More DW Blogs DW.COM


Thinking for a cooler world

Search Results for Tag: green party

Sonia Phalnikar | Ideas

‘Hands off my sausage,’ say Germans to meat-free proposal

Photo credit: CC BY 2.0: Bernt Rostad/flickr:

Germans take very seriously their cherished right of eating sausage whenever they want

Rice and beans instead of sausages and meat? The very idea of eathing just vegetarian fare – even if it’s just once a week – has many meat-loving Germans up in arms. Find out why.

The whole kerfuffle began earlier this week with Germany’s opposition Green Party saying they planned to roll out a weekly vegetarian day if elected. Yes, Germany is in full campaign mode with six campaign weeks left until national elections.

So, what’s the fuss about? The Greens say one day each week, workplace cafeterias at federal government institutions would be banned from serving any meat dishes or products. The environmentally-friendly party hopes that would become a model for corporate and school canteens.The party says lower meat consumption would reduce the impact of farming on the environment, lead to an increase in quality and better conditions for animals.

“A veggie day is a wonderful day to try out how to nourish oneself without meat and sausage for once,” Green Party leader Renate Künast told mass-market daily Bild this week.

But, many think otherwise. Though environmental groups have welcomed the proposal, it’s sparked uproar in the country. Some lawmakers have said it smacks of a lecturing attitude. German Agricultural Minister Ilse Aigner was quoted through a spokesman that “we don’t place much stock in paternalism. At the end of the day, we need a balanced diet and meat is part of that.”

Meat certainly is a big part of German‘s lives. Estimates suggest that per capita meat consumption in the country per year is 60 kilograms (against a global average of 42 kg per-capita annually).

A recent United Nations study suggested people in the industrialized world should halve their meat consumption, saying the demand for ever cheaper meat is ruining the planet by leading to a massive expansion of intensively farmed livestock, diverting vast quantities of grain from human to animal consumption and requiring intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.

But many meat-loving Germans remain unconvinced. Members of the youth wing of the Free Democrats (FDP) even organized a spontaneous street barbeque this week in front of Green Party headquarters in Berlin. Some members held up slogans saying “Hands off my sausage.”


August 9, 2013



Comments deactivated

Klaus Esterluß | Ideas

Germany’s energy transition “biggest challenge since World War II”

How much should Germany’s “Energiewende,” a move towards ramping up renewable energy, cost? That question was the main sticking point at a lively debate on Wednesday between German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (a member of the governing Christian Democratic Party) and the Green Party’s first state premier in Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann. The discussion at the Hertie School of Governance was part of an ongoing series of events called “Re:Thinking Tomorrow.” The events are co-organized by Deutsche Welle, which is also a media partner.

The energy transition which involves phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels has sparked huge international interest and remains a hot-button issue in the country. In an interview with Global Ideas, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said the transformation of Germany’s energy system “is the biggest challenge since the Second World War.” “It means a complete transformation of the backbone of Germany’s economy and business,” he added.

Altmaier went on to speak about the technical and financial challenges in scaling up renewables and phasing out nuclear energy as well as how Germany can build on its reputation as a pioneering power in green issues.

All about the German energy turnaround (Energiewende) – statement Peter Altmaier @ Hertie School from DW_Global Ideas on Vimeo.

Both Altmaier and Kretschmann are considered political heavyweights when it comes to climate and environmental issues, which made for some amusing and lively verbal exchanges. Kretschmann began by accusing Altmaier of unsettling voters. “People already mix up millions and billions,” he said, adding “and now you are talking about trillions!” That elicited quite a few laughs from the audience. A few weeks ago, Altmaier had said Germany’s energy transition would cost energy consumers up to one trillion Euros if certain measures weren’t taken such as putting brakes on electricity prices.

Both participants agreed that Germany’s energy transition has to be an ecological and economic success if it is to find wide acceptance both within Germany and beyond. Germany may only be responsible for three percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, they argued. But if it managed to successfully pull off its ambitious energy transition project and move towards a low-carbon economy, it could offer vital lessons for big polluters such as China. That’s why, they stressed, it remains important not to jeopardize the energy project.

Kretschmann said the energy transition had already led to green growth with jobs and opportunities generated in the renewables sector. To keep things this way, Environment Minister Altmaier said brakes had to be put on electricity prices. The turnaround has to stay affordable for everyone, he added.

Kretschmann underlined the positive effects of the energy turnaround in the future. In the long run, consumers will pay less for electricity, Kretschmann argued, saying “the sun, after all, doesn’t send you any bills.”


March 14, 2013



Comments deactivated