Who are the "Last Generation" and why are they causing so much attention and unrest?"

Who are the "Last Generation" and why are they causing so much attention and unrest?"

by Sarah Rauf -
Number of replies: 0

Many teenagers are frustrated. Researchers have been warning about the consequences of climate change for over 50 years, yet little has been done so far: international climate agreements fail, the 1.5-degree target seems hardly realistic - even though temperatures are rising worldwide. For this reason, more and more young people in Germany are gathering to demonstrate for climate protection. "Fridays for Future" is one of the most popular movements, but another one called "The Last Generation" is gaining more attraction and facing criticism. The "Last Generation" is a movement of activists demanding more climate protection from politics and society. The demands of the climate movement include:

  1. A drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through a transition to renewable energy and a decrease in energy consumption.
  2. A fair distribution of the burdens and costs of climate protection, particularly between industrialized and developing countries, as well as between different social classes.
  3. Compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  4. A fundamental transformation of the economic system from a system based on infinite growth and the exploitation of natural resources towards a more sustainable and just economy.
  5. Recognition of the climate crisis as an existential threat to humanity and all other species, as well as the implementation of measures to adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Source: https://www.ndr.de/kultur/Letzte-Generation-Meine-Sympathie-ist-mit-Aktivisten,letztegeneration112.html

Unlike Fridays for Future, The Last Generation protesters do not limit themselves to legal means like demonstrations to achieve their goals. Young people go on hunger strikes, "occupy" highways and airports, and they are notoriously known for throwing food at famous paintings to ultimately attract the attention of leaders and policymakers. However, the protesters are also facing a lot of criticism. 

Source: https://www.pasch-net.de/de/lernmaterial/stadt-leben/podcast-klimaaktivismus.html

Some people view their behavior as disruptive and unnecessary, while others believe that they pose a threat to public safety. Additionally, some critics argue that their demands are too radical and unrealistic, and that they do not take into account the economic and social complexities of transitioning to a more sustainable and just economy. Some have even called the activists "climate terrorists", a term that was chosen as the "Unwort des Jahres" (non-word of the year) in 2022 in Germany, as it equates young people with criminals. Nevertheless, climate activists are not terrorists. They have raised awareness about the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for immediate action. Furthermore, they have brought the issue of climate change to the forefront of public discourse and political agendas. Most importantly, the symbolism of the movement lays in that young people have, indeed, a powerful voice and can mobilize to make change.


[1] Podcast: Klimaaktivismus - Was darf Protest? (PASCH).  https://www.pasch-net.de/de/lernmaterial/stadt-leben/podcast-klimaaktivismus.html [10.04.2023]

[2] Die letzte Generation - Klimaaktivismus (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung) https://www.bpb.de/kurz-knapp/taegliche-dosis-politik/519246/die-letzte-generation-klimaaktivismus/ [10.04.2023]

[3] Letzte Generation. https://letztegeneration.de [07.04.2023]

[4] Laut Verfassungsschutz „Letzte Generation“ nicht extremistisch. (ZDF Heute). https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/politik/letzte-generation-verfassungsschutz-extremistisch-100.html [07.04.2023].