What happened on our side in 2015?
Fortunately, our health has allowed us to spend our energies on society at large and friends in particular. Here is a list of recent projects.
- Kathrin, a good friend of ours and daughter of the family that lived in our house before they sold it to us in the mid 1990s, needed medical advice. She had breast cancer (her mother and her 2 brothers died of cancer), got surgery, radio- and chemotherapy, leaving her with the heart problems common to this therapy. She felt somewhat neglected by the local physicians, so with the help of PubMed I compiled a literature review and from that a list of questions in preparation of a visit to a Berlin specialist I have known for years.
- Having joined Campact during its founding stages (Campact is Germany's largest organization at the interface between citizens and government, organizing demos and conscious raising) we felt the responsibility to criticise the organization's attitude towards new political parties such as Alternative für Deutschland (comments on a controversial play by Falk Richter of the Berlin Schaubühne). We started a discussion within Campact about the dangers of political polarisation, with an emphasis on how Perestroika dealt with a similar problem.
Source: The Internet's Own Boy: the Story of Aaron Swartz
The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties. (Source: Anonymous Official)
|In connection with the revelations by Edward Snowden we decided to become members of the German NGO "netztpolitik.org early 2015 and have kept us informed (e.g. annual report in German) about the issues
- net neutrality,
- and the political, legislative and judicial activities we might need to join.
- We greatly reduced the use of our car, following the widely spreading trend. For us living in the countryside and no longer being under time pressure, the car is easily replaced, mostly by the bicycle and occasionally by the train. From a study of the Scientific Counsel on Global Environmental Change (WBGU) we learnt that Germans are carbon insolvent, meaning that we used up our all time share of CO2-emissions. Consequently, for each ton of CO2 we emit, we have to pay 70 - 100 $ into a fund out of which CO2-reducing projects are financed. For the average German citizen this amounts to an annual payment of 700 - 1000 $. The two of us are not living up to this challenge.
- Scientific Counsel on Global Environmental Change (WBGU):
Limiting the anthropogenic global temperature rise to 2° C is equivalent to a total CO2 budget all of humanity may release into the atmosphere. The part of this budget still available to mankind from today on is smaller than 800 Gt CO2. A just distribution of these less than 800 Gt needs to take into account how much each country has already emitted. Germany as well as the USA have already used up their share. We need to buy CO2 certificates for our entire economic activity, e.g. for the 10 tons of CO2 the average German releases annually into the atmosphere he needs to contribute up to 10 x 100 $ per year to the carbon reduction fund.
- US Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project:
"This study does not find any major technical or economic barriers to maintaining the U.S. long-term commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions consistent with limiting global warming to less than 2° C. In terms of technical feasibility and cost, this study finds no evidence to suggest that relaxing the 80% [reduction] by 2050 emissions target or abandoning the 2° C limit is justified. In addition, the 2° C goal plays a critical role as a guide for near-term mitigation efforts, providing a benchmark for the necessary scale and speed of infrastructure change, technical innovation, and coordination across sectors that must be achieved in order to stay on an efficient path to climate stabilization.
Energy system changes on the scale described in this analysis imply significant opportunities for technology innovation and investment in all areas of the U.S. energy economy. Establishing regulatory and market institutions that can support this innovation and investment is critical. Both areas - technology innovation and institutional development - are U.S. strengths, and place the U.S. in a strong leadership and competitive position in a low carbon world."
- German Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project:
"This report aims to show that although there are challenges to be overcome on the way to a fundamental transformation, deep decarbonization can be achieved in Germany by 2050. As a result of about 30 years of critical engagement with climate and energy policies in Germany, a huge amount of theoretical and practical knowledge on transformation processes has been gathered. This knowledge should be used and also expanded in order to properly deal with the challenges associated with the complex process of achieving deep decarbonization.
In order to achieve deep decarbonization and related co-benefits in Germany, the real challenge consists not so much of developing but of actually implementing decarbonization strategies. Therefore, authorities at different political levels need to introduce appropriate policies supporting the implementation of measures linked to the long-term mitigation strategies. As transformation processes are subject to constraints, uncertainties and path dependencies, these challenges need to be identified and addressed at an early stage. Concrete policy challenges linked to deep decarbonization in Germany exist for all of the three key
strategies mentioned above."
- In addition to that we are having a constant stream of mostly young guests (mid 20s - mid 40s) via airbnb which challenges our adaptability to and understanding of issues we thought we had forgotten.
- Jochen's Concise Untold Recent History of Germany
Version: 2 January 2016
Address of this page
Jochen Gruber - Marianne Steenken