06.03.2023 | Controversial Topics With a C…

Not the most original title, but it fits. COVID and the Climate Protest, but separately.

Flag at a Climate Protest

Climate Protest | On paper Germany aims to be carbon neutral in 2045. At least that has been the official government line, since the highest Federal Constitutional Court in 2021 ruled that the previous policies and laws about reduction goals were harmful for future generations and needed to be rectified. So the government set different, more ambitious reduction goals and again – on paper – worked on getting there. Some argue that the current energy crisis justifies to derail these goals, because energy safety is important. And I agree in a way. And in many ways I don’t. Science – if you trust in science that is – has proven again and again that we are running out of time! I don’t see that reflected in a lot of the current’s government policies. Despite the Greens being part of the coalition. I am a Green party member and I sometimes despair when I read the official (?) party line or at least read what Green members of the government say. Or not say!

Last Generation Germany carried out a protest this weekend where they drowned a glass sculpture inscribed with the words of the constitution with “oil” to question which is more important to the government: Fossil fuels or the constitution, which they already had broken once according to the Constitutional Court in 2021. And to which the government in the protesters’ (and mine to be honest) eyes were still not living up to. The whole political scene – left and right, government and opposition – and also most of the media were livid! They called the protest disrespectful, harmful to the cause, damage to property and so much more. Once again the Conservatives and Right-Wings called for stricter laws and harder punishments.

The “Oil” was coloured wallpaper paste. The sculpture was cleaned quickly and not damaged at all. Like the Van Gogh painting wasn’t damaged and neither was any other artwork, which other protesters used in their various protests in the recent past.

I admit I still haven’t made up my mind what to think of these kind of protests. The fact that so many people are lividly opposed make me feel like they are the absolutely right thing to do. Would it be more helpful to protest less disruptively? I don’t think so. Fridas for Future have been protesting less disruptively for almost 4 years now and what changed? Nothing changed. Not for the better anyway.

Germany is very far away from reaching the reduction goals the government set for the various sectors for the next few years. Especially the building and transport sector are lagging far behind. We need to act ASAP and we don’t. But nobody seems to be livid about that. Not as much as about apparent, but not actual damage to art work. It’s so frustrating.

More experienced and studied people from various fields – psychology, sociology and more – have looked into the effect of those kind of protests. Do they help the cause or harm it? The findings are out there. I can’t be bothered to search and link for now. I personally feel very much enraged by the reaction to the protest and I also think that the government isn’t doing enough. So I am more on the protesters side than against them. The fact that my party is part of the government and also decries these protests doesn’t make it any easier for me. It’s complicated. Another word with C 🙂


COVID | It’s not over. It will never really be over. It’s here to stay. As someone with a higher risk for a worse course in case of infection, I won’t stop shouting it from the rooftops. I concede that in quite a few cases it might be “not much more than cold”. The cases I hear about at the moment though from coworkers and friends and their families are often definitely more than a cold. And I still hear about new cases every week. Many people still get sick in such a way that they’re out for a week or more. All around. And I don’t even know that many people!

After I’ve almost finished this whole post, I learned that the track&trace warning I got today for “being exposed to COVID last Monday” was not the committee meeting as I had thought, but the local Greens meeting. I didn’t hear it from the person themselves, but almost accidentally in today’s meeting (done online). Yes, obviously the person only tested positive today so a “Hey, guys, I’ve tested positive” message couldn’t have been mailed earlier than today. But would I have learned about it, if I had not been at the online meeting right now? I don’t know. And yes, I got a warning via the app, but I’m still a bit pissed. We are not a big group of people. We know each other. It’s common decency to let others know they might have been exposed. Am I too sensitive?

I’m so glad I’m back to wearing a mask when I’m indoors among a more than 2-3 people for a longer period of time, like I had been during that meeting last Monday. Yes, I can understand that you’re tired of wearing a mask. I’m not always wearing one, when I’m out and about at the office or in shops or in restaurants either. My decision when to wear a mask or not also might not be based 100% on reason. It’s often more of a subjective “risk assessment” and I know I might often err on the side of caution. I went to the hair salon on Saturday, not wearing a mask while getting my hair cut. Ran some errands in some shops, often with a mask, because the shops seemed crowded to me. That assessment was and is definitely based on my personal level of comfort and security. It probably should be fine to pass people in shops for a few seconds or stand in the queue for a few minutes. But I still often put on the mask regardless.

Grabbing a bite to eat while out shopping or before an event in the evening can be a bit tricky for me. I often try to time it so that the room’s not too crowded and that I pick a place where the tables are spaced apart wide enough for me to feel reasonably comfortable / safe. But of course the risk there might be much bigger than passing through a mall. Like I said, not always based on reason, but more on my own sense of feeling safe. I went to grab a bite after the errands on Saturday and the restaurant filled up quickly after I got there and it got a bit crowded and I started to worry a bit. Not too much to just leave or hurry to leave. But I wasn’t the most relaxed.

I’ts difficult, isn’t it? Because: it’s not over. And we all don’t really know what a COVID infection does to all our organs and everything. I try and mostly managed to not dwell and worry on that. But I neither deny the chance that it might cause more damage in the long run. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess. I’m not particular good at waiting and seeing.

This morning I had an appointment at my GP, because I wanted to make sure that so far COVID (in October 2022) didn’t leave any noticeable damage in my system. I’ve already got one chronic illness, I don’t need another one. Luckily I seem to be doing fine: lungs are clear, the EKG was okay. A small abnormality, but nothing to immediately worry about. It could mean nothing, could be caused by anything, could have been a one time thing today. I’m supposed to follow it up with a proper check from a cardiologist in due time, but not with any urgency. This all did give me peace of mind for now at least. I wasn’t too worried, because I felt fine since I had COVID in October, but you never know.

“A proper cardio check is a a good idea for people from 40 – 60 anyway,” my GP said. Wait? 40 to what? I am getting to terms with nearing 50, but 60 feels like still such a long way way.

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