Global climate politics are in a wholly different dimension than they were four years ago—thanks largely to the grassroots movement, originally led by Fridays for Future.

By Paul Hockenos, The Nation

Greta Thunberg may be the face of the global climate justice movement, but Luisa Neubauer is its strategic mind and most articulate orator. Neubauer, a German climate activist with Fridays for Future, is a fierce adversary of the fossil fuel industry who regularly dismantles mealymouthed national officials on German talk shows.

Climate Movement

A 25-year-old geography student and Green Party member, Neubauer seems to be everywhere at once: in France protesting oil pipelines, in Brussels blasting EU backsliding on the Green Deal, on podcasts with climate scientists, launching new books, and appearing on endless Fridays for Future brainstormings and public Zoom conferences. “What’s so new and future-oriented about Neubauer,” said Peter Unfried, an editor at the leftist daily Tageszeitung, “is that she doesn’t allow herself to be reduced to a cultural identity, a milieu, a class, an ideology, or even a party—and this is precisely what constitutes her position of power and her enormous influence on the current political conversation.”

Neubauer, who always makes time for journalists, told me that despite the pandemic, the movement has grown and diversified. “Today there’s all generations, not just school kids, but also the churches, scientists, the LGBTQ+ movement, human rights advocates, and many more involved. Hence there is not and there shouldn’t be just one single plan of action,” she said, referring to the climate movement’s palette of hunger strikes, legal challenges, divestment campaigns, street blockages, and cities declaring climate emergencies. “Every new voice, every new group contributes something different, including new methods of resistance.”

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