We are the Camp for Climate Action in the city of Augsburg (Klimacamp Augsburg or Augsburger Klimacamp). Augsburg is an old city with Roman origin, the place with the most public holidays in all of Germany, with around 300,000 inhabitants the third biggest city in Bavaria and the twenty-third biggest city in Germany.
The camp started on the 1ˢᵗ of July 2020 and hence is the oldest climate camp of its kind in existence. The camp is a place of protest, activism, networking, teaching, learning and politics. Activists from all over Germany and even some other European countries have visited and stayed for some nights. Some went back home and started similar projects there. Some stayed in contact.
So far we have won every legal battle that threatened the existence of the camp. The plan is to stay until our demands are fulfilled or we run out of strength. There have to be two people in the camp at any time so that our camp is legally protected by the freedom of assembly and we can stay against the wishes of the city. In the beginning, we thought that we might be able to keep this up for a few days. With the support of many people (including lawyers) we have been able to maintain the camp for more than two years. The circle of supporters of the camp includes people of various age groups and all levels of education from schoolchildren to postdocs.
We echo a number of demands of scientists to the local government of Augsburg. These demands refer to climate justice, the transition to renewable energy, changes to the mobility sector in Augsburg, safeguards for local ecosystems and other policies.
At times the climate camp has a packed program of panel discussions, lectures, talks and other events. COVID, the weather and the fact that all events are organised by volunteers put limitations on the program that we are able to offer. Guests of events of the camp include scientists, climate activists, representatives of green citizen energy associations and politicians of local, state and federal level among others.
We inform about future events – sometimes on short notice, sometimes weeks in advance – in German on the Programm subpage.
The climate camp started on the 1ˢᵗ of July 2020 in protest of a federal law, which extended the phase-out of coal until 2038 and gave huge sums of money to coal companies. The camp is located directly next to Augsburg‘s famous town hall. Because of insufficient climate policies by our local government, we soon extended our demands with local issues and wrote them in an open letter to the city council. Friendly visits of our new neighbors in the town hall were met with calling the police and threats of the forceful removal of the camp. Despite a notice of eviction by the city we stayed next to the town hall and took legal action. The city lost and the notice of eviction was declared unlawful by the local court (Verwaltungsgericht Augsburg). The city filed an appeal against the court decision. Thanks to this we got the unlawfulness confirmed with much media attention by the Bavarian federal state court (Bayerischen Verwaltungsgerichtshof). The city respected the second court‘s decision and didn‘t file an appeal to the federal administrative court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht).
In autumn 2020 the city commissioned a study on possible measures for climate protection in Augsburg. Although we appreciate the commissioning of the study, our impression is that in the following year the city government used the incomplete study as a pretext for rejecting many good proposals for climate protection measures.
In the beginning of 2021 the city accepted one of our demands. The city accepted that 9.7 million tons of CO₂ is a fair carbon budget that Augsburg should strieve to adhere to.
Autumn 2021 saw the publication of the study commissioned by the city. The suggestions of the study are mostly compatible and in some cases even identical to our demands.
In December 2021 we had to move from the Fischmarkt between the town hall and the Perlachturm to the Moritzplatz 300 meters to the south. The reason for this was a report on the structural stability of the Perlachturm and the risk of stones from the tower hitting the camp. On the 12ᵗʰ of May 2022 we started the relocation back to the Fischmarkt. Sadly, the public order office (Ordnungsamt) used our relocation to reduce the space available to our assembly. Hence, since our return to the Fischmarkt, the camp is a bit smaller than it was on the first day.
Our plans for the future are to
- remind the city officials of our demands and the findings of the study that they themselves commissioned,
- continue to inform the public
- and work as a networking platform for climate activists.
Even if at one point we lose the ability to maintain the camp, we strieve to maintain our activity in other forms. The camp is already far more than the collection of tents and sleeping bags as which it started.
An incomplete list of past events in and around the camp can be found under Tagebuch (engl. diary) written in German.
We use image data from https://www.openstreetmap.org.
There are lots of interesting stories to tell. If you want to know how the history of the climate camp is linked to the persecution of climage justice activists by a certain department of Augsburg‘s police, then you can read https://www.pimmelgate-süd.de/en/.
We treat COVID seriously. In the beginning we had strict rules regarding masks, distance and the usage of tents and sleeping spaces. As of September 2023 most rules have been (temporarily?) relaxed.
Our social media presence is mostly in German.
There are other camps similar to ours, some of them also still active, some inactive. Some of their webpages are listed at https://www.klimacamp.eu/.
At least the camps in Erfurt and in Freiburg have English webpages.
The German Wikipedia maintains a list of active and past camps all over Germany.