Bringing Berlin together

Election platform 2021 Chapter 5

Transformative education for an active shaping of our society

Education is more than transferring information. It is a social process that forms connections and positively strengthens the interests of the people. Education means participation - it is a tool that people are given to consciously shape their future. We see the promotion of systemic, innovative and critical thinking as the basis. We consider a positive learning environment, in which mistakes and the exploration of one's own strengths and weaknesses are seen as part of social coexistence, to be central.

Starting in the 7th grade, political education should become a central aspect of the curriculum. Students should be enabled to participate politically and to exercise their democratic rights, duties and opportunities in accordance with the guiding principle of being active citizens instead of informed spectators. This also implies basing school discussions of the climate crisis increasingly on the handprint concept rather than on the ecological footprint: joint impact on structures. Educators must be allowed and encouraged to critically reflect on the current political system at school. Students must be made aware of the fact that the system in place is in itself not neutral, but instead represents a permanent normative influence that promotes commercial growth. This focus on economic performance thus stands in opposition to achieving climate neutrality that is necessary for survival.

Important topics of our time are too often only addressed in schools selectively or in temporary projects - often through additional work of individual committed teachers or through cooperation with external partners, who are (can) only rarely be adequately remunerated. Structural changes and rapid digitization are necessary, but must be designed with the involvement of those affected - we demand a broad discussion and real participation! Initiatives consisting of teachers, social workers, parents and children have been dealing with the necessary transformation for a long time. The demands of some initiatives have been incorporated into our program and we see them as important partners.

For us, lifelong learning is not an empty phrase. Extracurricular educational opportunities must be accessible to everyone. Berlin has a museum landscape that is unique in the world. We make it accessible to all Berliners free of charge and continue to expand the educational program at museums and memorial sites. In doing so, we are pushing for a critical re-examination of colonial crimes and ensuring a greatly increased visibility of provenance research.

Sustainable school - radically diverse, equitable and climate positive.

The budget for the school sector must be massively increased. In addition to funding our proposed measures and implementing a comprehensive recruitment offensive, schools will be given their own budgets at their own disposal so that they can initiate experiments and model projects themselves.

We are advocating participatory school design. Climate, global climate justice, anti-racism, coming to terms with colonialism and local and global power and exploitation structures, critical economics, nutrition and conscious consumption will be firmly anchored as topics.

In addition, a re-examination of the shortfalls in climate policy will take place in the school, also in order to prevent intergenerational conflicts. The focus, however, is on the development and implementation of positive ideas for a sustainable Berlin! Our proposal for this: Pupils should spend a fixed day in the school week working on their own projects across all subjects and grades; teachers should provide support as needed. The "FREI DAY" concept of the initiative Schule im Aufbruch (school on the move) can be a model. The projects are supplemented by activities such as gardening, cooking together, visits to businesses and local projects, and discussions with scientists and transformation agents. In this way, social change can be experienced and grasped in a concrete way, and creativity is encouraged.

The Senate Administration produces material prepared by experts available on a central, low-threshold and interactive platform. Suggestions are also collected here on how climate-relevant topics can be given more space in the lessons of all subjects. The offer is supported by a permanent, interdisciplinary team of educationally relevant professional groups (e.g. craftsmen, artists, but also therapists), who provide individual developmental support and thus contribute to equal opportunities.

Last but not least, we will use all of the above-mentioned measures to alleviate the general pressure on the school system and all those involved in order to develop comprehensive time and space for personal development, community togetherness and team understanding. To implement these measures, we will provide teachers with the necessary time off during their working hours. In the future, classes will officially begin at 9 a.m., but doors will be opened earlier and care and individual support will be provided as needed.

Fighting discrimination in schools!

We are creating a functioning anti-discrimination office for the school sector, in which the perspective of those affected is in the foreground and which also has the necessary decision-making and instructional powers. Every teacher must participate in anti-racism and anti-discrimination training, supplemented by voluntary in-depth training and networking opportunities. The topic plays a cross-curricular role and is therefore integrated into the curricula accordingly and provided with working aids that are entered into the aforementioned interactive platform.

Making nature tangible

Classic nature and environmental education and nature experience allow children and young people to develop a personal relationship with nature. We will secure long-term funding for Berlin's coordination centers for nature and environmental education and enable more Berliners of all generations to experience nature. Kindergartens and daycare centers that do not yet have nature experience as an essential part of their activities will be supported to expand this.

Research: free and independent

We fight for a framework that makes Berlin a center of free research around the climate. This also includes an increase in the financial resources made available. Especially when it comes to climate, independent research must be ensured through publicly funded studies. The spectrum of research covers all disciplines and subject areas: Environment and nature, data and consumer protection, self-determination, social cohesion, digitalization, legal foundations, circular economy and resource consumption. All results of publicly funded research are made freely available. Research projects must be open to scrutiny from the perspective of sustainability and will be discontinued if necessary. Research in the areas of so-called armaments, weapons technologies and the promotion of fossil fuels will not take place in Berlin. Those who conduct externally funded research must disclose the interests of the donors in a transparency register.

Good universities for students and employees

Many problems of Berlin's higher education landscape become apparent in research funding: temporary research projects lead to precarious employment, the acquisition of third-party funding leads to dependencies. We are changing that!

This also means an end to pure project funding and temporary positions. Scientists need a secure basis for their work with permanent employment and long-term perspectives. The academic mid-level staff, once the backbone of universities and universities of applied sciences, must be massively strengthened, and the right of scientists to have a say must be greatly expanded. With us, Berlin will once again assume responsibility in this area.

After more than 20 years of the Bologna Process, it is time to counteract fundamental mis-developments: among other things, we will implement a right for bachelor's graduates to a consecutive master's degree and greater freedom in shaping their studies (more options and setting their own priorities).

Democracy needs good journalism

Are the media neutral? Is the reporting independent? We take these questions seriously. Because climate literacy needs independent journalism. And the climate crisis must be taken seriously in editorial offices. In fact, corporations are responsible for our daily print and online products. The structure of the steering committees of public service media must be revised in the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty. Political influence must not be allowed to override the public mandate. In addition, a large proportion of journalists work under precarious professional conditions, as freelancers, on call, for low fees. It is high time for a broad debate on the role of the media in our democracy. To this end, we are initiating a comprehensive dialog with all stakeholders, including not only traditional organs but also social media and the Internet. It's about structural and professional aspects. But also about questions of power and the role of the state, which is increasingly interfering through selective funding measures. We need solid conditions for truly free journalism that does justice to its core tasks of information and criticism.

Food and agriculture

Good food for everyone

Balanced nutrition is the basis for a healthy life. This begins with the production of food: regenerative, organic and regional for all we want to make the standard. Berlin and Brandenburg are self-sufficient together. In the city, permaculture gardens at public institutions and urban gardening are particularly suitable for this. The use of herbicides and pesticides is prohibited - even in allotment gardens. We further promote biodiversity by planting at least 25% of all green spaces in an insect-friendly way.

Veggie Day every day

In public canteens, in the provision of meals on wheels, in the kitchens of schools and universities, healthy meals of regional, organic and, if possible, regenerative agriculture are offered, which are produced in a socially just manner. From 2025, only animal-free meals will be served in publicly financed institutions, as this will massively reduce emissions and environmental pollution. We also want to ensure that sugar is taxed more heavily and dosed appropriately in our food. In ten years, plant-based menus will be a matter of course throughout Berlin. And until then, plant-based meals will always be cheaper than animal-based alternatives.

The dignity of animals is inviolable

Animals are sentient beings. Every animal has its dignity, which we are obliged to respect. A society in harmony with nature must develop a new relationship with our fellow beings. In the sense of climate justice, which should go hand in hand with social justice, we position ourselves against any form of discrimination, this also includes discrimination against animals and speciesism. We advocate an immediate end to factory farming and demand that animals should not be subjected to torture under any circumstances. Therefore, we will legislate more extensive animal rights and control their application far more than is currently the case. Within these laws, animals shall be recognized as individuals and no longer just as products. Animal experiments will become superfluous in the long term by supporting new research methods. Profit interests must never be at the expense of animal welfare.

Food for thought

Staff in canteens and school kitchens receive professional training based on the latest knowledge and are supported by nutritionists. We ensure that the meals offered are healthy, varied and tasty. The menus also stimulate the desire to experiment at home. Comprehensive nutrition education provides a better awareness of what food is good for one's well-being and health. We want to abolish our current food pyramid, which is influenced by food corporations. New guidelines should be based on current independent research. We will also address the consequences for the local and global environment, the actual production costs of subsidized food, and the working conditions in agriculture. If we know how our food is produced, we can better appreciate it.

In order to fully educate and sensitize the Berlin population about all the interrelationships of their food, the issue of speciesism will also be clearly named and integrated into school education, among other things. Today's economic system, in which animals are seen as mere means of production, will be openly and critically questioned. All factors and connections that have led to and contributed to today's system, which exploits animals, humans and the environment, should be clearly named and pointed out.

No waste of food

Grocery stores and restaurants will no longer throw away their leftover food. They will be required to donate it or make it freely available to the public. This can be made possible through donations to the food bank, through so-called fair share distributors, or by legalizing dumpster diving through federal law.

To tackle the problem at its root, the overproduction of food will be successively reduced. To this end, we are promoting the direct supply of food to end consumers from farms in Brandenburg.

Nutrition education is a matter for schools

Teachers and students learn more about "our daily bread" in training courses. A school subject dedicated to the relationship between "climate, nutrition and health" becomes part of the curriculum, supplemented by practical cooking exercises and lessons in the school's own garden. The students will also disseminate their findings to the general public. Appropriate training will also be mandatory for medical staff, since medical professionals and employees in hospitals and therapy facilities are also important multipliers.


Focusing on people

Global warming and ongoing environmental degradation are causing major health and psychological burdens and are responsible for around 13% of annual deaths in Europe. Temperature increase, loss of biodiversity and human land grabbing also increase the risk of further pandemics. Climate protection is active health policy. It consists of preventive measures and better care for consequential damage. We will provide Berlin with a comprehensive heat warning system that will inform the people of the city of impending dangers in good time and with pinpoint accuracy. Air and water quality will be constantly monitored. Counseling centers for ecological grief and climate anxiety and adequate care services for the increased need for psychosocial support of those affected will be set up by us. We will take care of people in existential stress situations caused by the climate crisis, heat waves or pandemics. We make these problems public and solve them together.

A climate-friendly healthcare system

The pandemic has shown that we need a different health and care system: privatized structures are inefficient. Profit orientation leads to chaos. Instead, the people who work in the healthcare system need to be strengthened: We want to make shorter working hours, more vacation, secure employment and significantly higher pay through nationwide collective agreements the standard. Medicines and vaccines must become a global commons, since globally spread diseases can only be defeated globally. We advocate that medicines and vaccines can no longer be patented and that their production is instead freely and publicly documented. What is paid for by the public must also belong to everyone.

Here, too, emissions must be consistently reduced. This applies to the energy supply of all buildings, the mobility of the healthcare sector and the production of medicines. We want to make hospitals energy-autonomous. Drive ambulances electrically. The expansion of virtual consultation hours and meetings will be advanced. People with disabilities will be actively supported instead of additionally hindered by bureaucratic defenses and delays. They will be offered assistive devices and driving opportunities free of charge and without limits.

Mental health and activity

Stressful situations and emergencies such as the COVID19 pandemic have shown the importance of general awareness to strengthen health. Play, sports and exercise, a balanced psyche and stable social contacts in family and neighborhood must be possible at all times. Likewise, every Berliner should always have the opportunity to get out into nature for health purposes. The numerous new green spaces will help in this regard.

In addition, the topic of drug abuse must be de-tabooized and revisited. Education and prevention are to be massively expanded, with the danger of alcohol finally becoming part of the social debate. It is time for the decriminalization of cannabis. The fruitless debate around this issue has gone on for far too long - solutions are on the table. We are implementing them, together with medical professionals, the administration and the police. In addition, we will significantly strengthen and support projects based on the safer use principle in Berlin. We will make it possible for regionally produced products to be sold in appropriate places.

Living therapeutic freedom

For over 40 years, the Transsexual Act has restricted the basic rights of over three million people in our country and pathologized them. We advocate for a rewrite of the law that provides freedom of name and therapy choice for all trans, intersex, and nonbinary people living here.

Be prepared for emergencies

COVID19 has brought home to us: Our system is not equipped to deal with large-scale crises like pandemics. Chaos, ancient technology, and leadership failures have cost numerous lives. Many more have suffered health and psychological damage. Trust in state structures has suffered.

When it comes to climate, we focus on avoiding catastrophes. That's why we listen to science and, as a country, keep to our fair CO2 budget. At the same time, we have to prepare for emergencies. The people of Berlin have a right to expect their city to protect them. For this, Berlin needs modern disaster protection based on science and ethics. This includes shelters against heat, digital and analog hazard warning, water and food supplies for emergencies, and clear emergency and phased plans for pandemics. It is also important to help people help themselves in a strong, supportive community. Regular first aid courses for all people should be a matter of course.

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