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)

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)

Copenhagen, #flygskam and no masks

For a new client, I had to travel to Copenhagen last week. It originally started as a remote assignment, but we agreed on an initial, on-site meeting.

So, how to get from Cologne to Copenhagen? It’s not that far, about 370 miles (600 kilometers), about the same distance as Paris, Munich or Berlin.

Short-haul flights in Europe are out of the question. That left me with two options: Hiring a car and driving, or taking the train.

In times of Corona, I didn’t fancy the idea of spending almost 12 hours in a closed carriage with a large group of people, so I hired a car. Was that the right decision? I don’t know – I’ll revisit it for the next trip.

Here in Cologne, wearing a face mask in public places is mandatory. Not so in Denmark – there’s hand sanitizer and gloves everywhere, but nobody is wearing a face mask; shops and offices are almost back to normal. It felt somewhat strange, though.

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(Face mask by Gamescomwear)

Visions For Climate

During the weekend we had a networking event with for-Future climate activists from all over Germany and many other European countries.

Networking becomes ever more important in the climate justice movement, to unite and coordinate activities, as our governments fail to address the emergency we’re facing and even harbor plans to make it worse, by adding more fossil fuel power plants, such as Datteln IV or Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

The event was an Open Space, expertly facilitated by Jutta Weimar, Jens Wellendorf, and many supporters, who graciously donated their time and effort; results will now be forwarded to the local groups.

Vegan catering came from Fläming Kitchen, a so-called people-kitchen based in the Fläming region between Berlin and Leipzig – yum!

We were hosted at Max-Bill-Schule in Berlin Weissensee – many thanks to the director, Bernhard Klein, for having us!

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(Program schedule)

Barcelona by train

I recently went to Barcelona, to attend a concert by Adexe y Nau as part of the Festival Mil·lenni in Sant Jordi Club. Fantastic show, by the way!

For this first time, though, I made the whole trip by train and public transport, and it was surprisingly easy. No need to fly or hire a car.

And the CO2 emissions are much lower – highly recommended!

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(from EcoPassenger)

2020 Goals

Here are my goals for this year:

  • Further reduce my carbon footprint and continue to actively support Fridays For Future in the struggle to achieve climate justice
  • Reach at least a normal BMI, i.e. a BMI less than 24.9:
      • Reduce my weight below 174 lbs. (79kg) and start exercising
  • Submit at least three responses to Call for Papers / Meetup talks
  • Run regular Rancher meetups in Cologne
  • Process YouTube backlog, publish regularly on YouTube throughout the year, and improve my video and photo skills
  • Reach these Social Media milestones:
      • 10.000 Tweets
      • 1.000 Instagram posts
      • 100 YouTube videos
  • Earn enough credits to start my Bachelor thesis in early 2021

2020 must be the year in which CO2 emissions begin to drop!

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(#COP25 – posted by Aidan R. Gallagher)

Vagabundo

During the winter developer’s conference at Senacor Technologies AG in Nuremberg, they presented a nice little tool to measure and offset carbon dioxide emissions during business travel.

The tool is called Vagabundo and is realized using a serverless framework; it collects data from all business travels, calculates CO2 emissions and offsets them through Atmosfair – great approach at using technology to protect our climate!

It’s currently an in-house project, but Senacor seemed amiable to open-source it.

Much more than the offsetting part, I like the reporting – how much CO2 do I emit during travel and how could I optimize it?

Taking this a step further, I could see creating internal (team) competitions – who’s the best at having video conferences instead of in-person meetings? Who’s able to reduce air travel the most?

I think, there’re endless possibilities – anybody as interested as I am?

2019-11-16

End of an era

If we’re serious about protecting our climate, we need to show and apply the true cost of CO2 emissions to where they occur.

One business that will for sure suffer is the airline industry, especially the low-cost carriers – that most likely will not be a business model that can be sustained much longer.

Of course I do accept the necessary change and will adapt, but that’s where it hurts me the most personally, and I quietly mourn the ability to travel the world freely; it almost feels as if my wings were clipped.

But long distance trains are an option, too – if they weren’t so expensive … I really hope we will reintroduce sleeper carriages and over night trains in Europe!

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E-Mobility

Yesterday, the international Motor-Show in Frankfurt (IAA) saw a big protest, demanding an urgent change in politics towards eco-friendly mobility.

A lot of people think that this is only about the question which power train to use in a car.

Alas, it’s not. Even with an all-electric car, it’s still neither a good idea nor good use of resources to propel 2 tons of steel forward to get a single human being to work.

Rethinking mobility is much bigger and needs to focus on how to keep us mobile, with a strong focus on public transport and bicycles. It also includes questions like home office – why do people need to commute to work, if work could also commute to them?

If we’re serious about saving our planet, we need to stop putting individual car ownership on top of our agenda.

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(Deutsche Bahn, ICE 3, Cologne Central Station)

High School Exchange Year

Today our youngest son left with EF for a high school exchange year in Ireland.

It’s pretty difficult to let your kids go, but I am totally happy and excited for him, for the experiences he will make, the friendships he’ll forge, the adventures that await him and the difficulties he’ll have to learn to master himself.

And I’m insanely proud of him!

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(EI 0693, DUS-DUB)