Open letter to the President of the University of Hamburg

Hamburg, May 24.05.2022, XNUMX – Dear President of the University of Hamburg Prof. Hauke ​​Heekeren,

We, those living now, are the first generation to feel the consequences of the climate-ecological crisis and the last generation that is still able to avert the complete collapse of our livelihoods. This results in the responsibility that we now stand together against the devastating fossil fuel business of our federal government, whose task it is to protect the people in Germany and those beyond.

In the climate emergency that we as humanity find ourselves in, we turn to you and the University of Hamburg - in the hope that you will also assume this responsibility. We are convinced that only if we all work together can we give our children a future and a future worth living. We ask you, as president and representative of the University of Hamburg, to act now as if all of our lives depend on it. Because it does.

We are in the worst-case scenario in terms of climate. We are heading towards an earth that is at least 2 degrees hotter. At the current rate, a warming of 3 to 4 degrees is extremely likely. More than a billion people will then live under climatic conditions that we now only know from regions such as the Sahara. Forest fires, floods and droughts, such as those already experienced in the global south, will result in wars and indescribable human catastrophes.

We, students and alumni of the University of Hamburg, note with great concern that the federal government will continue to expand fossil fuel infrastructure in 2022 instead of initiating the necessary transformation. Knowing about the catastrophic consequences of global warming, which could ultimately lead to the collapse of our civilization due to water and food shortages, continuing to expand the use of fossil fuels is madness - fossil madness.

Our Deputy Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck, is currently enabling the construction of new LNG terminals in a well-intentioned plan to become independent of Russian oil and gas and is also considering increased oil drilling in the North Sea . We welcome the efforts to achieve energy independence from Russia as quickly as possible and at the same time observe with concern that - in the small window of time we still have to decide the fate of humanity - a transition away from fossil fuels does not appear to be planned.

This is why we from the last generation are currently blocking major roads and highways in Germany every Monday and this is why we recently turned off oil pipelines at their emergency valves over thirty times: We demand that Robert Habeck stands up for our lives instead of new North Sea oil drilling, because both are not possible. He should declare this publicly. Such a declaration would be tantamount to a “declaration of life”, while continuing as usual would be a declaration of war on countless people in the Global South and on the entire young generation.

As long as Robert Habeck is not prepared to make such a declaration of life, we can be sure that we as a society will continue to move in the wrong direction instead of taking a first step in the right direction. As long as Robert Habeck is not prepared to make such a declaration of life, our lives and the cohesion of our society are threatened and as long as we will resort to methods of non-violent civil resistance and resist.

We would like to ask for your help to end the federal government's fossil fuel madness. The University of Hamburg website states: The University of Hamburg “[…] focuses on core questions of the future and also wants to contribute to responsible society in its structures.”

We would like to remind you of this project - of this obligation of all universities, the centers of science - to position themselves and help shape the social framework from which we can bring about the changes necessary to contain the climate emergency. For this reason, we hereby ask you to make a declaration of your life.

Specifically, we ask you - as President of the University of Hamburg, to officially address Robert Habeck publicly and ask him to refrain from any construction or expansion of further fossil infrastructure projects and, in particular, to remove the increased North Sea oil drilling that is once again being discussed to take a first step against the destruction of our livelihoods. Ask him for a life explanation.

We as a university not only have a responsibility for our own intra-university actions - as a university we are part of an important and powerful pillar of society and bear a responsibility for it. By making a life statement described above, you can fulfill this responsibility at this crucial time in human history.

We ask you to respond to our letter by the end of this week. We understand that this only gives you a few days to respond. We apologize for this short notice given the existential emergency. After decades in which it was not possible to chart a sustainable course, every day now counts if we are to prevent indescribable human suffering.

In unbridled love for life, in peaceful indignation at the Federal Government's continued business as usual and in the name of the last generation,

Jacob Bilal Hatem (student of sociology and education at the university)

Jana Mestmäcker (psychologist, university alumna)

Miriam Meyer (Tibetologist, alumna of the university)


Group photo on the stage of a university lecture hall. The plaque was hung with a banner reading “Declaration of Life.” People hold up posters.
May 11.05.2022, XNUMX - Occupation of the Audimax of the University of Leipzig by students - Photo: Pilger

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