We do not know whether the public broadcasters will still exist in their present form in 2034. But there will definitely be someone who might be interested in your extensive film archive. There he might get his hands on a film that was shown at prime time last night on Das Erste. Whether a young media user then knows why this was important in earlier times cannot be answered today. After all, some sprightly baby boomers could tell their grandchildren about it. But this film archivist will certainly ask himself one question: Why did actors sit there in a courtroom where the seats were separated by Plexiglas panels? In our fast-moving times, the present is forgotten faster than it can be remembered as history. The hygiene measures in this pandemic year determined the shooting.
Witness as a key witness without being charged
This film was not about the year 2034, but rather the zeitgeist of those days. The title “Ökozid” was bombastic, the implementation was a filmed dissertation on the political decision-making processes of the early 2000s in energy and transport policy. This is how it worked: A social democratic backbencher even appeared before an international court of law, together with the manager of a German environmental association, who otherwise deals with law and order in the warning system. The culmination was the appearance of the incumbent Chancellor, who was charged with a serious offense. This could be defined as a “crime against future generations”. But of course it did not come to that: the Chancellor was a witness before this ARD court, who in the final minutes became a witness for the prosecution, but without being allowed to be a key witness as a defendant. Since the 1990s she has been involved in all major decisions in climate policy and has been largely responsible for the consequences. In 2034, this embarrassing staging by the Chancellor will probably surprise a film archivist even more than the Plexiglas panes in the courtroom. It is not known how Angela Merkel assesses this.
It is now part of the ARD’s good tradition to subsequently discuss films with socio-political significance in a talk show. Sandra Maischberger’s broadcast date is Wednesday, so she was allowed to try her hand at it. It would undoubtedly have been exciting to discuss the decision-making processes in German politics, but it should be about “ecocide”. About what the economist Maja Göpel dubbed a legally sanctioned “crime against future generations” in this program. It started with the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. He became known around the world more than ten years ago with a cabinet meeting underwater to warn of the dangers of rising sea levels. Ms. Göpel pointed out that in November of last year the Maldives “said for the first time that political and economic calculations were no longer sufficient.” The island nation is now criminally liable because “the country is in danger of dying.” They are foreign But the island state with almost 500,000 inhabitants has probably not yet calculated: It continues to rely on an expanding tourism industry, which celebrated an anniversary on Christmas Eve 2019. The Maldives welcomed the 1.5 millionth tourist this year. The environmental problems in his country that Nasheed mentioned, such as garbage and drinking water supplies, could probably have something to do with this successful industry.
At least that could have been addressed instead of just listening reverently to Nasheed’s words. If only it had concretized what Luisa Neubauer later put it like this: These are “all very, very important and complex issues.” By that she did not mean the Maldives’ handling of economic and social issues in times of climate change, but our own climate policy. There is always the same reason for this form of national narrow-mindedness. Germany has historically been one of the largest carbon dioxide emitters, and this has resulted in a historical responsibility, according to the star of the German climate protection movement. She also told the old wives’ tale about the burden-sharing agreed between the old industrialized countries and the former developing countries in the climate agreement. It was not about moral responsibility for past sins, as Ms. Neubauer said: The Maldives also appreciate the progress made in the western industrialized countries. The equalization of burdens was simply the prerequisite for agreeing on a global climate policy at all. Otherwise nobody outside Europe would have participated in such an agreement.