Schoolchildren deserve a future!

The climate crisis and the teachers' service oath dilemma

Teachers teach school subjects. Through their oath of service, they are also committed to teach the values of our Constitution.

For a long while, politicians have been disregarding Article 20a of the Constitution, which is especially vital from the point of view of children and young people: "The state shall protect the natural foundations of life with responsibility for future generations".

Teachers are supposed to convey values whose political implementation is not recognizable. This happens while a broad scientific consensus classifies the current climate policy as absolutely insufficient.

Whether you are a teacher or not - support our open letter with your signature!

Open letter to all state educational institutions and political decision makers

Dear Madam, dear Sir,

At the beginning of their careers, teachers commit themselves to serve children as conscientiously as they can. They also pledge to work to protect the values enshrined in the Constitution. However, this oath or contractual obligation poses a real dilemma for teachers in the face of climate policy decisions at state and federal level.

Article 20a is an elementary provision of the Constitution, especially from the perspective of today's youth and the next generations. Here it says: "The state protects the natural foundations of life also in responsibility for future generations". What answer should teachers give their schoolchildren to the question of why laws are passed that quite obviously violate Article 20a? Laws that help to further increase the CO2 content in the atmosphere? The retention of coal-fired power generation until 2038 or the climate package of the German government alone is classified by science as "absolutely insufficient"1.

With the Fridays for Future movement in 2019, it was schoolchildren who spread the conviction that climate justice and protection of the natural foundations of life are part of the political core business. Their appeal that politicians should stick to commitments already made is conservative in the best sense of the word and anything but rebellious. But it is already clear today that the current measures are far from sufficient to achieve the Paris climate target, which is binding under international law, and to limit global warming to a reasonably safe 1.5 degrees with an acceptable probability2.

The teachers' dilemma becomes even greater in view of the fact that many refugees are already climate refugees. By 2050, several hundred million people will have to leave their homes due to catastrophic climate conditions3. What should a teacher answer when asked in class why our government seems to willingly accept this humanitarian catastrophe?

And what should a teacher answer who is asked why the German government is allowing German companies worldwide to drive up CO2 emissions while undermining ecological and social standards?

Teachers in our country should be able to explain to our children and young people that their state is doing everything possible to ensure that the goals of the Constitution are not lost sight of. That, as we experience it in the context of Corona, even in the much more profound climate crisis, it is doing everything possible to shape a future worth living in accordance with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations4.

At the moment they cannot: without decisive action in the climate crisis, our schoolchildren lack any hope that they will experience a future to which they are entitled under the Constitution.

How should teachers explain this dilemma to their schoolchildren?

We need a climate policy that offers our schoolchildren a secure future and restores meaning to the educational efforts of schools.

With kind regards,

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Nora Oehmichen

Initiator

Secondary School
Baden Württemberg
Ethics, French, History

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Clemens Pasch

Secondary School
Baden Württemberg
Art, Physics

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Danielle Schulte am Hülse

Secondary School
Nordrhein-Westfalen
Art, History

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Harald Thielen-Redlich

Secondary School
Rheinland-Pfalz
Chemistry, Biology

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Jana Wolff

Training School
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Natural Science, English, Sports

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Patrick Brehm

Vocational College for Economy and Administration
Nordrhein-Westfalen
Economic Sciences, English

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Lea Fiestelmann

Secondary School
Nordrhein-Westfalen
German, Social Sciences

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Florian Kirchesch

Comprehensive School
Brandenburg
English, Music

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Inga Feuser

Secondary School
Nordrhein-Westfalen
German, History, Evangelic Religion

and 1317 online signees, including 409 teachers!

You can support our letter above with your signature, whether you are a teacher or not.

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