With Omicron on the horizon, (Delta) incidence figures are still going down in Cologne; they are at 255 right now.
Looking at the UK, Denmark, and the Netherlands, we should probably go into a complete lockdown right now – alas, nobody wants to take the responsibility (or blame) for doing that over Christmas.
Our RKI is asking for maximal contact reductions, though – we plan to stay home over Christmas and New Year and hope everybody else will do the same.
On a positive note, our move went well so far, and the new office space is coming along nicely.
(Pikachu on the shelf, Cologne, 12/17/21)
The incidence in Cologne is further down, at 110 right now.
As the weather turns cold outside, people are (hopefully) settling back into their stay-at-home routine. The pandemic is still very present, and the virus is still quite deadly; the fourth wave has started.
This weekend marks 20 years of 9/11, with President Biden leading a day of nationwide grief and remembrance.
In Munich, a big car show, IAA, took place. We still haven’t realized that the necessary change in mobility does not mean simply replacing the power train.
The climate emergency is real, and we need to re-think mobility from the ground up. Alas, our governing party and their leading candidate do not get that at all.
But: Elections are coming up soon!
(Open Space Königsplatz, München, 9/11/21)
We’re still in lockdown, and the curfew is still in effect, but the infection rates are finally going down. There is cautious optimism for the summer, and some people are already thinking about traveling for vacation – I’ll wait until 2022, I think.
After months of rallies, we had our first bicycle demonstration on Friday – six feet apart and wearing masks, of course.
It’s time to look at who’s financing the fossil fuel industry, and in Germany, the Commerzbank is heavily involved.
I think we shall make sure that their customers and shareholders know this during the next couple of months.
(Commerzbank Cologne, Unter Sachsenhausen, 5/14/21)
This week brought us two new words: “Bundesnotbremse” (Federal Emergency Brake) and “Brückenlockdown” (Bridge Lockdown).
They are both symptomatic of a complete and utter failure by our government to adequately address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not to mention the anemic progress in vaccinations. Sigh.
We know that the greatest danger of infection is when we are in groups inside a room – shouldn’t we all be working in a home office then? Asking for a friend.
On a slightly sad note, the Hoky Popi festival in Santander got canceled. Not unexpected, but I was looking forward to it nevertheless.
(Hoky Popi cancellation, Twitter, 4/12/21)
The numbers are still not that good, and we’re most likely looking at an extension of the lockdown.
Meanwhile, let’s talk about arts and culture, what has changed for me during the lockdown and what I believe will continue:
- Movies: I used to go to the cinema a lot – I love movies. Naturally, the major streaming providers have taken on a much more significant role in my life. I happily pay for renting movies now that I would have watched in the cinema before and might continue to do so in the future.
- Concerts: Less often, but still quite a lot of times I would go to live shows, sometimes even far away ones. During the lockdown, a couple of online tour providers have come up, such as StageIt or Moment House – it’s not the same experience, but I can and do attend many more venues digitally now than before in person. Hopefully, I will be able to continue this in the future, too.
- Clubs: Another favorite. Here’s Twitch coming to the rescue, with many event streams and easy support options, for example, for TLL – a club several hundred miles away that I would have never visited if it wasn’t for Corona.
So, at the same time, Corona has reduced my mobility and enhanced it; let’s see what the future holds!
On a side note, spending many hours in front of the computer warrants an upgrade to the interface, and I now have a shiny new gaming mouse:
(input,hiddev1,hidraw4: USB HID v1.11 Keyboard [ROCCAT ROCCAT Kain 120] on usb-0000:02:00.0-6.3/input2)
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.
(Heyou Awards Livestream, YouTube, 8/15/20)
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.
(NJ 40421 to Vienna, 8/1/20)
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.
(Face mask by Gamescomwear)
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!
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!