While Fridays used to primarily mark the beginning of the weekend, for several years now they have been clearly characterized by protest and activism - triggered by the Fridays For Future social movement. We spoke to 23-year-old Leonie Bremer, climate protection activist and press spokeswoman for FFF Germany, for an interview about water protection, activism and protests in times of the pandemic. She tells us about MAPA activists: MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas) are people from areas most affected by the climate crisis, which at the same time are least responsible for the climate crisis.
Surname: Leonie Bremer
Age: 23 years
Profession: activist, student
First a few questions about the warm-up:
Protest sign or megaphone?
Offline or online demo?
Street protest in front of the Bundestag or tree house in Danni?
So, let's go dear Leonie! Our UN World Water Day campaign is titled “WE CAN'T BELIEVE WE STILL HAVE TO PROTEST THIS SHIT”. Who is your biggest activist role model? With whom would you like to protest together?
My biggest activist role models in Germany are my best friends Karla Wiegmann, Line Niedeggen and Carla Reemtsma. When we protest together, it's the greatest and nicest feeling for me. My biggest activist role models internationally are all 14 MAPA activists from the Climate Justice League, with whom I work many hours every day.
- Salsabila Khairunisa, Jeda untuk Iklim, Indonesia;
- Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines;
- Laura Veronica Muñoz, Viernes por el Futuro Colombia;
- Nicki Becker, Jóvenes por el Clima Argentina;
- Ayisha Siddiqa, Polluters Out, USA;
- Sofía Gutiérrez, Viernes por el Futuro Colombia;
- Dominique Palmer, England, UK;
- Hilda Nakabuye, Fridays for Future Uganda;
- Hyally Carvalho, Engajamundo, Brazil;
- Fatemah Sultan, Fridays For Future Pakistan;
- Bianca Castro, Fridays for Future Portugal;
- Jon Bonifacio, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines;
- Simon, Fridays for Future Sweden;
- Maria Reyes, Fridays for Future Mexico.
You have been fighting with Fridays For Future for climate protection and compliance with the 1.5 degree target since 2018: What is the goal of your movement and what are your most important achievements so far?
The goal is justice. That means a world where every person has equal rights and the Global North never again exploits other countries just for their own profit. In Germany, too, it is high time to abolish positions of power and to make politics in the interests of the citizens so that future generations have the same resources as are available to the current generation. But globally, this problem has long been much greater and in many countries that are already living under the effects of the climate crisis at this very second, global warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius has long been hell. That is why the fights for climate justice in MAPA (most affected people and areas) must be supported and shown solidarity. The new system must be built on many more perspectives and the basis for this must be the marginalized.
What is your vision for the future of FFF?
A just world. Every person has the same rights.
For the past two years, you've been taking to the streets together. What is your biggest personal motivation to keep going every day?
MAPA is my motivation. Every day I work with people who inspire me and show me how much power you can have when you are organized and have the same goal.
You are part of the movement from the beginning. What is your greatest learning from this time?
Listening to MAPA, always reflecting yourself in the fight for justice and not taking yourself too seriously. It's a lot more complex than you think and you have to learn every day to survive the fight against humanity's greatest crisis. Fridays for Future Germany has to rethink a lot in order to use the privileges of this movement properly.
Due to the pandemic, major events and protests on the streets are currently not possible or only possible to a very limited extent. How can people still get active and loud?
Well, last year we showed how it's done. You have to organize yourself differently and try out other forms of protest and campaigning. This has a lot to do with trial and error - but as we can see, it works.
Some activists from FFF now want to go into politics and are running for the Bundestag this year. How do you see your personal future at and with FFF?
I continue to do politics - but not in the parliamentary way. For me, movement is the focus and, on top of that, initiating a new system. One with different values and justice. Parliament does not allow the existing structures to allow everyone to have the same rights and that is why I will continue to ensure that with Fridays for Future. My focus always remains MAPA, because otherwise justice is impossible.
Our topic is in particular the protection of our valuable resource water. What does water mean to you?
Water scarcity is a major problem in MAPA as either there is a shortage or natural disasters such as floods wash away the crops. Water must be available to everyone equally and must not belong to any person or company.
In your opinion, is there enough talk about water conservation?
I'm not an expert when it comes to water protection, but I spend many hours every day dealing with the climate crisis. The topic of water rarely ends up in my mind.
Which headline would you like to read in the future?
"According to the new IPCC, the Paris Agreement is being respected and fair measures have been taken on the basis of marginalized groups." "Anti-social is not a characteristic of climate protection."