Cologne goes green

On Sunday, we had local elections in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

In my home town, Cologne, the Greens reached a clear majority in both the city council and the boroughs.

Let’s make Cologne climate-neutral and keep it colorful, tolerant, and diverse in the years to come!

Stadt Koeln - Stadtrat

Stadt Koeln - Bezirksvertretung

(Source: https://wahlen.stadt-koeln.de/prod/KW2020/05315000/html5/index.html, 9/14/20)

Moria

The Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was a disgrace for a long time already.

A devastating fire recently left 12,000 people without food and shelter.

And our Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, offers to accept between 100 and 150 minors into Germany and calls it a robust humanitarian gesture – even though many cities and counties in Germany have offered to take in several thousand.

I’m utterly ashamed and disgusted.

#NotMyGovernment

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(Mario Sixtus on Twitter, 9/12/20)

September 25

On Friday, September 25, we’ll have the next global climate strike!

Fighting the climate emergency is as important as ever, and we need to keep up the pressure on our politicians.

Last Friday, we had a relatively successful dress rehearsal in Cologne and were able to validate the distancing concepts for the next big protest.

See you in the streets!

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(In the streets of Cologne, 9/4/20)

Pandemimimis defile parliament building

This weekend saw a big gathering of right-wing extremists and other Corona-deniers in our capital, Berlin.

During their protests, a group went to the stairs in front of our parliament building, brandishing the Reich’s hateful symbols – absolutely disgusting and shameful!

The Police should have prevented this, but they were sadly understaffed, with only three officers present in front of the parliament (according to media reports).

Maybe these officers protecting the commercial interests of RWE at the Garzweiler open-pit coal mine could have helped?

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(Alle Dörfer Bleiben, 8/30/20)

Travel

I miss travel. I miss attending concerts.

I have been traveling most of my life as part of my professional career and in my free time. Once I understood the climate emergency, I started to decarbonize my life and change the way I travel.

Then came Covid-19, and subsequently the shutdown.

Now travel is pretty much out of the question, and will probably remain very limited for the next couple of years.

There are quite positive aspects: Last week I attended a book club in New York. Yesterday I participated at the Heyou Awards in Gothenburg and then later at a concert in Madrid – neither would have been possible pre-Corona. I hope that we’ll keep the online accessibility for the future!

Early October I have tickets for a concert in Madrid – will I be able to go? Or will we be in lockdown again at that time?

Only time will tell, but I feel like my wings have been clipped. And I seriously lack content for my YouTube.

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(Heyou Awards Livestream, YouTube, 8/15/20)

World Mask Week

This week (August 7 – August 14) is World Mask Week.

Wearing a mask is the best tool we currently have to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and break the chain of infections.

By wearing a mask, I protect others from infection, in case I carry the virus.

Does this in any way infringe on my freedom or any constitutional rights that I have? Not at all – wearing a mask is about being a decent and considerate person.

Even the Google doodle dons a mask. And so can you!

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(Google doodle, Android, 8/5/20)

Anti-Sexist Social Club

Thursday last week I attended a great online meeting, organized by the Anti-Sexist Social Club and Next Gen Men; people from all over the world were attending.

Although I miss attending discussions in person, there’s a massive opportunity in remote events – I would not have been able to participate, had it taken place in New York.

During the event, Jackson Bird was reading from his memoir, Sorted, and Dane Woodland was reading from his collection of poems, transVersing.

The event focused on what we can do in the 2SLGBTQ+ community to be more inclusive and less sexist; all proceeds went to The Okra Project.

Many thanks to the organizers and their skillful moderation – I learned a lot, and I look forward to many more such events!

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(Sorted, Audio Book – I support Jackson on Patreon)

Sleeper trains

In the current climate (pun intended), traveling by train is the most ecological alternative.

Austrian Railways have understood this and are offering sleeper trains from Germany to Austria. Leaving Cologne in the evening, you arrive at Vienna central station early in the morning, with a full day ahead for meetings or sightseeing.

Swedish Railways have just announced plans for an overnight Stockholm to Brussels train, which would add a much needed East-West connection.

Alas, Deutsche Bundesbahn seems to ignore the opportunity.

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(NJ 40421 to Vienna, 8/1/20)

Perseverance

Space: The final frontier.

These are the voyages of the Mars Rover Perseverance. Its two-year mission: To drill and search for signs of past microbial life. To boldly search where no one has searched before.

Follow the launch and the full mission on Nasa’s Mars website!

And get your boarding pass 😎

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(Perseverance Boarding Pass, 7/26/20)

Corona & Weight

So far, knock on wood, I have been able to (almost) maintain my weight during the Corona pandemic.
Although we’re not under lockdown anymore, I spend most of my days indoors at my desk – there’s no commute, no shopping, no going out to the cinema, no meeting with friends.
The one app that helps me maintain a healthy dose of exercise is Pokémon Go. A virtual buddy helps me to socially distance while playing, and the gamification works well, compelling me to walk long distances every day.  And there’s no end in sight, neither for the pandemic nor for the game.
So – thank you, Niantic!

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(Shiny Gastly, Community Day, 7/19/20)