The following speech was held on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting of the Steinwald Nature Park in April 2018 by the Chairman of the Nature Park, Eberhard Freiherr von Gemmingen-Hornberg. The editors of the Environmental Watchblog thanked for the permission to publish the speech in the original wording.
Many are thinking about the future of our homeland. What's next? What changes, what remains? Many are worried about changes. What characterizes our region here in northeastern Bavaria? Does what we love stay with us? What worries us most? The change? The demographic change? The climate change? Is every change automatically bad?
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I think it is very justified to think about the future of the homeland. It helps to define which are the great strengths of our homeland. Of course, the greatest strengths are the people first. But some say that there are almost no people here soon! The Damocles sword of demographic change hovers over us.
Does it really do that? Well, the predictions and wonderful calculations that could spoil our sleep a few years ago have not arrived, or only partially. The vacancies are becoming less, the boys are moving away, and the population is dwindling less than calculated. The quality of rural life is slowly being discovered. If development continues, demographic change need not be our biggest problem.
So it can be climate change - and that brings me to nature. A great value of our home, a huge asset, is the scenic beauty, the low mountain range, relative unspoiled nature, harmony, tranquility. This is a strong unique selling proposition that many other regions have already lost.
We are well advised to recognize, preserve and protect it. We do not have Zugspitze, Cologne Cathedral and Lake Constance. But our greatest treasure, our scenic beauty, our halfway intact nature ... is in danger. And the danger comes from a corner where you would not immediately suspect it.
In the past, conservation and environmental protection were virtually the same thing. A small conservationist on site usually had the big picture, environmental protection, in the sights. That has changed. Today nature and environmental protection are often considered separately, and even played off against each other.
In the meantime nature protection is sacrificed for the protection of the environment. As bizarre as that may sound, the battle concept for this is climate change.
Everything is subordinated to the fight against climate change. He determines other topics do not count. Apparently, climate change is our biggest and also our only problem. Land use? Landscape destruction? Bird and bat murder, large amounts of poison on the area? Loss of biodiversity? Insects dying? These are nature conservation topics! But they are suddenly unimportant, because we have to save the climate. Of course only in Germany.
One likes to describe one's own actions as "eco" or "biological", "eco" electricity, "bio" gas system. Ecology is part of biology and this is the science of life. But everywhere I see death.
Huge windmills cut up hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year. Forest is being cleared, roads and concrete foundations are being built in the most remote corners of semi-natural forests.
With enormous energy expenditure, so-called offshore wind farms are being built in the North and Baltic Seas. The construction, maintenance and operation of the facilities deteriorates the living conditions of the fish and mammals living there, birds are killed and whales avoid the areas extensively.
On gigantic maize monocultures, large quantities of animal and plant toxins are regularly and heavily subsidized.
Biodiversity in the aquatic environment, fields and meadows has fallen dramatically, 75% of insects and over 80% of meadow plants have disappeared in the last 30 years.
The ubiquitous bee mortality has even reached the media.
We pretend to want to live green and organic, but the result of our actions is often death.
We believe we are helping the environment, we are fighting climate change, and it seems that every means is right - including the death of plants, animals, seas, homeland and the future. Many look away, do not want to see how the balance of nature gets out of balance.
When climate change is caused by human action, insatiable greed, excess, indifference, and irresponsibility of people over a long period of time are the cause. The environment we have built up is a result of our actions and omissions. Now she takes revenge, she begins to die and thus to destroy ourselves.