Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Germany - pointing the way?

I found my recent visit to Germany very interesting in a quite unexpected way. Yeah, I expected to be taken in by the music, culture and rich history, but I didn't think I would be affected by its government's vision and policies.

Now, I'm not an overly political or environmentally-conscious person - I take a keen interest but am in no way an activist - but the way Germany is going about planning its future in a world of scarce resources seems particularly admirable, especially to a citizen of a supposedly "clean and green" country.

While taking a train from Berlin to Hamburg, through the country's heartland, I noticed numerous windfarms and fields painted bright yellow with flowers. They were everywhere and upon talking with locals I discovered why. Germany, it turns out, is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to developing both sustainable and alternative energy. The windfarms are part of a wider plan to have 35 per cent of the country's electricity come from a renewable source by 2020While the flowers belong to a plant called Rapeseed which is subsidised to grow and helps contribute to a huge biofuel industry. Through exploiting wind, the sun and water Germany is one of the most innovative renewable-energy creators in the world and this policy is tied to another which plans to eliminate nuclear power production by 2022.

With this brought to my attention, it made it confusing for me to find that in my home country, a country apparently proud of being innovative and environmentally-conscious, there seems to be a distinct imbalance between renewable and non-renewable energy development. While there is a definite need for some traditional forms of energy production - coal, oil, gas - I don't believe we should be taking huge risks for their development and there really doesn't seem to be enough emphasis on the future of our country's energy, especially when compared to a place like Germany.

Now, I'm not even close to being an expert on this topic, so I'll stop there and state that this is an impression more than anything else, but one that was imprinted pretty strongly on me, so I felt compelled enough to write it down.

Now for some Michael Jackson.

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