In 2019, Luisa Neubauer emerged as one of the public faces of the youth-led movement to combat global warming, powering the Fridays for Future climate strikes in Germany. Now, she’s taking her knowledge and combining it with a call for urgency, empowerment, and action through a new platform: podcast.
Her new Spotify Original podcast, 1,5 Grad, or “1.5 Degrees,” which launched last week, is already the number one German show on Spotify’s trending charts. In each impactful episode, Luisa speaks to leading scientists and activists who explain the ways in which climate change is impacting our world. Throughout the show, she explores the issue in-depth with the people on the ground fighting the devastation.
“The climate crisis is usually perceived as a crisis of the climate,” Luisa says. “It’s not. It’s a crisis of people. The climate will be fine—we won’t.”
For the Record sat down with Luisa to talk about the meaning of 1.5 degrees; Fridays for Future, the youth-led climate movement; global warming as a social issue; and more.
How did creating a podcast fit into your climate activism work? How does its impact differ from a march or rally?
What I do, and so many others do, is fight for the people and their right to grow old on a safe planet, no matter where they live. Yet this is not the story that is being told. With this podcast I wanted to tell the stories of the people, to dig deep. And to allow myself to approach the climate crisis with curiosity and empathy. I usually organize and mobilize for rallies. This podcast hopefully doesn’t just inform, but inspires people to take the crisis personally and to start understanding oneself as part of the solution.
Can you explain the title of the podcast? What is the significance of 1.5 degrees?
1.5 degrees Celsius is the global compromise that was made by signing the Paris Agreement. On a diplomatic level, the fact that there is such an international agreement is incredible. It is also where the world community is drawing the line in terms of destruction and suffering. And it is also the only guarantee for younger generations that promises them to grow old on an inhabitable planet. The science is very clear about the kind of danger zone we enter once we pass 1.5. This is what I committed to fight for, alongside so many others.
What can listeners expect in each episode?
I take people with me, bring them to experts, thinkers and activists, invite them to our conversation. It’s gonna be more emotional than a science podcast, more interactive than a discussion podcast. To me, this podcast feels like the listeners, the team and I, alongside my guest, sign up to an exploration.
What do people misunderstand about the climate justice movement?
Well the climate crisis is one gigantic injustice, and it produces more injustices. When we ask ourselves why exactly we are doing this, why we are fighting, why we are committing all our time to this—we inherently talk about justice. Those who are affected today, those at the front line, we refer to them as MAPA (most affected people and areas); they are the ones who remind us every day that Fridays for Future is not that much about the future as it is about the present. It’s about the very present threat the climate crisis is posing to those who are often overlooked yet should be listened to.
How is climate justice an issue of social equality as well?
The climate crisis is sometimes perceived as an issue of the elites who don’t have any other problems to care about. This is not only a misleading, but a dangerous framing. As the climate crisis escalates, it is posing more and more injustices to the ones who are already marginalized by race and gender. Engaging in real, sustainable, and just climate action is essential for real social equality.
What do you want listeners to take away after hearing the podcast?
I just really hope people ask themselves very honestly: What is my role in this crisis? Am I really doing everything I can? What is the story I will once tell about where I was, when we knew everything we needed about this crisis—and also knew there was still time to fight it?
What actions do you recommend for someone looking to get involved in climate justice for the first time?
Climate strike! Join an organization! Talk about it! Call your local politician about it! Spread the word. But mostly: climate strike and believe in yourself. Everyone counts. The power of people works when people start taking themselves seriously. That is what we ask you to do.
Check out the first episode of 1,5 Grad and watch for new episodes the second Tuesday of every month.