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Interview with an East German Environmental Initiative in Schwerin (1980)

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Question: Who else came?

Answer: It was mostly young people from many other cities, also from circles outside the church, that is, young people we know from the city and who we brought with us.

[ . . . ]

Question: Where do you think environmental protections measures are most urgently needed?

Answer: The most important thing, as a prerequisite for measures to protect the environment, is to promote an environmental consciousness among young people, an awareness that the environment should be treated properly, that we should simply avoid certain conveniences that we have or things that we do in everyday life that harm the environment – things that no one even gets upset about anymore. Another step would be further actions like this tree-planting one, which can set a simple example of environmental restoration. Also, the state has founded the Society for Nature and the Environment, as part of the Cultural Association, and through this organization it is possible to file a complaint about environmental mistakes that were made or problems that exist, and to try to prevent or correct them.

[ . . . ]

Question: Is there also a dialogue on this subject with other, non-Christian, young people, with the FDJ groups, the Free German Youth, for example?

Answer: Yes, that happens automatically. A lot of us are also in the FDJ. We’re called on to talk about it there. But not only there, because it is also true that not even all young Christians have an environmental awareness. Even within our own ranks we have to talk openly about the issues, about what kinds of problems exist, and get people to listen. In the FDJ groups that we know, it’s possible to talk about it, but it isn’t possible to follow it up with concrete actions because the consciousness just isn’t there yet. At our school as well, the state argues that it’s more important for young people to understand the need to build up an economy with maximum production, or to place this need above protecting the environment.

[ . . . ]

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