The number of infections is slowly increasing again. Surprise! Not.
We knew that the new mutations would be more contagious, but still, our government refuses to acknowledge and prepare for the third wave.
A year ago Friday, right-wing terrorists murdered six people in Hanau (Hesse). There were vigils in their honor all over Germany as we still battle the underlying systemic racism in our security forces.
In Northrhine-Westphalia, the state government actively works against all measures to prevent the coming climate crisis and supports the fossil fuel industry, mainly RWE and E.ON.
Our first minister, Armin Laschet, has been caught red-handed, twisting the law to act against climate activists.
Our minister of the interior, Herbert Reul, is trying to outlaw activism outright.
Oh, NRWE – there’s a lot of work ahead!
(Red Rebels, Cologne, 2/20/21)
Still no end in sight; today, our government has tightened the contact restrictions again and extended the lockdown to the end of January. Quite rightly so, the infection rates are still way too high.
Even though we all know that the virus transmits from person to person, some politicians from our governing party advocate to lessen the restrictions and have more people die instead. I guess that’s all about shareholder value.
Also, RWE uses the lockdown to destroy more villages around the Garzweiler open-pit mine, even though we know that we won’t need the lignite anymore. Is that about shareholder value, too?
(Photo op, Zülpicher Platz, 1/10/21)
It came, and it went, my first virtual New Year’s Eve. Relatively uneventful, zooming with family and friends, and watching a Techno live stream on Twitch.
The start of the new year was not a big thing; we’re still in the first year of life in the age of pandemics, and nothing is going to change a lot in the short term. I hope that by the end of 2021, we will have made significant progress towards solving both crises, Covid-19, and the Climate Emergency!
To keep the momentum going, we started 2021 off with our first climate strike of the year, asking for #solidarity
(Climate strike, Haymarket, 1/2/21)
I’m happy to say that I reached most of my 2020 goals, except for my YouTube targets.
Here are my goals for this year:
- Continue to support Fridays For Future and the Climate Justice movement actively
- Maintain my weight and continue to exercise
- Move my transport needs to a (shared) cargo bike
- Continue regular (online) Rancher meetups in Cologne
- Write my Bachelor thesis and finish my studies
2021 must be the year in which CO2 emissions finally begin to drop!
(Final paper of 2020, Overleaf, 12/31/20)
My first ever entirely virtual Christmas – and it went quite well! And so will New Year’s, I hope.
As the lockdown goes on and social distancing rules remain in effect, I’m getting less and less anxious and more adapted to the “new normal” – I guess it will feel somewhat strange in late 2021 / early 2022 to meet people again in person regularly.
On a sad note, I have to mention that someone performed an arson attack on the Mahnwache in Hambacher Forst – luckily nobody got hurt, but why do people do something like this?
(Screenshot, extended Christmas walk, 12/26/20)
As expected, the current lockdown measures were not enough to slow the infection rates, and we will go into a much harder lockdown beginning Wednesday. Schools and shops will close, and contact restrictions will remain in place over Christmas and New Year’s.
Then there is still the other crisis, the looming climate emergency.
Two years ago, Fridays for Future staged their first climate strike in Cologne. In honor of this birthday, we dropped a giant banner on Deutzer Brücke to remind us to always #FightFor1Point5 and our politicians to #MakeParisReal.
(Fridays For Future, Heumarkt, 12/11/20)
The current measures do not reduce the number of infections enough; this week, state and federal governments will convene again to tighten the rules. Aside from Covid-19, we also had two significant events on the other crisis, the climate emergency:
On Friday, we had a scientist, Jason von Juterczenka, deliver a fascinating lecture on tipping points in our climate and how close we are on the road to the worst-case climate scenarios (RCP8.5).
On Sunday, we met the Eiffel tower en route from Dresden to Brussels to remind the EU government to keep the Paris Climate Accord.
(Eiffel tower and cathedral, Roncalliplatz, 12/6/20)
We haven’t been that successful in flattening the curve of infections, so it didn’t come as a surprise when our government announced an extension of the current measures until December 20.
Even though I understand the desire to lift the restrictions a bit over Christmas and New Year’s, I firmly believe that the virus won’t care. The current lockdown will most likely need to last until mid-February to slow the spread. For me, I plan to visit family and friends over the holidays virtually and avoid personal contact.
At the same time, the fight for the Dannenröder Forst continues.
(Your tax dollars at work, Volksgarten, 11/23/20)
Infection rates are dropping way too slowly; we will likely see an extension of the current lockdown at the next federal conference tomorrow.
Still, Police in the state of Hessen is using the lockdown to press ahead with the utterly unnecessary destruction of the Dannenröder Forst. And the Greens are keeping their silence.
All over the republic, activists are staging protests in support of the people defending the forest. Well done!
(Danni bleibt, Volksgarten, 11/23/20)
It’s not only the Dannenröder Forst or the open-pit mine Garzweiler where our politicians stick to the ideas of yesteryear and ignore the climate emergency.
In our fair city, Cologne, the city council is determined to destroy the city’s lung, the green belt, for our soccer club’s benefit. The club is not that successful, they play on and off in the Bundesliga, but they are well-liked in the city.
Soccer is quite emotional, making it quite challenging to speak out against their expansion plans; however, the city’s climate and its inhabitants’ well-being are equally essential. There are several good alternatives to their plans to destroy the Gleuler Wiesen.
With the looming climate crisis upon us, we should no longer destroy old habitats for the profit of a few!
(Climate strike, Gleueler Wiesen, 10/31/20)