Klimaaktivismus als ziviler Ungehorsam

Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 9 (1):77-114 (2022)
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Political actions by Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion, and other climate activists often involve violations of legal regulations – such as compulsory education requirements or traffic laws – and have been criticized for this in the public sphere. In this essay, I defend the view that these violations of the law constitute a form of morally justified civil disobedience against climate policies. I first show that these actions satisfy the criteria of civil disobedience even on relatively strict conceptions of civil disobedience. I then argue that they meet plausible justification conditions for civil disobedience because they are directed against serious and clear injustices, which legal means of influence have failed to remedy for decades. Finally, I reject the objection that civil disobedience against climate policy violates basic democratic principles because it claims authority to override democratically enacted agreements. When addressed to Fridays for Future activists, the objection misfires for the reason alone that these activists are largely minors that are excluded from democratic participation. Moreover, disobedience even by adult activists is justified by the existence of serious democratic deficits in our climate policies, especially since it can help to correct them. Such deficits include the lack of representation of the interests of people affected by climate change in the future and globally.

Author's Profile

Benjamin Kiesewetter
Bielefeld University


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