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NFI Annual Conference
NFI Annual Conference

Climate protection now – act before it is too late!

In the run-up to the World Climate Conference, Naturefriends International demands courageous and effective climate protection measures instead of vague promises at its Annual Conference on 23rd of October 2021.

With an increasing number of hot days and record-breaking temperatures, a massive increase in extreme weather events, and dramatic floods even in the centre of Europe the negative consequences of our lifestyle are now undeniable. After a brief, corona-induced breather, CO2 emissions are on the rise again. Political targets for climate protection are increasingly turning into empty promises due to the lack of effective measures.

Solidarity and consistent action against the climate crisis!
Solidarity was on everyone's lips, at least at the beginning of the pandemic. Young people were urged to act in solidarity to protect older and more vulnerable generations from infection. In the case of the climate crisis, it is the other way round: solidarity among older generations is needed to secure the future of our children and grandchildren.

When the pandemic began, concerted efforts were quickly undertaken to limit the spread of the virus and protect lives. Equally swift and united action is urgently needed in the fight against climate change. However, there is still a lack of willingness to make our lifestyles environmentally sustainable and fit for the future. "Climate protection light" is becoming the new credo of many politicians – a small CO2 tax here, a little more renewable energy there, perhaps e-mobility and building renovation. By now, almost everyone is aware that this will not be enough to limit climate change. A systemic change is needed, which at the same time brings many opportunities and benefits: comprehensive, climate-friendly mobility, healthy food, and greener cities are just a few examples of concrete improvements. But politicians' fear of losing votes through unpopular measures is all too often deeper-rooted than their readiness to take responsibility for a better future.

Hesitation on climate protection is not socially compatible!
In the context of climate protection measures, the slogan of "social compatibility" is often used. This is of course justified: Climate protection, like all other socially effective measures, must be designed to be socially compatible. But at the same time, we must also ask ourselves to what extent our current inaction and persistence in an unsustainable status quo are socially compatible. It has long been clear that low-income and disadvantaged groups suffer far more from the consequences of climate change – whether in the rich countries, or even more so in the Global South. There, societies are massively disadvantaged by our exploitative economic system and climate change is already destroying the livelihoods of millions.

"Let's act now, let's demand courageous measures from our politicians, let's question our own way of life and say goodbye to lethargy! We must not hand over our responsibility to the younger generation. It is not the young people who are OUR future, it is WE who, through our actions, shape the future of our children and grandchildren," says Manfred Pils, President of Naturefriends International, representing 43 member and partner organisations with around 350,000 individual members worldwide.

The Naturefriends movement has been committed to sustainable development since its foundation 126 years ago. Today, the issue of climate justice is at the heart of many regional and international activities. The Naturefriends Climate Fund, for example, supports solidarity-based climate protection projects implemented by African Naturefriends organisations that contribute to improving the living conditions of local people. Through its commitment to socially and environmentally acceptable tourism and its influence on political decision-making processes, the Naturefriends movement also makes a concrete contribution to the conservation of our natural resources and the equitable coexistence of all people.