Roland DürreSaturday November 17th, 2012
Last Tuesday, Wilfried Bommert of the WDR was our guest at Unterhaching. Wildfried Bommert is a well-known expert when it comes to “feeding the world”. He also published several books on the subject. Currently, he and a few partners are establishing the Berlin “Institut für Welternährung”.
Our last presentation in the series “living and surviving in a sustainable way” was yet again another highlight of the 2012 IF Forum. Herr Bommert deliberately kept his presentation very short and concise. We had planned this, because, after all, we wanted to produce an attractive video recording for Youtube as an extra value.
I think we succeeded. Every single sentence uttered by Herrn Bommert was right on target. Without employing unnecessary emotions and questionable judgements, he reported facts in a very objective way and came up with simple, logical conclusions.
Consequently, there was a long discussion after the presentation. It was extremely constructive and passionate. And we agreed: the messages sent by Herrn Bommert are important. He demonstrated in a very simple and rational way how feeding the world dangles on a thin string. And how easily this string could and perhaps will break.
However, Herr Bommert also showed us ways to change matters. And he also showed us that it is, indeed, possible for us to prepare for the time after our stupid and eventually fatal economic habits will have caused a collapse. Consequently, his finishing lines after a very thought-inspiring list of facts and judgements were rather nice and optimistic.
With Vienna sausages and meatloaf (of course from the butcher Schlammerl of Ottobrunn), we spent quite some more time discussing things in small rounds. And finally, when the hot spiced wine and ginger bread were served – also from a local bakery: Götz of Taufkirchen – the general atmosphere was one of courage in view of a possible future and joy about all the interesting information and the culinary delicacies.
I already look forward to watching the video recording by Friedrich Lehn. As soon as it is finished, we will make it available for you on all our diverse Youtube channels.
Here are a few pictures to refresh your memory and maybe arouse your appetite for the video.
Wilfried Bommert talking to Mr. and Mrs. Gerlach. Thomas Gerlach works for the Bayerischer Rundfunk. He was the one who first introduced Herrn Bommert to me.
The introduction to the presentation. It will start right away …
As so often, all pictures were taken by our Rolo Zollner.
Roland DürreSunday August 26th, 2012
During the vacation I spend in the wild South of Greece (Peloponnes, Mani), I sometimes read a few of the internet “information pages”: ARD, SZ, Spiegel and such.
And I notice that remarkably often the news sound helpless. Take, for instance, mobility. Here is what I read:
Even the vehicle that won the VCD price for being equipped with the most economical combustion motor still produces far too much carbon dioxide. Electronic cars are nowhere near coming onto the market. Fuel prices skyrocket…
And then there comes the fear:
What will happen to the backbone of the German industry – automobile industry?
To be sure, the fear seems justified. But here, too, there are solutions. And we definitely should concentrate more on the solutions. Also in the “news“. Wouldn’t it be nice if the media were to spread less helplessness and fear, and instead work at a concept for the future?
Our future will be characterized by change. Because the change we need will happen. In fact, it is already under way. This change will and must happen with our collective and individual awareness. We have to change our mental concepts. And that is what we will do, simply because we will have to do it. The process will be a part of the evolution, supported by our world-wide network through the internet.
And here it begins. Even as I write this, more and more people try to coordinate work and life better. Many use public transportation or their bikes more often than they used to. And they will probably soon use the electro scooter. We will have to and will manage to make our mobility, along with our entire lives, a little more “decroissant”.
In many areas, the hierarchic structures dissolve, being replaced by networks. Entrepreneurial initiatives substitute systemic realizations. Strict interconnection is replaced by lose interconnection, central control makes way for self-control. This will be particularly necessary in complex social systems, and that is where it will happen. Maybe this could also indicate how we might solve our “current problems”, such as EU and EURO.
More and more people start changing their habits. They refuse to be made part of the marketing mechanism. They reduce their consumption. They no longer want status symbols. They are more nutrition-conscious. They get joy in their lives from what is really important to them. They prefer being something to seeming something. They get more critical and autonomous and will no longer accept being told what to think by religions and associations.
If we want change, we need no federal programs. They would be no help, because what must happen has to come from deep inside ourselves. It might be a good idea to do without subsidies and regulations, because they will certainly not help us. The development of our awareness and our values must happen in a fair discourse, free from suppression. And it has already started.
Parallel with this, all we have to do is act. Decentralization is the motto. We all together, as well as every individual person, must do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong. It is quite simple, isn’t it?
(Translated by EG)
Werner LorbeerFriday June 29th, 2012
“8% interest is too much for the Southern European nations“. – “If the Euro fails, Europe fails“. What pitiful sentences!
Yet the historical truth is so near. Firstly, the ratings of the Southern countries (and of others, too) were certainly wrong. The agencies gave their readers the wrong impression of security and should be admonished for it. But they certainly should not be admonished for now slowly approaching the truth.
As to the market: now, as they took off the blindfold, the players on the market want to get rewarded for the risk they took. Well, to be sure, this is now the only way to wake the political classes from their dreamy fantasies: I do not believe in < self-imposed moderation as Germany propagates it. But considering the moderation effect of interest rates, I would be quite optimistic.
A consequence of this would be that the gentlemen JunkerHollandeMontiundCo would not get interest assistance. But, ladies and gentlemen, feel free to put all your – certainly considerable – wealth into southern state government bonds.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be a mouse and listen? Which government bonds do Roth and Steinbrück buy? Do they really, out of sympathy, only buy those from Greece, Portugal and Spain? And then, when finally the entire mountain collapses, we will dance Sirtaki with Anthony Quinn: “Don’t be sad, dear boss, life is too short”.
In order to show the truth about what nations can stomach and what they actually did stomach in the past, you can look at the figure below. It shows 10 years of government bonds and I took it from Markt-Daten.de.
In the past, many nations successfully coped with higher interest rates, for instance the FRG when we had to finance the re-unification. I remember well the malice at the financial centre of London when they saw our high interest rates – did any of them volunteer to help us finance them? No. All over the financial centre of London they were quite happy with the high German interest rates.
But now let us enjoy the life of this summer, all the Junkers, Roths, Steinbrücks, Trittins and the other good people! This is the end of investment, the end of the film, Anthony Quinn and the duped financier. There is no alternative. Here we have life without old age, without civilization, living now and ignoring tomorrow… how thoroughly nice and absent-minded.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreMonday June 4th, 2012
Thinking of EU at night,
makes me sleepless and contrite;
I can no longer close my eye
s and hot tears flow until I rise.
(Heine Heinrich – Nachtgedanken – Source)
After one week in Southern Bohemia, I am now back in Münich. It was an intense experience to spend a week in Bohemia in the Czech Republic. For me, it was the first time in the country. Regardless of the distance being so small, it always seemed a far-away country.
And on arriving back home, I start getting thoughtful about Europe. Do we need a centralized Europe or a Europe of regions? Do we need a system of government levels, or do we need a Europe with autonomous administrations and regional cooperation? Do we need a Europe of cultures or of bureaucratic systems? Do we need a Europe with no end of laws or a Europe according to the principle of subsidiarity?
And then I notice that we are currently trying to form a Europe that cannot function in this way.
We abolished borders and customs duties. There are no longer any controls and products can be freely exchanged. Except that, perhaps, we did not spend enough time thinking it through. And we forgot that there are enormous differences. Not just cultural differences, but also economical differences.
And that in some countries people only earn a fraction of what they earn in other countries. And that our capitalist economical order takes advantage of everything that might help maximize the profit in some way.
When we introduced the EURO, we also completely forgot to use our brains. The one and only strategy was: a free run for the economy and its most powerful players – the banks and concerns.
And as soon as night came, you saw the consequences…
Of course, I am more than happy about European countries finally more or less no longer fighting each other. First it was the hereditary enemy, France, along with its French inhabitants. I myself experienced how in the mid-1960ies, when I stayed with a French family as an exchange student, their friendship with another family was terminated just because they were having me stay with them. The former friends simply found it totally beyond understanding how a patriotic French person could agree to a student exchange program that involved “sales boches” (dirty Germans).
And a few decades later, we also have made more or less our peace with the Poles and the Czechs. That, too, was a gigantic achievement. Even with the Serbs, we slowly make progress, as I experienced when I rode my bike to the Black Sea.
All those things were well done. Today, there seems to be a tendency in the opposite direction. Because once again we – at least from the perspective of other nations – are acting really “in the most significantly German way”. And then I realize what seems to be missing:
We have no social concept for this our Europe. All we do is defend a hopeless currency. More and more laws are introduced. We are torn between Big Power addiction and world lobbyism.
The only thing Europe seems to be concerned with is how to satisfy the economy. How to avoid a distortion of competition.
But we have no concept how to develop our Europe. Do we want a Europe that continues to be trodden down by cars? Or do we want a Europe where we count on a new and cooperative mobility? Do we, as Europe, want to continue putting all hopes in nuclear energy, without worrying in the least about how to get rid of the waste? Are we taking climate protection seriously?
Do we want a Europe with excessive abundance – or a Europe with less wastefulness? Do we want a Europe that means the survival of the planet and human rights? Or do we want a Europe that continues prospering by exploiting third parties and nature?
Is „economic growth“ really the ultimate benchmark? Or would it not be better for a new Europe if we had the motto “less is more”? Maybe it would be a good idea to get back to paying adequately for a job well done? And maybe it would be nice if people had to work less, instead of having to spendt most of their time doing things that, when all is said and done, not only fail to make them happy but even make them ill?
Of course, in an enlightened Europe, the future belongs to women in the same way as to men. But are day-care centres really the solution? Is it a good idea if mothers have to take their children there six months after the birth, because our economic system – which is based on wastefulness – needs their manpower? Can we not think of other models suitable to provide the right measure of ”life balance“?
Do we want a Europe where prosperous protectors of acquired possessions dominate, or where change is possible? Do we want a Europe for families? A Europe that tries to preserve the planet? Or a Europe excessively celebrating the last world-wide party on the doomed planet in make-believe prosperity?
These are the kinds of questions on my mind.
Yes, I would like to have a de-centralized, enlightened Europe of cooperative, autonomous and responsible regions. A strong Europe. But still a Europe without the ambition to be a super-power. In other words, I want a Europe that does not see itself as the police force of the world.
In my opinion, these issues are not necessarily something you need to vote upon. But you should discuss them. Because I believe democracy lives more through debates and discussions of values than through votes. And I also believe that, before coming up with wisecracks and stupid laws, you should take a closer look at what it is like to live in all those countries. Mind you, that closer look should happen from the bottom – not as a visiting dignitary.
Those are exactly the things I miss when travelling through the near and yet so far neighboring countries: a policy that understands itself as representing the interests of the people with their actual situation in life and driven by the richness of Europe’s cultures.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreFriday June 1st, 2012
Well, Southern Bohemia is definitely one challenge. First and foremost, it is really beautiful: gently rolling hills, romantic scenery with many forests and small villages. The roads connecting those villages are still as narrow as I remember them at home when I was a child, which is the most sensible thing I can think of.
The place where we arrived and depart from, Jindřichův Hradec, with its approximately 21,000 inhabitants is a colourful village. We discover impressive buildings, much water and a pedestrians’ zone full of life.
Our horse-drawn wagon is called Obelix. It, too, makes me wonder. Allegedly, it weighs a ton. On board, you will find a small kitchen, four beds and many other useful devices. Still, this huge covered wagon weighs a lot less than a normal middle-sized car. To be sure, Sita, our horse, adds another almost 800 kilograms to the total.
The team can do about 30 kilometres per day. If you change horses, you might manage twice the distance. I am sure many vehicles powered by electricity will be happy to hear this, because they can beat it easily.
But you have to keep in mind that the only thing we have “under the engine hood” is Sita, our horse. In other words, we are one horse strong. Yet this one horse is definitely preferable to modern power in many ways.
For instance, we enjoyed a wonderful week in this covered wagon travelling through Southern Bohemia, which before had been totally unknown territory to me. If you consider how near to Bavaria it is situated, I almost have to say I am ashamed I have never before been there.
We had a wonderful time. Everybody we met was friendly. The food always tasted delicious and we were able to enjoy fresh air. Some nights were a little colder, some were quite warm, but on the whole, we managed to survive them quite well in our covered wagon. We had lots of fun.
Everything had to be paid in Czech Crowns. It felt nice to see a different currency when on vacation and I enjoyed having to do the quick calculations of the prices. After said calculations, we were often surprised and sometimes even shocked to discover how cheap you can get the daily necessities. The only thing that is a little more expensive than at home is fuel. For the locals, however, one litre of fuel costs the equivalent of a fortune. Consequently, I am quite surprised to see what sorts of people believe they have to go by car even here.
It seems that the Czech Crown gains in value relative to the Euro all the time. If you keep in mind how cheap not only the beer in the pub but also the entire life is for us in Bohemia, that makes a lot of sense.
Today in the afternoon, we will start our journey home. At 14:43 hours, our train will leave Jindřichův Hradec for Pilsen. Since we want to buy some provisions, we have to start by bike an hour earlier.
In Pilsen, we will change trains. The Alex “Albert Einstein” is to take us to Munich. Around midnight, we are scheduled and wish to be at home in Ottobrunn.
At least, that is our plan. We already know it is not going to happen. Gudrun, who went the same way yesterday, told us about a considerable delay. She had to take two busses where no trains were active. On our way out, we also had to go a detour. It caused two extra hours on the way.
This is the current situation of the infra-structure in the middle of Europe. And starting next Monday, we will witness another round of worries about the EU and Greece? Isn’t it just perverse.
Whatever. Some way or other, we will manage to arrive in Munich. And if the train is running too late and the connection cannot be made at all, we will have to look for a hotel in Pilsen. Then we can enjoy another day in beautiful Bohemia.
No, we are not worried. On the contrary. It was so nice that we decided to ride through the Czech Republic on our next bike tour in July and definitely not give the cold shoulder to Bohemia.
And in August, we go to Greece – and we will again enjoy the fact that Greece and the EURO find it so hard to go together.
(Translated by EG)