VDE Präsident Alf Henryk Wulf

VDE Präsident Alf Henryk Wulf

| Sarah Kastner / VDE
2023-06-30 publication

From the street to the lecture hall

An appeal from VDE President Alf Henryk Wulf

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VDE dialog - the technology magazine

It has been a long time since we last saw a new generation as politically active, energetic and confident in their cause as today’s young people. Their demands: “Stop global warming”, “Achieve the 1.5-degree target”, “Climate neutrality by 2045 at the latest”. The list goes on, and every single point is correct and justified. But it’s not enough to just take to the streets, and people gluing themselves to the streets won’t solve the problem, either.

That’s why I find myself wondering: how can we better communicate to children and young people that protests alone won’t change anything? Certainly, the Fridays for Future movement is hugely important when it comes to shaking things up and opening everyone’s eyes to the problem. Now, however, it’s a matter of turning words into action. Policy-makers need to create the conditions for this, but then it’s up to us to work together on what needs to be done.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves. To take responsibility! And to do that, we need all the concerned young people out there. They have clearly recognized the signs of the times and are worried about the world. Now they have to show that they really are willing to improve it together with us.

Yes, we need a fundamental transformation – in energy, as well as in heat and mobility. We’d be wise to implement an all-electric society as soon as possible! But to do that, we also need young people who want to make this profound change in our economy and society possible; who want to question the way things are and make something new. We need young people who are creative, innovative and enthusiastic to develop the necessary technologies and help implement them.

Studying electrical engineering provides a basis for tackling all these issues and making our country fit for the future. That makes the dramatic decline in students and graduates and the resulting shortage of skilled workers in this field all the more worrying. If we fail to turn things around, we’ll just be left with demands and empty words. We cannot let that happen!