Sophia Dietrich Sophia Dietrich

Jam For The Planet – A Conversation on Sustainability 

Everyone should become a climate activist, but especially young people, who will be the most affected.

A fireside chat with an environmental activist from Germany who says “Everyone should become a climate activist, but especially young people, who will be the most affected.”

I had the opportunity to interview one of the climate activists in Germany, and she is also a leader at the Public Climate School Leipzig.

The public climate school is a week full of lectures, panel discussions, and workshops on topics surrounding the climate crisis and climate justice.

Sophia 1
Sophia Dietrich

Meet Sophia Dietrich, a 27-year-old student from Germany who holds a bachelor’s degree in geosciences and a master’s in sustainable development from the University of Leipzig and the University of Graz During her studies, she and a group of friends came up with the idea to start informing students on campus about climate change and other environmental concerns. 

It was this that forced her to start working with Students for the Future. Through that, she helped organise the public climate  school at the University of Leipzig in the last two years. Now she is looking for a job in sustainable development after completing her master’s degree last year.  

Sophie, how do you describe climate change? (In her words)

The increase in global temperature is a direct result of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Through this change in overall temperature, the climate works differently than before: rainfall patterns change, and temperatures increase immensely in certain parts of the world. 

Extreme weather events, such as floods and hurricanes, as well as droughts, are affecting people severely and resulting in migration movements and deaths. But it’s all connected and caused by one thing, greenhouse gas emissions. 

Sophia Dietrich
Sophia studying a map in the field

This is why I am convinced that the Earth deserves to be protected. The world is breathtakingly beautiful, and the plants and animals that inhabit it should not suffer so greatly as a result of human behaviour. This was my primary impetus to begin climate advocacy. 

When I first started activism, I was fascinated, even though I didn’t think it was any worse than it is now. However, when I learned more about the international climate movement, I saw that people in Germany needed to be more conscious of the reality of climate change and the growth in emissions. 

The ultimate purpose is to comprehend that it is not only about how climate change will affect Germany in the future but also about how climate change is hurting people in the whole world right now! 

This is why, in 2022, I organised several panel discussions with climate activists from MAPA at the Public Climate School, because I believe it is critical to learn about and hear more new stories about climate change and climate activism around the world, not just in the global north, and to feel a sense of connectedness in the fight against and fair renewable transition for everyone.

What impact do you believe climate change is having in Germany?

So far, unseasonably warm summers have had just a little impact on Germans. And the frequency of catastrophic weather events, particularly floods, is increasing. Heavy and continuous rains in 2021 caused catastrophic floods in Germany and numerous neighbouring countries, particularly North Rhineland-Westphalia, where 23 towns and districts reported flooding. Currently, Rhineland-Palatinate is the most severely afflicted German region.

How do you intend to address climate change and support people affected by it?

As I previously stated, I am currently seeking a career in science or public administration that focuses on climate advocacy and sustainable development. My dream is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in my city of Leipzig.  

My last question to you, Sophia: 

Do you think it’s important to engage more people in activism?

I believe it is critical, especially in these times when climate change misinformation is anticipated to increase, according to the World Economic Forum, and will be driven by not only fossil fuel lobbyists but also AI-generated content. I believe that what Earth volunteers are doing is extremely important. It is critical to inform young people about what lies ahead. Everyone should become a climate activist, but especially young people, who will be the most affected.

And my message to everyone concerning climate change.

The work you do is really significant. Every bit of effort that we put in, such as attending climate marches to demand climate justice and repeatedly educating children and adults about climate change, again and again and again will one day result in visible change, and leaders will come out of their offices and do something rather than talk about it.

Sophia Dietrich

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