Filed by Mikkel Fugl Eskjær. «What we were watching, was in fact the unfolding of a generational revolt, there were 10 000, primarily young people, some only five to six years old, standing there with signs in hand, striking from school, and taking part in this climate revolt. That was a fantastic moment, says Adrian Preisler.
Adrian, 17 at the time of the interview, was one of the organisers of the first Friday for Future in Denmark. He has been involved in other movements as well, such as The Green Student Movement, and was a co-author of a letter from young people in Denmark, calling on the Danish Parliament to pass a climate law and asking all grown-ups to “wake up and start acting as life on earth depends on it”. In addition, he delivers poems to an online poetry platform.
Danish greenhouse future
Stating that Denmark is not among the most vulnerable countries regarding the climate crisis, he promotes the larger, global perspective: “I think that where the climate crisis becomes really brutal […] but also sort of racist and imperialist […] is because countries that historically have contributed the least to the climate crises will be the most severely affected”. However, in a longer time perspective, he realises that his own country might be in peril: “UN researchers predict that we are destroying the earth’s nitrogen cycle, which makes farming possible. If things continue this way, we will reach a point where in 2050 we’ll need to have [to cultivate] everything in greenhouses.”
Young and independent
He says the Green Student Movement wants to “be a channel for young people who cannot vote, a political voice”, and adds that they try to address the skewed power relations in Denmark “by not letting adults have too much influence.” He adds that Greta Thunberg’s role in calling for action, such as school strikes, is important, but that all decisions and plans are made locally, thus the Danish movement emerges as decentralized and independent.
For him, climate change is very much a generational issue. “This is an altogether different fight; and there is a totally different sense of identity in this generation […] We need a planet to live on; we have to be connected to our eco-system and live in eco-balance” Furthermore, he addresses what is often regarded as an individual responsibility:
“It is us”
“We have an internal slogan that reminds us about the question of individual responsibility: ‘It is not you, it is us’. That is, it is not the responsibility of little you; it is mankind that shares the responsibility. […] It is all about understanding that the climate crisis is a problem that has emerged on a scale that transcends individual actions. And we can only solve it on a larger scale than individual actions. […] It is like watching an accident; as if I saw a lorry about to knock somebody down and I just stood watching, doing nothing. I cannot be blamed for it to happen; that rests on the people involved. But we are all part of the situation, and it is my responsibility to act when I have the opportunity.”