Call for Action (English)
In favour of a climate- and nature-friendly and socially just way of life and economy: drastically reducing the consumption of energy and resources
A good life and a secure future are fundamental rights of all humans. So far, our way of life and economy have made this possible for many people, especially in the rich countries of the global North. However, their immense demand for resources and energy has been and continues to be at the expense of other people, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It leads to environmental destruction, species extinction and climate change, thereby jeopardizing our foundations of life.
Does a different use of energy and resources mean sacrifice? ...
Therefore, we must drastically reduce our consumption of materials and energy. Only then can we fulfil our global responsibility for a humane future. The changes associated with this are often equated with sacrifice, a term that is a taboo in our society. However, because of our way of life, we already sacrifice many things, including:
a climate in which
torrential rain, destructive storms, droughts, heatwaves, floods and landslides
are the exception rather than the rule
- social justice at the local, national and global level
- clean air, biodiversity and possibilities to enjoy nature
- a secure food and water supply for many people
- public spaces in our cities that are noise-free, safe and can be used for a
variety of purposes
- and through all this, we sacrifice a good life and a secure future for many people
We, the signatories of this paper, are not willing to tolerate these sacrifices and the further deterioration of the already alarming situation any longer.
... or initiating the necessary societal transformation?
Energy supply and consumption play a central role here. Energy is not only needed for electricity, heat and fuel; energy is contained in all the products we consume. The manner and extent of energy production and consumption have contributed substantially to climate change and to the endangerment of our livelihoods. Yet, the present efforts towards climate protection and the energy transformation are far from sufficient as they are mainly regarded as mere technological challenges. However, this falls short: We need to reduce our consumption of energy and resources and change our way of life and economy! Otherwise, climate protection and a socially and environmentally sustainable energy transformation will not be possible. We are primarily facing a social and cultural challenge!
Let’s start now
We therefore demand that all relevant decision-makers, especially the German federal and state governments, meet their responsibilities by finally taking effective measures against the threats to our livelihoods – and thus fulfil the international agreements for the protection of climate and biological diversity they have agreed to. In concrete terms, we expect:
The phasing out of fossil fuels and nuclear power, the preservation of familiar landscapes, a consistently high level of energy demand and unchanged consumption habits cannot be achieved simultaneously.
We demand: Acknowledge the necessity of saving resources and energy along with the associated consequences for our way of life and economic system. Promote the debate on how to harmonize climate protection, nature conservation and social concerns. Without honestly considering these issues, viable solutions for the future can’t be developed
2. Suitable framework conditions for a climate- and nature-friendly way of life
Too many obstacles hinder energy-conscious and sustainable behavior.
demand: Remove these obstacles.
Create framework conditions and structures for a climate- and nature-friendly
way of life and an economic system that supports this. Promote a significant
reduction in the consumption of energy, raw materials and goods in all areas of
society. This includes:
- reducing car traffic while promoting other modes of transport
- the elimination of subsidies that are harmful to the climate and nature
- the creation of a circular economy
- ensuring short travel distances through regional and urban planning
- a ban on products manufactured under socially and environmentally unacceptable conditions
- the introduction of mandatory and easy-to-understand product information about energy and resource consumption over the product’s entire life cycle
- the consideration of the legitimate interests of the people in Germany, especially of the socially vulnerable, but also of the people in other regions of the world, whom we burden with many negative consequences of our way of life
3. Use of all potentials to reduce energy consumption
Many potentials for reducing energy consumption remain unused.
We demand: Establish binding standards for saving energy and resources with a focus on those structures and behaviors that 1) require high resource and energy consumption and have a particularly negative impact on the climate and the natural environment and/or 2) can be easily changed.
4. The role model function of governmental agencies and public institutions
Governmental agencies and public institutions have a special responsibility to convey the necessary changes.
We demand: Support the role model function of these institutions through appropriate legal requirements and funding. This ranges from energy supply, public procurement, vehicle fleets, canteens and cafeterias to business travel regulations.
The time for changes is now
The Covid-19 pandemic shows how vulnerable societies around the world are. This vulnerability will grow as environmental destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated, confronting us with increasingly challenging and long-term problems. For this reason, economic stimulus packages, subsidies etc. must not be invested in "business as usual" but have to serve the creation of the abovementioned framework conditions for a climate- and nature-friendly way of life. The earlier and more effectively politics and society adopt the necessary measures to protect the environment, nature and climate, the less painful it will be in the future.
We are ready!
A future-oriented and nature-friendly use of energy and resources requires considerable changes, which some people will perceive as a sacrifice or burden. However, we are convinced that this will improve our overall quality of life. After all, the burdens and sacrifices resulting from climate change and the loss of biodiversity will be significantly higher than those associated with precautionary climate and nature conservation. We are therefore prepared to bear the consequences of our demands and to actively support the envisioned goals and measures.
In concrete terms, we will
- openly address and discuss the conflicts between different societal and individual interests as well as the contradictions between words and actions
- actively promote a nature-friendly energy transformation and climate protection
- actively support all policy decisions related to energy, climate, economy and nature conservation that promote socially just and energy-saving modes of production and consumption, even where they entail changes or additional cost
- support the urgently needed political changes of the legal, institutional and economic framework conditions
- and support all this through our personal behavior – for example, by choosing environmentally friendly means of transport wherever possible, by avoiding short-haul flights, by reducing our meat consumption and by giving preference in our purchasing behavior to products with a low ecological impact throughout their entire life cycle.