Luisa Neubauer

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Luisa Neubauer
Neubauer in 2022
Luisa-Marie Neubauer

(1996-04-21) 21 April 1996 (age 27)
OccupationClimate activist
MovementSchool strike for climate
Luisa Neubauer (on the left) with Greta Thunberg (on the right) in March 2019, during a climate protest in Hamburg
Luisa Neubauer at TINCON re:publica at Berlin-Kreuzberg on 7 May 2019
Luisa Neubauer speaking at the Fridays for Future global strike on 15 September 2023 near Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Luisa-Marie Neubauer (born 21 April 1996)[1] is a German climate activist. She is one of the main organisers of the school strike for climate movement in Germany, where it is commonly referred to under its alternative name Fridays for Future.[2][3] She advocates a climate policy that complies with and surpasses the Paris Agreement and endorses de-growth. Neubauer is a member of Alliance 90/The Greens and the Green Youth.[4]


Neubauer was born in Hamburg as the youngest of four siblings. Her mother is a nurse.[4] Her grandmother Dagmar Reemtsma (born 1933 as Dagmar von Hänisch)[5][6] was married for some years to Feiko Reemtsma of the Reemtsma cigarette empire and got involved in the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s. She sensitized Luisa Neubauer to the climate problem and gave her her share of the taz cooperative.[7] Two of Neubauer's three older siblings live in London.[8] Her cousin Carla Reemtsma is also a climate activist.[9]

Neubauer grew up in Hamburg's Iserbrook district and completed her high school diploma in 2014 at the Marion-Dönhoff-Gymnasium in the affluent Blankenese neighborhood.[10] In the year after her graduation she worked for a development aid project in Tanzania and on an organic farm in England.[11] In 2015 she started studying geography at the University of Göttingen. She did a semester abroad at the University College London[1] and received scholarships from the German government[12] and the Alliance 90/The Greens-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation.[13] In 2020 she completed her studies with a Bachelor of Science.[14]

Early activism[edit]

Neubauer has been a youth ambassador of the non-governmental organization ONE since 2016.[15] She was also active for the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations,[16], the Right Livelihood Award foundation,[1] the Fossil Free campaign[1] and The Hunger Project.[17] With the campaign Divest! Withdraw your money! she forced the University of Göttingen to stop investing in industries that make money with coal, oil or gas.[18]

Fridays For Future[edit]

As of the beginning of 2019, Neubauer became known as one of the leading Fridays For Future activists. Many media outlets refer to her as the "German face of the movement." Neubauer rejects comparisons of herself and other strike organisers to Greta Thunberg, saying: "We're building a mass-movement and reaching out quite far in our methods of mobilizing and gaining attention. What Greta does is incredibly inspiring but actually relatively far from that."[19]

Neubauer does not see the strikes as a means of directly affecting politics. More important is the work behind the strikes: "What we're doing is incredibly sustainable. We're creating structures and turning the events into educational experiences. And we're leading debates on the principles of climate protection."[20]

Following the protests of Fridays For Future Germany against Siemens for a specific infrastructure project in Australia, Neubauer met with Joe Kaeser in January 2020. On 13 January 2020 she announced that she had turned down an offer for a seat on the Siemens Energy's supervisory board: "If I were to take it up, I would be obliged to represent the company's interests and could never be an independent critic of Siemens," Neubauer explained. "That is not compatible with my role as [a] climate activist.".[21] Joe Kaeser stated that he did not offer Neubauer a seat in the companies' Board, but that he is open to have Neubauer on a Board on environmental questions [22]

On the day before Siemens announced that they will keep the contract with Adani to provide the rail infrastructure of the Carmichael coal mine in Australia. Neubauer told the news agency DPA: "We asked Kaeser to do everything possible to stop the Adani mine. Instead he will now profit from this disastrous project." She added that this decision was "so last century" and that Kaeser was making an "unforgivable mistake".[21]

Israel-Hamas conflict[edit]

Following the start of 2023 Israel–Hamas war on 7 October 2023, Neubauer has been dealing with conflicting positions within both Fridays for Future Germany and the wider climate movement.[23] In an interview with Der Spiegel, Neubauer indicated her expectations for the COP 28 climate meeting in these terms:[24]: confirmed translation 

It will be really complicated. There are intensive efforts on the part of international organizations to place Palestinian suffering at the center of the debates at the climate conference. In this case, we will work to ensure that Jewish suffering and the terror of Hamas are also mentioned. Of course, we will also work with human rights organizations to stand up for political prisoners, as we did [at COP 27].

Der Spiegel wrote elsewhere:[25]

The climate movement is now facing a potential schism. The German chapter of Fridays for Future has distanced itself from the international movement, with Luisa Neubauer, the group's most prominent member in the country, telling Der Spiegel in an interview that "the loss of trust is immense".

Neubauer had earlier separated herself from public statements by the Fridays For Future international board regarding the military action by Israel.[26][27] The board had openly supported Palestinian nationalism and described the bombardment of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces as "a genocide".[27] Speaking on behalf on Fridays For Future Germany, Neubauer told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that FFF Germany "firmly condemned Hamas terrorism" and stated that the social media managers of FFF's international channels had "improperly used [those] platforms to share disinformation and antisemitism".[26]

Position and appearances[edit]

Relationship to politics[edit]

Although Neubauer is a member of Alliance 90/The Greens and the Green Youth, she says she does not actively pursue party work.[28] At the Alliance 90/The Greens policy convention on 29 March 2019, Neubauer gave a speech that was received with much applause. She called for an emissions budget for Germany. "If even the Greens can't do that, then I don't know why we're even taking to the streets", Neubauer said.[29]

Neubauer assessed the 2019 European elections as a key event to motivate the European youth to protect climate. According to her, the Grand Coalition failed after the climate strikes began. They were postponing the adoption of a climate protection law and were celebrating a coal phase-out that is ten years too late for the climate.[30]

At the EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019, Neubauer joined other climate activists in meeting Emmanuel Macron and eight other EU leaders.[31]

In an interview with Tagesthemen (one of Germany's main daily television news magazines) on 20 August 2020, after a meeting with other activists and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Luisa Neubauer expressed skepticism about the German government's activities to achieve the climate target of 1.5 degrees global warming. "Who, if not Germany, could lead the way here?" She also expressed irritation about the commissioning of new coal-fired power plants.[32][33]

During a Spiegel interview with member of German parliament Wolfgang Schäuble at the end of October 2020, Neubauer emphasized the special status of the climate crisis as a problem that affects all areas of life. A stable democracy and a good economy require a stable planet. Ultimately, he said, it was "about us humans" for whom the climate crisis would eventually become unbearable. Measured by the Paris climate goals and scientific findings, action is clearly too slow. The price for this is an escalating climate crisis. "And nothing will rob us of more freedom than this crisis. The slower we are, the greater the destruction, the greater the restriction of freedom in the end."[34]

In a double interview in September 2021 with Der Tagesspiegel (a German daily newspaper), which interviewed her along with Greta Thunberg, Neubauer criticized the media and politicians for downplaying or ignoring the climate crisis for decades. Chancellor Angela Merkel never once "went out on a limb" for climate change, never took a serious risk "to move the country noticeably toward climate-friendly democracy." As a result, it remains unclear how the public would respond on the question of how just a form of climate protection is, in which there is no real social compensation for rising costs for housing heating and fuel for internal combustion cars due to increased CO2 prices, Neubauer said that Fridays for Future is a movement for climate justice. It also demands socially just climate protection. She said it's important to be vigilant in this debate: "We experience political voices that never supported climate action now using social inequality as an excuse to do nothing."[35]


Neubauer received negative press coverage for her past flights to countries all around the world.[36][37] She responded that any criticism of her personal consumption distracts from larger structural and political issues.[8]

Alexander Straßner [de], a professor of political science at the University of Regensburg, accused her of using the term "old white men" as a synonym for people with different opinions to discredit such people.[38]


  1. ^ a b c d Neubauer, Luisa (2019). "Bewerbung um einen Platz im Europawahlkampfteam der Grünen Jugend". Grüne Jugend (in German). Archived from the original on 2019-02-09.
  2. ^ Traufetter, Interview Conducted By Gerald; Amann, Melanie (2019-03-19). "The Climate Activist vs. the Economics Minister: 'My Generation Has Been Fooled'". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  3. ^ Graham-Harrison, Emma (2019-08-10). "Greta Thunberg takes climate fight to Germany's threatened Hambach Forest". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  4. ^ a b Güßgen, Florian (2019-05-22). "Luisa Neubauer, die Laut-Sprecherin bei "Fridays for Future"". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  5. ^ "Klett-Cotta :: Gegen die Ohnmacht - Luisa Neubauer, Dagmar Reemtsma" (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  6. ^ "Klett-Cotta – Dagmar Reemtsma Biographie, Bücher, Informationen" (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  7. ^ Unfried, Peter (2020-02-27). "Ein Profi des Protestes". Rolling Stone. Vol. 305. p. 81.
  8. ^ a b Siebert, Jasmin (2019-02-12). "Luisa Neubauer". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  9. ^ Ceballos Betancur, Karin; Knuth, Hannah (2020-02-05). "Wohin am Freitag?". (in German). Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  10. ^ Greulich, Matthias (2019-01-29). ""Wir sind laut, weil ihr uns die Zukunft klaut" – Luisa Neubauer aus Iserbrook ist Mitorganisatorin der Schülerdemos Friday for Future". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  11. ^ Jessen, Elisabeth (2019-04-06). "Eine Hamburgerin ist die "deutsche Greta Thunberg"". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  12. ^ Grünewald, Sven (2016-09-15). ""Wer einmal dabei ist, bleibt dabei"". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  13. ^ Kaiser, Mareice (2019-02-12). "Klimaaktivistin Luisa Neubauer: "Ich hoffe, dass ich nicht noch 825 Freitage streiken muss"". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  14. ^ "Klimaaktivistin Neubauer hat Bachelorstudium abgeschlossen". DIE WELT. 2020-06-17. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  15. ^ Böhm, Christiane (2016-06-16). "Warum geht mich das etwas an?". Göttinger Tageblatt (in German). Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  16. ^ "#YouthRising und das Beharren auf einen Platz am Tisch". Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen (in German). 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  17. ^ "Fokus Wasser – Schwerpunkt Afrika – Jahresbericht 2016" (PDF). Das Hunger Projekt. 2017-10-01.
  18. ^ Jacobs, Luisa (2018-08-01). "Klimaschutz an der Uni: "Mit Divestment erreicht man auch die Nicht-Ökos"". Die Zeit (in German). ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  19. ^ Schülerstreik: Organisatorin Luisa Neubauer im Interview. "Wir sind nicht mehr zu übersehen". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  20. ^ Mit voller Wucht. Luisa Neubauer ist das deutsche Gesicht der Klimaproteste. Wie wurde sie zur Aktivistin einer globalen Bewegung? Eine Begegnung auf Demonstrationen in Paris und Berlin. In: Die Zeit, 14 March 2019, S. 65. Onlinefassung; retrieved 16 March 2019.
  21. ^ a b Connolly, Kate (2020-01-13). "Climate activist turns down Siemens' offer of seat on energy board". Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  22. ^ "Meeting with Luisa Neubauer, according to Joe Kaeser, war is not a "PR gag"" (in German). 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  23. ^ Niranjan, Ajit; Gayle, Damien; Lakhani, Nina (2023-12-05). "'No climate justice without peace': Gaza becomes flashpoint for climate activists". The Guardian. London, United Kingdom. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  24. ^ Beyer, Susanne; Schaible, Jonas (2023-11-17). "Wenn Greta Thunberg anruft, gehen Sie ran, Frau Neubauer? — Interview zu Antisemitismus bei Fridays for Future" [When Greta Thunberg calls, do you answer, Ms. Neubauer? — Interview on antisemitism at Fridays for Future]. Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg, Germany. ISSN 2195-1349. Retrieved 2023-11-19. Interview.
  25. ^ Beyer, Susanne; Hoppenstedt, Max; Lehmann, Timo; Neufeld, Dialika; Petter, Jan; Rapp, Tobias (2023-11-17). "A potential rift in the climate movement: what's next for Greta Thunberg?". Der Spiegel. Hamburg, Germany. ISSN 2195-1349. Retrieved 2023-12-05. Website edition headed: "Has Greta Thunberg betrayed the climate movement?"
  26. ^ a b Speigel (2023-10-29). "Fridays for Future: Luisa Neubauer geht auf Distanz zu globalem Netzwerk" [Fridays for Future: Luisa Neubauer distances herself from global network]. Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg, Germany. ISSN 2195-1349. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  27. ^ a b "Il dibattito su Israele e Palestina in Germania è diverso". Il Post (in Italian). 2023-10-30. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  28. ^ Florian Güßgen (2019-05-22). "Porträt einer Klimaaktivistin: Luisa Neubauer, die Laut-Sprecherin bei "Fridays for Future"".
  29. ^ Luisa Neubauer (2019-03-29). "Rede auf dem Grundsatzprogrammkonvent der Grünen" (YouTube-Video, 10:30 Minuten). YouTube.
    Markus Lippold (2019-03-30). "Der neue Grünen-Pragmatismus: Bloß nicht zurück in die Öko-Nische".
  30. ^ René-Pascal Weiß (2019-03-29). "Luisa Neubauer: "Wir sind gerade dabei, unsere Zukunft an die Wand zu fahren"". Interview
  31. ^ "Gipfeltreffen zum Klima: Merkel fehlt – Macron spricht mit Thunberg und Neubauer". Focus Online. 2019-05-10.
  32. ^ Luisa Neubauer im Interview: Wie war das Treffen mit Kanzlerin Merkel?, 20 August 2020.
  33. ^ Jonas Schaible: "Wir wollen Anführer". Greta Thunberg traf – gemeinsam mit Luisa Neubauer und zwei belgischen Aktivistinnen – Bundeskanzlerin Merkel. SPON, 20 August 2020.
  34. ^ "Wir haben es mit dem Kapitalismus übertrieben". Die Aktivistin Luisa Neubauer, 24, und Bundestagspräsident Wolfgang Schäuble, 78, streiten über die richtigen Antworten auf den Klimawandel, die Schuld der älteren Generation und die Langsamkeit der Demokratie. In: Der Spiegel, 27 October 2020, S. 30–33.
  35. ^ "Keiner behandelt die Klimakrise wie einen Notfall." Harte Angriffe kurz vor der Wahl: Greta Thunberg und Luisa Neubauer werfen Deutschlands Parteien kollektives Versagen im Kampf gegen die Erderwärmung vor. Ein Gespräch mit zwei Aktivistinnen. In: Der Tagesspiegel, 18 September 2021, S. 4.
  36. ^ Plickert, Philip (2019-02-16). "Grüne, Klimaschützer und Vielflieger". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  37. ^ Fleischhauer, Jan (2019-02-21). "Der grüne Übermensch". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  38. ^ Straßner, Alexander (2019-07-11). "Ein Hilfeschrei der Jugend? Eher ein Vorbote extremistischen Denkens". (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.

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