Insights

05/10/2021

Charlotte: Raising awareness and working towards a safer future

Charlotte started volunteering with BUND de to her interest and concern in climate change. Her interest started slowly and gradually, and while joining different groups, she became more aware and invested. By being a volunteer, she contributes towards changing the present and the future for society and has a chance to meet like-minded people.

© Fotocredit: Muhib Zeon

I'm Charlotte. I have a degree in biochemistry with a focus on environmental microbiology. I work with bacteria and all the little organisms while focusing on environmental analysis and environmental issues. I started getting involved with BUND last summer after returning from Norway, where I did my master's degree. Norway is very broad in terms of all the environmental issues. There I was able to gain my first insights into organizations and the founding of local groups. In Norway, I was active in various environmental organizations, including working for Greenpeace, founding a local group with students, and working in an environmental policy group.

When I came back to Berlin from abroad at the beginning of last year, I realized that I was missing something and would like to get involved in environmental politics again. So I just wrote to the people at BUND für Natur und Umwelt and attended two or three meetings, and I liked it. I fit in well with the group and have been back ever since. At BUND, I am involved in the Climate and Renewable Energy working group, which mainly deals with climate and energy policy and the consequences of climate change, with a focus on Berlin-Brandenburg.

„I think the best thing about being involved is that you always meet people with whom you are on the same level and from whom you can always learn something new.“

Charlotte

Our topics include the transformation of transport, mobility, and energy - in Berlin. We support Fridays for Future, participate in bike demos or support demos and calls on the internet, and sign petitions. Most recently, there was a feasibility study on the Heat Transformation Act, which was cofinanced by BUND. Especially now, in the super election year 2021, it is also about lobbying. We must use the opportunity to make climate policy a top issue again, especially as this topic has been pushed somewhat into the background by all the Corona measures and the whole of last year. We need to get this issue into the election programs and also into people's minds. It's an acute problem that we need to address now and continue to work on it.

My enthusiasm for environmental and climate issues came as a slow, gradual process. It started with a friend of mine who was very interested in nature. She took me to a Greenpeace youth group. There I realized that environmental and climate protection is a focus for many people. And how important that is nowadays. I was 14 years old at the time. The nice thing about the youth group was that it took everything more casually, meaning that, in the beginning, we didn't discuss super crass political issues. The point was that we dealt with the issues a bit and also got involved - be it in street theater, be it simply through joint actions with other people or through joint meetings nationwide within Germany, to network and to see that there was a network there. That led me to make contacts, and from this network, more and more questions and interests arose. I then realized that I would also like to work later in an area in which I feel I can make a difference and would also like to continue to work on such issues. Especially since we have a responsibility to act not only for our generation but also for future generations and keep the world livable. I got involved with Greenpeace, as I mentioned before, and then realized that I am more interested in the political side of climate and environmental issues. I feel that BUND can make a big difference on the political level, or I can get stronger insights and learn more at BUND.

I think the best thing about being involved is that you always meet people with whom you are on the same level and from whom you can always learn something new. You usually get involved in an area that interests you, which means you already have a basis on which you can build together. For me, the driving factor is that I get to know new interesting people. I learn even more about a topic that already interests me anyway. I also have the opportunity to make an additional difference. In other words, I have the feeling that I am doing something meaningful and achieving something. And that may seem a bit difficult at first, especially in a global context - how am I supposed to achieve something, create something? But then to see how much you create and achieve in the group, and how this group dynamic and these shared ideas also give rise to new ideas and projects - in other words, to see this entire creative process, I always find very motivating!

Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUND) – Friends of the Earth Germany

BUND works at all levels and is supported by more than 650,000 people: Nationwide, there are more than 2,000 volunteer BUND groups that tackle the issues that are important there directly in their region. Maintenance of nature conservation areas, mobilization against factory farms or educational work with campaigns are only a part of it. BUND is committed - for example - to ecological agriculture and healthy food, to climate protection and the expansion of renewable energies, and to the protection of endangered species, forests and water. It is one of the major environmental associations in Germany.

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