Prof. Dr. René Peinl is involved in the “Scientists for Future (S4F)” as a private person and as one of thousands of scientists. As part of this commitment, he was also involved in the International Climate Strike at a demonstration in Hof in September. S4F is an association that originally came together through signature lists. We spoke with Prof. Peinl.
Prof. Dr. Peinl, why do you participate in Scientists for Future, what are your motives?
As a father, I am even more aware than others of my responsibility for future generations, and I grew up very close to nature as a youngster. You can’t just close your eyes in the face of the facts that can’t be overlooked.
The initiative sees itself as the voice of science that “contributes to factual political discussions and, as a bridge builder, promotes dialogues and facilitates insights,” as it says on its website. How do you think S4F can help achieve climate, environmental and sustainability goals?
At Corona, we managed to listen to the scientists and, based on that, pushed through very drastic restrictions politically. No one wanted that, but it was necessary. In the case of climate change, much lighter restrictions would suffice, but we are hesitant because the consequences are not as immediate as with Corona. I hope that policy will be similarly consistent here soon.
The S4F were formed to support the Fridays For Future initiative. Why do the scientists support the students?
It’s great that young people have taken the first step here and that the issue is now becoming more present. But it’s all of our planet and we all have a responsibility. I don’t support the students, I support the climate and I support responsible action, just like the FFF supporters.
There are different regional groups, the closest one is in Bayreuth. Are you also organized in a local group?
I helped organize the Hof strike for World Climate Day 2019. Other than that, however, I am not organized.
What are you doing yourself in the private sector towards sustainability?
We have replaced one of our cars with an e-car. The second will be replaced next year by a plug-in hybrid of the latest generation. We have a photovoltaic system on the roof and buy green electricity. I myself try to eat less meat (4+ vegetarian days per week) and make longer business trips by train.
In March 2019, more than 26,800 scientist:s from Switzerland, Austria and Germany signed a statement under the headline “The concerns of the demonstrating young people are justified”. The scientists, united under the name Scientists for Future, expressed that the concerns were justified and well-founded. From a scientific point of view, the current measures for climate, species, forest, ocean and soil protection were far from sufficient. Among the signatories are several directors of research institutes.