“Fridays for Future” in Spain: Little demand despite major problems

Status: 09/23/2022 2:06 p.m

Today there are again demonstrations worldwide for climate protection. In Europe, Spain is one of the hardest hit by the consequences of climate change. Nevertheless, the environmental movement is not really getting going again here after the pandemic.

By Milena Pieper, ARD Studio Madrid

“Climate change is killing,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in the summer during a visit to an area in the Extremadura region that was particularly hard hit by the forest fires. Heat waves, droughts, rising sea levels: Spain is struggling with the consequences of climate change. The environmental movement remains small and quiet compared to Germany.

Fridays for Future with 20 members

A handful of interested people came to the “Fridays for Future” get-to-know meeting in Madrid’s Retiro Park. The group is the largest in Spain, with just around 20 members.

Sofía believes that they have a harder time mobilizing people than their fellow campaigners in Germany: “Environmental protection is much more deeply rooted in German society than in Spain. That’s why it takes a lot more to get people involved in movements like “Fridays for Future “Join in and come to our demonstrations.”

One reason for this is the situation of the young people themselves, says sociologist Esteban Sánchez Moreno from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid: “Young people in Spain have problems finding a job. They have great problems finding an apartment and that leads to a number of problems that are much more pressing for them.”

In the wake of the pandemic, groups like Fridays for Future are having a particularly difficult time. The climate movement that grew before Corona has fallen asleep.

Working in local groups

Those who are committed to the climate often do so in local groups rather than networking across Spain. Mario recently moved to Madrid from Tenerife and is also attending the Fridays for Future gathering. In his home country, environmental protection was less about actions like the global climate strike: “We mainly deal with local problems on the island. At the moment we have a whole range of problems in the south of the island in Tenerife, where hotels and a sports facility are in to be built in a protected area.”

There are many small approaches that “Fridays for Future” wants to bring together into a large movement throughout Spain. “We’re here trying to bring them back to life,” says Sofía of the movement. The climate strike will also show whether this works.

Fridays for Future & Co – Why the climate movement in Spain is having a hard time

Milena Pieper, ARD Madrid, September 23, 2022 12:46 p.m

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