Hallo allerseits! Heute sprechen wir über die Umwelt, ein sehr aktuelles Thema. In der letzten Wochen gab es viele Nachrichten über die Umweltschutz Demos. Die Demonstranten verlangen, dass Regierungen in Europa und dem USA einen ‚Klimanotfall‘ deklarieren, wie es einige schon haben. Was auch interessant ist, ein großer Teil der Demonstranten sind Kinder, die ihre Klassen verlassen, um über den Umweltschaden zu protestieren; jetzt unter den Namen ‚Fridays for Future‘. Die Idee: warum sollen die Kinder die Schule besuchen, wenn ihre Zukunft sehr unsicher ist – unser Planet ist in Gefahr, laut vielen Wissenschaftlern.

Putting all the recent news and developments with the environmental wars raging across the world aside, Germany itself has long been known for its commitment to protecting the environment. 33% of its energy comes from renewables and there are generous pay offs for any household which provide their own renewable energy. The Green Party is a lot more popular over in Germany than it is in the UK – being the fourth most popular party in the 2017 federal elections for the Bundestag, after the three main ones. The nation is also universally known as a trailblazer, with many new renewable energy installations being constantly developed in Germany every year.

Germany’s commitment to protecting the environment is ongoing; Germany taxes for behaviour which allows fossils fuels to be released, and reinvests the money into finding renewable solutions. Germany is also aiming to be completely de-nuclearized by 2022, because they do not see nuclear energy as compatible with a long term renewable energy strategy. The gaps in power production will be filled by renewables, gas turbines, and conservation.

It is perhaps no wonder that the Germans make the effort, with such a lot of natural beauty to protect – Germany has one of the most famous forests in the world, the Schwarzwald, the Alps in the very South, the river Rhein running through the West, many beautiful lakes and flatlands, stunning coasts and beaches in the north, as well as holiday islands such as Sylt and Rügen, where bicycles are 10 times more popular than cars, under its jurisdiction. However even cities such as Berlin are covered by huge amounts of greenery, with lakes and forests on the outskirts where people go to enjoy their weekends.

Austria and Switzerland, are both also supporters of the renewable energy campaign; Austria is one of the leading countries in Europe in the field of environmental policy – recognised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in its assessment of the new EU member states. Additionally in terms of waste management and air pollution, Austria has one of the strictest in Europe. Switzerland has a unique strategy on biodiversity, including the definition of protected zones leading the planning for the management of multiple habitats, to ensure that Switzerland’s many species can continue to thrive. They are also committed to preserving the quality of water, with renovation of existing water-treatment plants to be finished by 2023.

Austria and Switzerland, of course, also have the same motivation for the protecting their environment as the Germans do. Both countries are unquietly beautiful, with the majority of the Alps in them, as well as multiple lakes, some famous such as Lake Constance or Lake Geneva. Switzerland has Europe’s highest waterfall, Rhein falls, Austria has the Salzburg lakes and the Bregenzerwald, Switzerland has the Jungfrau region, the stunning Glacier express line and one of the most famous Alps, the Matterhorn, which rises like a shark fin above the small town of Zermatt. Both landscapes, because of the mountains, have changing temperatures all year round, each season bringing new beauty. The Austrians and the Swiss report feeling that the nature in their home countries is part of their national identity. Indeed the national sport is skiing, and in the summer, hiking. To let their nature suffer would be a crime in their eyes. This is perhaps why Austria and Switzerland are so committed to protecting the environment.

Overall, it can safely be argued that the main German speaking countries are some of the best in the world at protecting the environment in many different ways, and perhaps we could learn a lot from them.

Danke und bis nächstes Mal,

Hannah

Environment

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