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Don’t play with our future

© Frederick Manck

Am 20./21. November 2018 fand in Innsbruck (AT) das diesjährige EUSALP Annual Forum statt. Unter dem Motto “shaping future together with the next generation” hatte die Tiroler EUSALP-Präsidentschaft das Thema Jugendbeteiligung zum zentralen Konferenzthema gewählt. Luisa Deubzer vom CIPRA Jungen Forum übernahm dabei mit einer mahnenden Rede im Eröffnungsplenum die starke Stimme der Jugend.

© Frederick Manck

Wenn es um Nachhaltigkeit und Veränderungen in Politik und Gesellschaft geht, dann ist Luisa Deubzer immer mit Feuereifer und voller Begeisterung dabei. Sie scheut auch nicht davor zurück für ihre Meinung das Wort zu ergreifen - und ist das Publikum noch so groß. So wurde der CIPRA-Jugendbeirätin die Ehre zu teil, als Repräsentantin der Jugend im Eröffnungsplenum des diesjährigen EUSALP Annual Forums in Innsbruck eine Rede zu halten. Und was für eine!

Luisa Deubzer nutzte die Rede, um auf die Bedrohung durch den Klimawandel aufmerksam zu machen und appellierte an die PolitikerInnen und BehördenvertreterInnen im Saal ihre Entscheidungen immer im Lichte ihrer Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt abzuwägen - sei es in Form des Klimawandels oder der Zerstörung natürlicher Lebensräume. Denn die Entscheidungen von heute wirken sich auf die Zukunft der kommenden Generationen aus. „Don’t play with our future“ war die unmissverständliche Botschaft der Rede.

Das zweite große Thema ihrer Ansprache war Jugendbeteiligung. Dabei legte die 25-Jährige den Verantwortlichen durchaus kritische Fragen ans Herz: “Am I actually interested in what young people have to say and am I open to maybe even learn something new from them?” Denn so viel steht fest: Jugendpartizipation darf nicht zum nächsten bloßen Modewort und Lippenbekenntnis werden.

© Frederick Manck

In den nachfolgenden Reden wurden Luisa Deubzers Worte dankbar aufgenommen. Tirols Landeshauptmann Günther Platter bekräftigte, dass man die Jugend hören, einbinden und auch manches umsetzen müsse. Und Raffaele Cattaneo, der Regionalratspräsident der Lombardei, die im kommenden Jahr die EUSALP-Präsidentschaft übernehmen wird, sicherte zu, dass man den unter der Bayerischen und Tiroler Präsidentschaft eingeschlagenen Weg in Sachen Jugendbeteiligung fortführen wolle.

So enthält die im Rahmen der EUSALP Generalversammlung auf dem Annual Forum verabschiedete „Innsbrucker Erklärung“ gleich mehrere Absichtserklärungen zum Thema Jugend:

Youth

11. We commit ourselves to involving in particular young people in the activities of EUSALP and we acknowledge the important contribution that the youth can bring to EUSALP.

12.  We recognise the first steps that already have been undertaken under the Bavarian and Tyrolean presidencies to exploit synergies with existing youth structures in the Alpine Region. In particular, we welcome the initiative youth.shaping.EUSALP, which was initiated by the Tyrolean presidency together with Switzerland and Liechtenstein and supported by CIPRA International and Alpine Town of the Year.

13.  We emphasise the importance of preserving the Alpine region as a worthwhile place to live for future generations, in harmony with the environment. In this regard, we take note the 10-point plan on dual education, which was developed by Action Group 3.

14.  We entrust the Executive Board on this basis with the development of a proposal on the best modalities to involve the youth in the work of EUSALP.

 

Neben der Rede von Luisa Deubzer, einer abendlichen Podiumsdiskussion zum Thema Jugendbeteiligung und einem Jugendprojekt-Wettbewerb, fand schließlich noch der erste von zwei Workshops im Prozess „youth.shaping.EUSALP“ statt, in dem Jugendliche einen Aktionsplan für die Jugendbeteiligung in der EUSALP erarbeiten sollen. Das Annual Forum in Innsbruck machte seinem Motto „shaping future together with the next generation” also wirklich alle Ehre!

Rede von Luisa Deubzer, gehalten am 20. November 2018 im Eröffnungsplenum des EUSALP Annual Forums in Innsbruck

I happen to spend a lot of time in the mountains. And for some reason every time I look at a glacier it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to know how far down they used to go when I was born and how the summers since have worn them. For long, I couldn’t really pin point where this sadness came from. Because, if you think about it, glaciers are no living beings .And yet it really hurts to see them dwindle.

A couple of months ago when I was running on a trail that followed the rim of mighty glacier it appeared to me:

The reason it touches me so profoundly to see these giants disappear is that to me they are a symbol for something bigger: They reflect the irreversibility of our human decisions. Because we can’t bring back what once has melted.

Over a century of blowing up CO2 into the atmosphere and the coming generations will never experience the mightiness of the Alps as it used to be.

Speaking of coming generations:

The theme of this years’ conference is youth participation. Now you may ask yourself why this is an issue that deserves our attention.

For exactly this reason: Todays decisions will inevitably impact coming generations, us the youth. Yet, through demographic change the voices of those who have to live with the political decisions the longest have less and less weight.

Beside this, the advantages of having young people participate in politics are numerous for all of us: Be it by providing fresh, new perspectives on old, deadlocked issues or by raising a generation of people who want to take civic responsibility, instead of being resigned with politics.

I am sure you will experience these any many more benefits yourself when you get to exchange with the younger participants during this conference.

Just one thing: Since we don’t want youth participation to become just another empty buzzword, please honestly ask yourself this when talking to us:

Am I actually interested in what young people have to say and am I open to maybe even learn something new from them?

Let’s jump back to the glaciers for a moment though.

It appears that these irreversible decisions that will impact the future generations the most have something to do with the environment.

Don’t get me wrong. Not that economical decisions aren’t important or couldn’t make a big difference. Far from it, but see, neither we, nor our children will be able to benefit a whole lot from them if we ruined the environment, our fundament for a good life in the process.

So on behalf of the younger generation I want to use this opportunity and ask you to take us seriously, when we tell you not to play with our future.

Many of the dilemmas we face with regard to sustainability show us that we can’t just try to be a bit more sustainable in a given system, which is founded on inherently unsustainable beliefs like the primacy of profit and infinite growth.

For instance, we might actually be able to mitigate climate change by switching to renewables, but unless we rethink more fundamental parts of our energy intensive society as well this won’t solve resource depletion and environmental degradation.

We live in a time where our decisions now will determine in which direction our future lies.

And it’s not just me telling you this to sound more dramatic. The most recent IPCC report, for example, urges – more than ever – for immediate measures, not further postponing what we should have started with already.

I’d like you to keep the image of the glacier in mind for this conference:

Every single one of your daily political decision potentially reduces – or enlarges – the scope of actions and choices my generation and those after us will have.

Every bit of CO2 you fail to limit now will make the consequences more severe, much more severe for us. Every new construction project you agree to now at the cost of a nature protection area will restrict our freedom to experience nature in the Alps as you once did.

Do you want to explain to your grandchildren or the children of your friends how we didn’t do anything or did too little, how we watched while knowing what would happen, but not quite believing it would?

Or do you want to tell these children one day that you were there when there was still room for action and that you dared changing direction?

I believe that I, you, you, you and you, we all together can contribute to make this second story come true.

Thank you.