Berlin climate protesters brave icy weather and waters

Thousands of protesters have marched through the German capital in solidarity with the latest global climate strike. Demonstrators of all ages called on the German government to improve its climate policy.

Even the biting chill of Berlin’s already wintery fall weather wasn’t enough to hold protesters back on Friday as they took to the streets in their thousands to demand more action against climate change.

One group of students even plunged into the icy waters of the Spree River, holding up a white box in a symbolic attempt to rescue the government’s climate-change package.

The latest global climate strike comes just three days ahead of the COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid. People were set to march in 2,400 cities across 157 countries.

Read more: CO2 emissions gap: UN report warns of ‘collective failure to act’

United generations

At Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, protesters of all ages were out in force to make their voices heard. Strollers were lined up in rows, their tiny occupants hidden under placards; office workers bundled up as they “took an extended lunch break,”  while the familiar seasonal smell of mulled wine wafted over protesters from one well-prepared group of pensioners holding the poster “Grandmas for climate protection.”

Also very obviously present was the Fridays for Future Movement, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The German branch of the movement is behind thousands of German schoolchildren not going to lessons every Friday for almost a year.

Their demands include putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies, switching off a quarter of all coal-fired power stations and developing renewable sources to cover 100% of Germany’s energy needs by 2035.

Read more: Why religious narratives are crucial to tackling climate change

Placard reading: 'Grandad, what's a snowman?' (DW/K. Brady)A placard held by one 12-year-old protester reads: ‘Grandad, what’s a snowman?”‘

Worried about flying impact

A relative newcomer to the marches, 12-year-old Liv, was attending for the second time.

“I think that without Greta Thunberg, we wouldn’t have all been here striking. We learnt about climate change in school, but Greta opened our eyes,” she said. A homemade placard wobbled above her head: “Grandad, what’s a snowman?”

After learning more about climate change, Liv and her brother have now changed their family’s holiday plans. “My parents wanted us to visit my aunt in Australia, but my brother and I didn’t want to fly all that way because of the CO2 emissions.” Instead, the family is taking a vacation on Germany’s Baltic Coast.

Read more: Flight shame: Climate-conscious migrants face environmental dilemma

EDIT: The climate is not being changed by human activity – it’s the Sun stupid! Many times the Sun plasma spewing from the Sun has nearly reached the Arctic – melting much of the ice.