light, environmental protection, insofar as this protection lies in the interests of the Internet- and smartphone-loving representatives of the self-proclaimed Generation Z, backfires. Because they too are victims of channeled information and information clashes. They don’t know any more than others who have to swim along in this economic self-propelling, we can also call it madness, in order to be able to pay for their apartment, keep it warm, satisfy their own and their children’s hunger, and at least mentally settle into a hammock called leisure activity, which often enough ends up in front of the television. Now Generation Z has to ask itself whether it is not creating even more victims with its activities. So far, the young and committed people are pillorying themselves with their helpless actions.