How German activists made treehugging mainstream.
While the United States’ congressional machinery was busy shoveling sugar into its own gas tank last month politicians in Germany pressed forward on their ambitious drive for sustainability.
Boosted by a fresh mandate in the September elections German leaders pressed on with their country’s ‘Energy Transformation’ a campaign designed to ignite a renewables revolution and slash greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050.
As Germany begins powering down its coal plants and nuclear reactors one by one – solar stations and windmills are appearing around the country by the tens of thousands.
U.S. climate activists have been quick to valorize Germany’s recent restructuring.
Bill McKibben of 350.org has called Germany the greenest industrial nation on earth.
‘Munich is north of Montreal!’ he likes to point out – emphasizing that the cold and cloudy capital of kraut is already capable of generating half of its electricity from solar power — and that the rest of the world’s sunnier – windier and more seismically active countries no longer have an excuse not to follow suit.
There is good reason for painting Germany as the poster child of the possible.
As McKibben has noted – a north European ski paradise isn’t the likeliest of places to be spearheading a global energy revolution.
In 1945 – just two generations ago – Germany was more or less a country of rubble – its population decimated by a genocidal war and its territory controlled by four increasingly discordant occupying forces.
As recently as 1990 it remained bifurcated by the Iron Curtain – a quarter of its population residing in a Soviet police state with a dismal environmental record.
Mainstream U.S. commentators regularly chalk up German environmental efficiency to some innate orderliness in the eternal German spirit.
But make no mistake: The secret to Germany’s sustainability success has been the relentless and unapologetic application of populist direct action.
From 1975 – when 30,000 Germans caught the world’s attention by storming and occupying a proposed nuclear plant for 10 months – to just this past October when clean energy activists dumped coal outside the workspaces of environmentally friendly politicians who had not gone far enough – confrontation has pumped the heart of progress.
(ed:..here we sit in a wind-blown/ocean-battered/sun-soaked/thermal-wonderland..all the ingredients for the needed transformations..
..and what is this government doing..?..issuing a raft of new oil-drilling licences..doing nothing about our filthy-rivers/waterways.(suitable-for-wading-only their clean bill-of-health..how cynical/blackhearted is that..?..eh..?..)..totally dragging their heels in every way possible..
..and as a significant ‘up-yours!’ to the winds/voices of change – are about to buy another fleet of gas-guzzling bmw limos for their government ministers..
..100% clean/green new zealand is a pile of stinking/steaming bullshit..
..a con-job we are trying to run on the rest of the world..
..and i think it is clear that activists here must take a leaf or two from the german greens’ action-book..eh..?..
..for anything meaningful to start to happen..
..and as an aside – good to see greenpeace here widening their gaze from large seaborne mammals to matters on land/closer to home – with their drawing attention to the products from thai-slave-fishing in animal-food products..
..maybe now/next focus on the humans profiteering from/eating this slave-produce..eh..?..
..then you/they could move on to the daily atrocities committed in the domestic farming-industries..
..y’know..!..those ones who have/are so polluted/ing our wade-only waterways..eh..?..)