window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-XZCLKHW56X'); N°22 - From civil disobedience to parliament - Ereb

N°22 – From civil disobedience to parliament


Dortmund, 27th March
I’ve known for a long time that we’re heading towards a climate crisis – ever since I was a child. But for a long time, I didn’t care. I was part of the no-future generation. And if there was no future for us anyway, then why should I act?

Then my first son was born. That changes you. A little while later, my second son came along, and at that point, I knew, as a mother I had to give them some hope. The climate crisis is threatening their lives – so I have to make a change. That’s what drives me. I owe it to them because I could have been out on the streets with my picket sign 40 years ago.

At the end of 2022, I came across a group from Berlin called Letzte Generation (Last Generation, an alliance of climate activists mostly active in Germany, Italy, and Austria, ed.). They began with a hunger strike before the 2021 German federal elections. Over time, they organised more and more civil disobedience actions, such as occupying airports, throwing food on paintings, and, of course, road blockades, demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels by 2030 at the latest. The activists even glued themselves to the streets to draw attention to the climate emergency.

Over Christmas 2022, I decided to join them. I requested the necessary application documents and told my husband that our lives would change from January 2023.

The movement slowly spread across Germany and when a street blockade was organised in my own city, Dortmund, I knew I had to take action. Of course I was scared and nervous the first time I glued myself to the street. The protest was chaotic and didn’t go according to plan, but it garnered the attention of a newspaper, which featured me on the front page. And I felt proud of myself for acting.

Even after 16 campaigns like this, I still feel nervous and scared when I participate in street blockades. I always hope that everyone will be kind and that nobody will become violent. But once I’m glued, I become completely relaxed. From then on there’s nothing I can do about the situation. It’s no longer in my hands.

After the first protest, I expected my friends to show support and offer to help the movement, but only one person asked how they could get involved. To this day, I often have to justify myself to my friends, and sometimes it’s not easy to put up with the jokes and criticism. Many people are hesitant to take part because they don’t want to glue themselves to the street. But there are other ways to contribute, such as sending letters, doing public relations work, or helping in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, many of those who do join the movement end up in court, just like me. I’m not being accused of civil disobedience itself but of the consequences that arise from it, such as blocking traffic, causing property damage, or resisting state authority. In most cases, the activists are fined, but some have also received jail sentences.

Going through a trial is costly and time-consuming. It can be exhausting to defend oneself and to cope emotionally with the situation. It’s like training for a new job. So I think that if we want to grow the movement and make it stronger, we need to be open to trying new things and finding different ways of making an impact.

In March, we launched a new strategy. We have decided, among other things, to go into politics and shake up the European parliament. We need MEPs who can act as a mouthpiece for the activists. Within six hours of the announcement, we had collected 50,000 euros in donations – that gave me a boost! Now, the Federal Election Committee needs to check whether we can be admitted to the election as a group. Then we could enter parliament in June with at least 250,000 votes.

Not everyone within the movement agreed with the recent decision, and some were left feeling angry. The very reason why we started protesting was the lack of action from politicians. Initially, we wanted to steer clear of politics altogether, as it seemed like a futile effort. We had been down that road before. I used to believe that everything would be resolved if we voted for the Greens. After all, they emerged from an environmental movement, they used to chain themselves to trees, too. However, they eventually became a part of the system, which is quite infuriating. Nevertheless, I believe we must take part in democracy.

Previously, people suggested that the Letzte Generation should enter politics, or they wouldn’t talk to us. Now, we’re doing just that, which I find quite amusing. We always do what is asked of us, but we do it our way! If it doesn’t work, at least we can say that we tried.

Politics is not our main goal either; it’s all about trying out new things. We run several programs in parallel, like disobedient assemblies on the streets or actions targeting larger companies that are fundamentally responsible for climate pollution. They are all experiments, and we don’t know what will work in the end, but we must stay in the game.


Sylvia, a 49-year-old carpenter, lives in Dortmund with her two children. One year ago, she joined Letzte Generation (Last Generation). The protest group, known for hunger strikes, throwing mashed potato on paintings in museums or glueing themselves to the street, recently announced their aim to run for the European elections.

Stay tuned, sign up to our In Vivo newsletter