Thoughts on the 'Last generation'

Thoughts on the 'Last generation'

I want to share some of my thoughts on the group called “Last Generation”. It is a climate action group of people trying to get the german government to stay true to the climate goals that it compelled itself legaly to comply to. I attended one of their protest trainings today because they are on my mind a lot and I wanted to get to know them better.

What is controversial about this group is their method of protest: the block streets in big cities like Berlin and Munich, often by people glueing themselves to the road. This creates massive traffic jams as it takes the police some time to get them away from the street. The discussion about them has been highly controversial, here I want to sort my own thoughts on what I like and do not like about them.


  • Their actions lead to discussions in all parts of society. Even with a few hundred people who block roads, it was possible to get into nearly every newspaper and talkshow discussion. Even if people do not like the goals or methods, I think a lot can be gained by forcing people to think about climate change and why so many young people choose such drastic measures as means of protest. This was also the main achievement of Fridays for Future, but it took hundreds of thousands of people then, while the last generation is way more efficient as their actions are so disruptive.
  • The highest mantra of the group is non-violence. They do not want to hurt anybody, physically or verbally, which would make it easier for the opposite side to call them radicals or terrorists.
  • The things the group wants from the government are very reasonable and not as far-fetched as some claim. A speed limit on highways is widely accepted in society and a simple and effective measure to save CO2. A socially friendly public transport ticket for 9€ per month for everybody would help move a lot of traffic from cars to trains or buses.


  • Many people like to talk about climate activist like they are just a few radicals and the topic is not that relevant. That kind of talk is easier the more radical a form of protest becomes, so the group is often accused of delivering arguments for climate change deniers. I would say that whatever you do or do not do, someone can always use it as an argument for something. If you are afraid of that, you can never take any kind of action for anything.
  • The people getting blocked in the protests are mostly not the target recipients. Many people who just want to get to work or get their kid from school are calamities of the protests. Unfortunately, a protest that does not hurt anybody will just be ignored by the public.
  • The protestors always leave room for emergency vehicles like ambulances to get through. But the people in the traffic jams often do not, so it can happen that an ambulance gets stuck in the traffic jam caused by the protestors.
  • The group often blaims the whole german government for not doing enough with regards to climate change. In my opionion that is a bit unfair as the main blocker in the government is the FDP party, the green party tries to do a lot but has to deal with a stubborn coalition partner and several overlapping crisises which are so short-term that long-term policy needs to put back (Covid, the russian attack on Ukraine).


The means of protest of the last generation are not great. On the other hand, every other kind of protest, argument, scientific paper etc. has been tried out and made over the last decades and it changed barely anything. The time for good options regarding climate change was probably 20 to 50 years ago. Right now, it looks like we only have bad options left. That is not an argument to do nothing, but to face a harsh reality and check what is the least bad option.

I am still struggling with this kind of protest, if I should agree with it and if I should take part in it. I see the negative points. But I also see no better alternative at the moment. Doing nothing is always the worst alternative. In the end, I want to be able to look back in 10, 20 or 30 years and know that I at least tried to do something. I do not want to be part of another generation that has to find explanations to give to the next generation about why we knew what was coming and still did nothing.