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As a faithful reader you know: At the end of the year I always pick up a more personal topic. This time I might annoy you with that. Is that appropriate? I hardly care. However, by the end of this year I can no longer avoid the environmental destruction and climate catastrophe. 

Please do not get me wrong. I don’t want to play the role of a “do-gooder” who already has everything under control. I still have a lot to do before I can relax, from an environmental point of view. As an example, I still fly too much. And we still have two cars – due to our remote location – which doesn’t make it any better. We still produce plastic waste, although we have already been able to reduce it. But I try my best within my means and I want to motivate you to do the same. 

A first step is more conscious consumption. ‚Retail therapy‘ is no longer up to date. And I say that as a former shopping addict. So instead to buy less, more consciously and sometimes used, helps the environment and your wallet. If you want to reward yourself, go to the cinema or take a trip (by train or bicycle). This is better for the climate and for the soul. 

To name a second possibility: How do you get from A to B? The car is still the default option for many people. After all, it’s “there anyway”. And if you share it with several people, it’s usually the cheapest option. In the short term this may be true. In the long run the calculation does not work. My personal consequence: On long-distance journeys I have not been travelling by car for some time, but rather by train if possible. As far as flying is concerned, I’ve already confessed: it’s still too much. But at least I questioned my previous rule of decision. That was: If it takes the same time (I always need at least five hours from door to door when I fly) I take the train. Recently I am willing to invest one to two hours more if I can do without the plane. In the meantime I sit comfortably, can go to the train-restaurant and use the time meaningfully with work, reading or wonderful idleness. For me, train time is a gift. 

And last but not least: Do you know how you could make the biggest difference when it comes to your Carbon footprint? With your nutrition. Just leaving out red meat reduces your dietary footprint by about 20%. If you are a meat lover, even by half. The argument to eat only organic meat or meat from free-range animals does not help much, because the methane emissions of cattle and pigs are still a considerable problem for the environment. Drastically reducing or avoiding instead really helps. And of course it’s not just about meat, but also about eggs and dairy products. Reducing these also improves your personal climate balance. 

Just think how most people fed themselves 50 years ago. Meat was on the table only on Sundays. For the rest of the week people ate mainly vegetarian or plant based. What would it be like to return to this? With today’s variety in supermarkets and restaurants, such a diet is very easy, as I as a vegan (for three and a half years) can assure you. By the way, your body will not lack anything. Quite the opposite. Less animal means more health.

With this in mind, I wish you a happy new year with more conscious decisions and us all a little hope for the future of our environment. 

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