Mauerfall or ベルリン壁崩壊

Today is the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and even Japan is reporting on it

Asahi-shinbun from 08/11/19

I was tempted to write this article in German, but I think that there is more of a needed for more historical Japanese terms to be available in German and English.

The article gave a full overview of the history the former DDR (Democratic republic of Germany or ドイツ民主共和国) but the article in question used the terms 旧西ドイツ – the former west Germany and 旧東ドイツ- the former east. The Kanji used ” 旧” read きょう means ex- or former.

The article gives a quick timeline of the wall (and pictured above) and gives the some lovely facts including: West Berlin being surrounded by 155 Km of wall; demonstrations happening within the DDR about the democratization of the country (民主化 or Demokratisierung) which were the Montagsdemonstrationen (or Monday demonstrations) which took place in dusk of the DDR.

The most tragic facts about the DDR were the 140 people (or thereabouts) that were killed trying to cross the wall.

The facts given within the article are what you would expect e.g. the wall was erected after WW2 and lasted for 45 years; the USA, UK and France occupied Berlin (米英仏に西側を占領された) etc.

One interesting things was the transliteration of Angela Merkel name which became Merukeru or メルケル首相. Interesting note, did you know she’s 65?!

Even though to many die deutsche wiedervereinigung (or the German reunification) is the important event (which takes place on the thrid of October), one must not forget about the importance of die Mauerfall!

I hope you enjoyed reading and happy exploring.

Global views on being eco-friendly

A quick summary of some countries positions on being green

At a macro level, what importance do different countries and cultures put on being eco-friendly and what does the media in those countries report on this topic?

As there are visible changes to global weather patterns, increased plastic waste (or at least increased visibility) and a visible consequence of human actions on the wider environment, the question as to how much do different countries care about the environment must be asked.

I know the introduction sounds very report like and official; but the main focus of this article is to get you to ask the question which is simply: does my country care? What is my country doing? and perhaps mostly importantly, do I care?

Let’s start with the powerhouse of Energiewende- Germany. Germany is one of the more advanced countries in trying to be eco-friendly. They are getting rid of nuclear power and placing more emphasis on being green. They have signed the 2015 climate pack and are committed to reduce their CO2 emissions. So very forward facing.

However, one third ofbtheir power is still reliant on coal and there is still a preference for fast cars (they do have the Autobahns). But the umweltwelle is affecting this as well, with promises by 2030 that there’ll be over 10 million electric cars on the roads (Spiegel Online).

Now for a culture and country change- the USA. In recent times, the USA has had image of not caring for the environment and being almost environmentally callous. One reason for this could be cultural. In the USA, bigger is always better- bigger cars, homes, availability of technology etc, but each process does generate CO2– and when so many Americans also follow this policy, it creates problems.

But we must also consider the actions of the government as to a culture’s stance on the environment. For America, under the current administration, the environment is no longer a priority. The EPA has been scaled back and there is more emphasis on economic growth, while not a bad thing, it comes at the cost of the environment- which will cost a lot more to alleviate later. Also, every international policy that the USA was a part of, is now seen to be a burden to industry and is to be scrapped.

It seems as if the dollar, not the environment is king in America and as the saying goes “In God we trust, all others must pay”, but what will be the final price?

While there are more countries, and more cultures to explore, it is important to highlight the two extremes in the western world- the country riding the wave and the country trying to ignore the problem. Finally, the country where I reside: Japan.

There is a certain meticulous way of soring rubbish/trash in Japan which differs from city to city and is always complex and mistakes are commonly made. According to the council for PET bottle recycling (I wonder is there is any bias here???), in 2014, about 94% of PET bottles were recycled. But the Japanese relationship with plastic is slight ridiculous.

When buying a bento (弁当), there is usually a small piece of plastic grass contained within for decoration in addition to the plastic box, the plastic seal, and the plastic bag that it comes with. Multiply this across many other items in Japan and you can understand why it  was highlighted at the G20, various international media sources and on daytime TV in Japan. Even with this attention, it has been (mostly) ignored by the Japanese.

Looking at the 3 countries, Germany is winning the eco race, Japan is half way, and the US comes last. Looking at all of this, if scientists are wrong and we do nothing, all we have done is reduce go global pollution and help many endangered species survive. But if scientists are correct and things continue the way they have been going, at the very least many people will die either due to extreme weather patterns, low lying countries being flooded, and food becoming a scarce resource. So perhaps doing you part (even just a little bit) will make a difference.

I will write more on being ecologically friendly in other countries in the future- it is vital to explore this as the effects will affect everyone.

Thank you for reading and please consider what I have written. As always, happy exploring.

Want to do something? Don’t know where to start?  please check out the link below to sign a petition