Climate protests in the heatwave

Climate change is once again showing its brutal side with Southern Europe experiencing extreme temperatures. As the holiday season gets under way, Last Generation climate activists have disrupted operations at several German airports by gluing themselves to the runways. Tempers also flared during a road blockade in Stralsund. Europe’s press asks: are such protest actions appropriate?

Český rozhlas (CZ) /

Activists shaking up creatures of habit

The angry reaction of a lorry driver who drove his lorry towards a climate activist who was blocking his way garnered praise on Czech social networks. Český rozhlas finds this lamentable:

“When young climate activists stage protests away from the main roads no one takes any notice of them. Everything carries on as usual. But when they block a main road, suddenly they and their concern for the future of the planet get written about. They are right to shake us older people up. Otherwise we don’t hear or see anything, because we don’t want to drive through densely populated urban areas at a maximum speed of 30 km/h, because we don’t want to be humiliated and have to give up our beloved combustion engines — in other words: because we don’t want to change our ways.”

Martin Fendrych
Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

The wrong protest methods

Hospodářské noviny has its reservations about this form of protest:

“What is the point of blocking traffic if all this does is endanger ordinary citizens? ... Their frustration and resentment could end in a tragedy brought about by the climate activists. ... Greenpeace, for example, took a more targeted and well-considered approach. When they quite rightly felt that the energy companies were not doing enough to switch to renewable energy, they blocked the excavators, smokestacks, the headquarters of the relevant companies and demonstrated outside the buildings of the decision-making bodies. Not everyone might agree with activists of this type, but you couldn’t say they were in the wrong place.”

Petr Honzejk
Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Civil disobedience out of place here

Jyllands-Posten shows little understanding for such protests in functioning democracies:

“Civil disobedience is understandable in the case of women removing their headscarves in protest at the oppressive regime in Iran, or black communities liberating themselves from apartheid in South Africa. There are necessary struggles for democracy, but no excuses for fighting against democracy. We cannot understand why climate activists in one of the world’s largest democracies turn against the community and put themselves above the rule of law by paralysing our shared infrastructure. This is an expression of blindness to the privileges offered by democracy. And no trivial offence.”

T24 (TR) /

Avoid setting unrealistic goals

Although climate change must be recognised as a real threat, the authorities must not build castles in the sky when it comes to countermeasures, T24 stresses:

“Record temperatures are being reported in almost every region of our planet. Turkey is one of them. ... Even if we fail to meet climate targets, the efforts we make to achieve them are crucial for our future. But if we focus on unattainable goals in the fight against climate change, our country could find itself in a situation with far more serious consequences than the earthquake which caught us off guard. Perhaps the time has come to be more realistic.”

Mehmet Önal