Generation Earth goes Climate strike: Interview with Fridays for future Vienna

Generation Earth goes Climate strike: Interview with Fridays for future Vienna

Fridays for future – We won’t stop being loud!

Following the example of Greta Thunberg, Fridays for Future Vienna organises climate strikes every Friday at Heldenplatz in Vienna. We met co-initiator and Generation Earth member Philipp Wilfinger for a talk.

For the first time, there will be a global climate strike happening on March 15 2019! Here hundreds of thousands of young people are expected in 270 cities worldwide – also in Vienna. Join the worldwide climate strike! For climate justice and a living planet – for us and all future generations! More information.

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Fridays for Future Vienna Philipp Wilfinger

Let’s start by getting to know the „story“ behind Philipp Wilfinger? How did everything start?

I grew up in a small village on the outskirts of Vienna. My parents taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature at an early age. I became really active for the first time when, as a child, me and my friends set up a signature list against a planned traffic project. Although it was a childish and rather unorganized project without the help of our parents, even the mayor welcomed us. This was probably my first “environmental project”. It was also at school where I saw the documentary “We Feed The World” for the first time. That shocked all of us in class at the time. In 2015, together with my sister, I decided to boycott Nestlé once and for all. But in the course of further research, I realized: There are a handful of other large corporations that are probably not much better. That motivated me to look for alternatives.

What led to the founding of Fridays for Future Vienna and organize climate strikes in Vienna?

In December 2018 I was the Austrian youth delegate at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland. There, however, the international decision-makers could only agree on minimal compromises. We were very disappointed. But then there was Greta Thunberg. The 15-year-old Swedish gave speeches at the conference that went around the world. We youth representatives at the Climate Change Conference all knew that we had to do something. So together with Katharina and Johannes, whom I met at the conference, I founded a Facebook page and organised the first Fridays For Future climate strike at Heldenplatz in Vienna. On Friday, February 22nd, we are already on strike for the 10th time, from 11:55 am to 2 pm. Everyone is welcome!

Fridays for future Vienna Group 1
Fridays for future Vienna Group 2

What have been your biggest successes with Fridays for Future so far?

At the first strike we were just under 60 young people, since then it’s been growing every Friday. Meanwhile many Austrian media have reported about our demos, even „Zeit im Bild“ has made a detailed report about us. It is important for us to emphasize that we are an independent organisation and do not belong to any other organization or group. We are the youth of this world who no longer want to see their livelihood destroyed. That is why we go out every Friday! On fridaysforfuture.at all current climate strikes can be found. On 15.03.2019 there will be a global climate strike, where hundreds of thousands of young people are expected in 270 cities worldwide – also in Vienna we mobilize what we can. Our goal is to finally get politics to act. Every climate strike increases the pressure on decision-makers to finally take environmental protection seriously.

Besides your role at Fridays for future, you are also an active member of Generation Earth and currently completing your Action Leader Training. What motivated you to become a part of Generation Earth?

A friend of mine told me about Generation Earth this summer and said: “There are a lot of great young people who are working for the environment – that would be just right for you!! So I signed up for the Action Leader Training last minute. I’m very happy that I listened to her advice. Generation Earth has become like a second family to me. We are a big community where you can learn and have fun at the same time. In summer 2019 I am organizing a 12-day “Riverwalk” as an action project for 20 young people along the Tiroler Lech, one of the last natural rivers in Austria. This will be an adventure!

What is it that you want to convey to young people? What is the impact that you would like to have with the interview?

Greta Thunberg said, “You are never too small to make a difference!” I want young people in Austria to become aware that they can change the world. We do not have to accept current social, economic and political situations, but can actively contribute to a world, in which we would rather live. The secret is to stay tuned, even if things don’t go fast enough. It is important to stand up for something, regardless of the outcome, because we know that it is the right thing to do.

What is your call to action?

We are facing a crisis that threatens our very existence. For decades, decision-makers have delayed effective climate policy measures and allowed countless valuable opportunities to elapse to effectively protect the environment. We no longer want to see our future put at risk. Now it’s our turn. Stand with us on 15.03.2019 and join the global climate strike! For climate justice and a living planet – for us and all future generations!

Fridays for future Vienna and Generation Earth

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