This Changes Everything Vs. My Life on the Road

For NaNoWriMo last year I wrote a blog post a day and one of them was about comparative reading. I think it is such an amazing concept and I wanted to do it again. It gives you a deeper understanding of what you have read, how certain writers tackle certain aspects, and how you can shift your focus when reading.

“This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” is a book by Naomi Klein from 2014 which looks into the economic, social, and environmental aspects of climate change while also analysing how capitalism brought us there. It was a fascinating book and will probably be one of the main sources for my own project because it has so much wisdom in it.

Gloria Steinem’s memoir “My Life on the Road” was published in 2015. She describes her life as an activist, the people she has met and who have guided her throughout, and the issues women were and are still facing today. It was inspiring to read about a life lived so fully.

What I loved most about these two books was their inclusiveness, their focus on minorities and their unique struggles. Steinem writes about her experiences with people who have faced discrimination and how they dealt with them. What we can do about them. Naomi Klein is also very aware and she takes it a step further, linking these issues to climate change.

One aspect that made me look at “My Life on the Road” through an environmental lens in the first place was this one by Steinem in her interview with Emma Watson: If we had real equality between women and men, women would be able to decide for themselves if they want to receive children or not. They would have full reproductive freedom and would not have to have children they don’t want or cannot have. It would offer them opportunities to work, to invest in education, to live more sustainably. The effect of climate change also depends on global population size. This is why feminism should be one of the main strategies to conquer climate change. Naomi Klein adds to this as she says that every movement aiming for equality is a step in the right direction of conquering climate change.

Our environmental problems today are the product of hundreds of years of inequality, of exploitation, and expression of power over nature. In a culture where not everyone is able to work together because of prejudices and strong opposing opinions, there will be no unified action against climate change. One which we so desperately need. Gloria Steinem argues that these movements are indeed happening right now, though, and that she has experienced living right among them. Felt their power and the hope they radiate. This is also what I noticed in the end of “This Changes Everything”. There is a way to get through this. We have to transform our values and work for a more just world.

“My Life on the Road” examines how this is done in detail. Going around, talking to people. Listening to their struggles and spreading awareness. Giving talks to activists, forming groups, marching. These are the practical aspects of the great change Naomi Klein wrote about.

Since Klein’s book is researched to a great detail and could be seen more as a piece of journalism, it does not have as many personal stories in it as “My Life on the Road”. However, the part I loved the most, was her telling the story how she struggled to get pregnant and how her son was born. She wrote about the BP oil spill and its effect on the eggs and youngest fish in lakes and oceans. It was beautifully linked and thus all the more powerful. “My Life on the Road” as a memoir has all these stories and anecdotes which are linked to the pressing issues of our time. This taught me a lot: When writing my own book I have to connect my own stories to the issues I’m talking about. Otherwise, they will get too distant. I don’t want to be a preacher. I want to be an observer of the world, a storyteller.

Both books have changed my perception. After finishing “This Changes Everything” today I am a bit more hopeful that we can avert the crisis, but I’m also more painfully aware of the damage that we have done thus far. I feel physical pain in my stomach and heart when I read about oil spills, about devastating pollution, and the exploitation of people all over the world. Gloria Steinem assured me through the women’s movement that this can be changed. I have had the great amount of opportunities only through women like her. Once we recognise our power as a unified people, we can make a difference. Once we tell our stories and share our values, we will succeed.

Both of them showed me a journalism at its finest. Since it is a profession I could really see myself in, it was interesting to read about their lives. I felt a personal connection through the love of writing and the passion with which they dive into their topics.

What is the overall message of both books?
Be hopeful. Work harder. Be more inclusive. Listen and learn.



We Resist. We Build. We Rise.

Weighed down by a bit of weekend-loneliness, inability to wrap my head around uni stuff, and the cold fingers of writer’s block strangling me, I was not in a good place today. Together with the news of Trump’s executive order on Arctic drilling… my hope hid itself in my cold, dark fridge. It doesn’t see climate change if it is in there. (I believe that is also what most climate change deniers do.)

 Just like the Women’s marches did early this year, the climate march on Washington today gave me my hope back. It crawled from between the kale and the carrots out of the fridge and announced that it would get stuff done now.

These marches show that people care. They show that we have the ability as humans to come together peacefully and protest for a common denominator: The future of our planet. It is beautiful to see people from all over the world supporting each other even if they are so different. Because this unites us all.

“When humans are ranked instead of linked, everyone loses.” Gloria Steinem in “My Life on the Road”

Some argue that climate change divides rich and poor even more. Only to a certain point in time can those, who made their money through oil and coal, build their forts to protect themselves from floods and storms. In the end, nature always wins. We are all on the same page here. And it is not us against Mother Earth. We are rather her ignorant, carefree children who have yet to grow up. We don’t have the time to go through that process. We have to understand right now that it is best for us to work together in peace. That love and understanding are the only ways through which we will be able to survive. Humans took such a long time to evolve. All that time we have lived in connection with our planet, never against it. Let’s find that connection again. To our Earth, and between ourselves.

Did you go protesting in any of the climate marches? If so – Thank you so much! You are awesome! – please tell me your feelings and thoughts about it!

I’m Back & Book Project

Oh it has been a long time. I actually have an excuse which is not really one. I have lost my password and nothing worked anymore and exam phase and bla bla bla. But I’m back. I will write essays about the environment and feminism again.

Over the last few months I have been writing daily. It gives me so much pleasure. At the moment these texts add up to 90 000 words… You would think that a student had better things to do. But writing in the evenings is always the thing I’m looking forward to most (Well, not every day … aka writer’s block or evil cycle of self-hatred)

What have I been working on?
It’s a book. You guessed it. My twenty-third (or so) attempt to writing a book. I think everyone is laughing about me and my projects. This one is different, I like to tell myself. It’s non-fiction.
I always loved to read fiction but I could never make enough stuff up to fill a book. I would be overwhelmed by all the things I had to consider. What would they eat? How would their kitchen counter look like? What would the pictures on their walls show? Nope, too much work.
Then I discovered non-fiction. First, through self-help books and then through books about the environment. Which got me thinking. I am an environmental management student. Why not write a book about that? I began to research a little and quickly settled with climate change as a topic. Far too broad. I read loads of scientific papers and decided it should be about the social aspects of climate change. Analyses of feminism, media representation of climate change included. Now that’s a topic I can work with. I wrote a bit and I read a bit and now suddenly it’s 12 000 words. This is going well.

The only problem: I’m a little bit overwhelmed by the dimensions of this project. The more I read the less I know. I am painfully aware of my ignorance and my following ancient concepts of society. I have to step past the rules and read everything I can get my hands on to be able to be a decent human being in writing about this.

This project gives me life, it gives me hope, and it gives me a purpose (why also keeping me putting words on a page every day).

Also I would like to give a huge thanks to the lovely women who commented on my post on feminism (

Thank you so much for you kind words, they really gave me back some energy to write on and to use my voice.

If you would like to point out any issues or questions I need to include in my book, please tell me! I would love to discuss them with you!


We never thought that it would happen. Now it is official. We have to go on, work on.

The moment Trump took over the social media platforms as a president, the pages on the White House website concerned with Climate Change and the LGBTQ+ community were shut down. Today a lot more things happened that frighten me. This is the world we will live in now.

As a student, as an environmentalist, a feminist, a human being, I fear for the world. But fear is the wrong incentive here. We always have to fight to make something better out of this world, to make it a safer, more equal and loving place for everyone. I still believe in people, I still believe in change.

We live in times where facts are less significant than feelings. You can state something which you deny the next day. We can make instant comments on every subject. This is due to social media and the presence of news all around us. You can offer an opinion seconds after you have read about something. The thought process, the critical analysis is lost. False news lead to international diplomatic conflicts. This has to stop.

Let’s put these points back on our agenda:

These are the grounding principles of interaction between humans. We need to make these the principles of our societies! They need to be the guiding ideas of our every action. We need to consider other people as complex. We need to step back and analyse the situation from a different point of view.

Why did we lose these qualities in our communities when they are so essential in our relationships? Why did we move back from communication to just shouting at each other? Why are we trying to prove others wrong when we are never faultless ourselves?

It’s important to distinguish between feelings and thoughts. Find the source of your feelings and analyse how you drew conclusions. Often we make rash decisions because we are lead by unclear assumptions. Break them down into pieces and identify which of the facts coincide with your personal values and your goals.

We are bombarded by horror news and hateful comments. It’s our choice to change that system. You can either not be part of it or do something against it.

A friend and I talked about the book “How to win friends and influence people” which I really want to read. There are some important messages in there which I liked:
Give people credit for their work.
Be interested in their lives and consider their point of view.
Build a good reputation in your mind for a person to live up to.

Yesterday, I handed the application for my semester abroad in and I came to the office of the tutor with a big smile on my face. I thanked her for all the support she gave us in this process and told her that she does a great job. She asked me what she could improve for the students next year. She told me she has a lot of trouble with some of the universities. She talked about the difficulties she faced and confided in me.

Every time I had gone to her office before, she had been stressed out, busy, annoyed. She didn’t even want to answer my questions. This time, I gave her credit because she had helped me a lot. I was kind and open and genuinely interested in her work. She asked me for advice. She gave something back – trust.

We all have the capacity to improve the relationships with people who are important to us. Even with those we just met. By being kind and open. We must not be divided because in our union lies our power.

Everything feels like it’s falling apart. The world crumbles. We seek places to hide and grieve. What we really need to do is stand up tall. Stronger than ever. Growing with the task before us. We need to lay out a foundation of love and companionship to save this earth. This will help us with all the challenges we are facing. We are all in this together, we are all humans. Love is a verb, go practise it!

NaNoWriMo Day 10: Environmentalism 2.0

The first snow of the autumn has reached Cottbus and we are freezing, sitting in Uni and trying not to think about what happened yesterday. We are a bunch of hopeful people. At least we try to be.

We discussed the events a lot today and one particular thought haunted us. What will happen to our environment? All that we try to fight for?

In International Environmental Law, our lecturer suggested that we took a good look at the Paris Agreement, Article 28:

At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Agreement by giving written notification to the Depositary. (…)

Even if Trump wanted to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it would take 3 years for him to hand in that note and another year until he really would get out of it. So well done, Obama, for signing it just in time. That’s what we read in the law. The problem is – there is also the possibility to simply not do what’s in the law. In this very case, the Paris Agreement is not as harsh as the Kyoto Protocol. The US hasn’t signed that one, by the way. And Canada withdrew to not face the fines they had to pay because they didn’t fulfil the regulations. Germany isn’t much better either…

For many people, the Paris Agreement is a groundbreaking accomplishment. It may be, for all that I know. I’ll go a bit into detail once we have discussed it in uni. There are a lot of things I don’t really understand yet. Law is so confusing! The difficulty with treaties is this: It will not change single people. There is a lot of talking without saying anything. There are a lot of action plans never implemented. There are a lot of recommendations never considered.

My dad believes that the real change has to be made economically. I can see his point. We live in a world where money is playing a vital part in our lives. Who am I kidding, The part in our lives. Which ever way we might argue, we are not going to change that. Therefore, we have to work on that basis. There are lots of economical solutions we were taught in our Economics classes. Standards, Taxes, Tradable Permits. Very simplified they mean the following: Standards set the pollution to a certain level. Taxes often provide the incentive to emit even less because you still have to pay taxes on even little emissions. Tradable Permits are based on the idea that there is a polluter with more emissions and one with less. Both own emission permits. The one with higher emissions can buy those from the one with smaller emissions. Thereby the one who emits less, makes a profit. We could even implement that on a private level: If you want to drive long distance with your car, there has to be someone who creates energy by a solar plant, for example. Trade the permissions and everyone is happy.

The idea is this: If you pollute, you have to pay. This is a lovely principle which can be found written down in the Rio Declaration of 1992. It has a legal basis in International Law. However, it isn’t really implemented on a global scale. In the end, the consumer has to pay. It’s as simple as that.

I also really like the idea of a carbon tax for people. Every action that increases the greenhouse gas emissions has to be paid for. Make meat and fish so expensive that no one is able to buy them anymore and no one will do so.

This strategy seems nice but I doubt it would work like that. Furthermore, the implementation is just not possible. We have such a strong lobby especially behind the biggest emitters – the food, transport and energy industry. This is where people need to make changes.

Emily Hunter (, the daughter of two of the founders of greenpeace, speaks in a Ted Talk ( about modern activism. She has been everywhere, fighting and campaigning for environmentalism. Until she found that this kind of activism might not be for her. Going with boats into every corner of our oceans to stop whale hunting. That’s so seventies! Instead, she started to make films and write books, make documentaries about activists and share their stories. She is a journalist and calls herself storyteller. Her activism is storytelling.

She points out that our generation is the biggest to ever have existed on this planet. And we are the ones to bring the change. Maybe not by old-fashioned campaigning anymore but by media. We are able to write and film and make this earth a better place. Our voices are completely different from those of the 1970s. Now, the environment should concern all of us and it does. Therefore, we should all be environmentalists in our own ways. You don’t have to buy yourself a boat and fight against whaling in the Antarctic. You might not be a part of huge protests or demonstrations. You might simply share the message that this planet needs our help and we therefore have to stand up to make it happen. If you can, though, try to make your message heard to as many people as possible.

She also mentions that the movement has to become much more radical. At the moment there are many actions which are on a local level. Or which go viral for a few weeks and disappear again. We need to change that. Our planet has to be on the agenda permanently. Not on a negative note, though. It has to fill our news with hopeful messages and not ones of despair.

I believe our future lies in technology. My father is an engineer, that should explain a lot. Renewable energies and technology to help us with all the problems we face. In many rural areas solar panels and mobile phones have transformed the business life. The education system. People are empowered and find new ways to use their potential. There is another wonderful TedTalk I would like to suggest: The Future of Environmentalism.

We face many environmental challenges in this world but they can be solved by investing in human brain power and technology. This sustainable innovation can be our way to save this world and make our lives better. I just found out, that there is some research done to make solar panels out of carbon and not silicon.

There are projects to make artificial photosynthesis work, much more effective than the real ones of plants. Still, it is a very good idea to plant trees. We should never underestimate the power of our vegetation. I love trees, I also hug them sometimes.

The past environmentalism has been based on two things. Fear and Guilt. Fear doesn’t work. Guilt doesn’t work. In industrialised countries, we have caused the problem of climate change. Maybe guilt works for us. But not for those who suffer from the consequences of our irresponsible behaviour!

We love doing stuff. So instead of telling people what not to do, we should encourage them to make stuff! To come up with new technologies and innovations! Humans are so good at that!

“The new environmentalism is got to be about doing more, not doing less. About inspiring people to tackle climate change but also giving people a better life in the here and now.” Martin Wright

Today, I want to motivate you to change things by doing some little things that may have a widespread impact.

  1. All around the globe, small businesses try to bring changes in their communities. On you can find them and help them with giving micro-credits. They pay you the money back and you can invest in the next project. This way innovative people are supported, especially women who normally do not have the chance to do so in many developing countries.
  2. Invest in crowd-funding. There are incredible minds out there working on the environmental technology of the future. You can find them on crowd-funding websites – help support their projects or spread the word!
  3. Watch the videos I suggested and share them with other people. Inspire them to take action and tell them that it is important to you. Talk to them about how you can make a difference.
  4. Most importantly, though, is to inform yourself. Read an article about renewable energies, about new technologies, about trees if you like, everything that excites you! If you are an engineer, maybe you can find ways to work on environmental projects or share your knowledge with others.
  5. For my fellow WordPress bloggers: If you are interested in photography, I challenge you to make a photo report about environmental problems in your region or hometown. It can be water pollution, waste, air pollution, mining … anything that you recognise as a problem. Whatever difficulties you find in your neighbourhood. Go out and take a photo. Write about it. Share it with other people. This is a small contribution but in our modern age, it is not that hard to get your voice heard. The WordPress community is an absolutely lovely one and I enjoy so much being part of it.
    In the end I will dedicate a post to your topic and I will do a lot of research to back it with some facts. Thereby, we will have stories from everywhere shared on different platforms to underline their importance.

In Cottbus, for example, we have a big problem with open cast and lignite mining. The pollution and environmental damage it has caused is unbelievable. Habitats are destroyed, people have to move, whole ecosystems are ruined. For long periods of time. The lakes build after the mining will never have the same biodiversity as before.

Those are the stories I’m looking for. Share them, make them important. Let them be your contribution, your activism 2.0, your new environmentalism.

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NaNoWriMo Day 3: #BeforetheFlood


My friends and I just watched the National Geographic documentation about climate change called “Before the Flood”. Leonardo DiCaprio travels around the world to experience how we destroy our earth, which different effects climate change has and which actions are taken against it.

We study Environmental and Resource Management. We are tree-hugging pacifists and eco freaks. We are mostly vegetarians and a lot of vegans. We drink out of glass bottles and detest plastics, we go by bike everywhere and we separate our waste to a stage where our passion irritates other people. We are a community of students who love their planet. But we have our flaws and are inconsequent sometimes.

Our first reactions to the film? Rage. On humankind, on the industries, the lobbyism. On people who are denying climate change, who try and take the easy way out. About the fossil fuel industry blocking the way to renewables, on people who burn down tropical rainforests, who pollute the oceans, people who travel everywhere by plane and consume meat daily. We had a rage on everyone.

Rage doesn’t lead us anywhere. There are a few possibilities how you can react when you see the extent of climate change influencing us and our planet.

1. The Denier. It’s very easy for you and you stay very comfortable. You don’t change anything, everything around you changes. You do not consume any media anymore because that would remind you that global warming is happening.

2. The Well-informed. You know what is happening but do not draw any conclusions. “It is lovely that you are a vegan but I couldn’t do it.” You go on and eat meat every day. (I was that person once, just so you know.) You are furious about the fossil fuel industry and how we damage our earth but still drive a car to work.

3. The Angry. You can’t believe that NO ONE DOES ANYTHING! We have all this information and people advocating for sustainable living but nothing changes! You join protests and climate marches and will try to convince everyone around to adapt their lifestyle. Shouting is not beneficial, though. That’s why many people don’t believe you. You may be right. It’s just uncomfortable to hear that kind of criticism.

4. The Changer. You are well-informed and interested in the conversation. You have taken into account your lifestyle choices. You may have changed your habits or diet, you may speak up about the issue. You are not driven by rage anymore but by thoughtful reasoning, by explaining and educating. We need to state that we know and we care and we want change.

Industrialised nations have initially caused climate change. Everyone else is worrying about it because of flooding, air pollution, extensive heat events and droughts, extreme storms… Do you notice something? We will face these same challenges! Yet many people in industrialised nations deny climate change! I just found a graph showing that those who emit the most carbon are the least concerned about climate change. Chart 2 We export our production to other countries and let them face the consequences. You cannot escape this globe. It is an issue we all have to deal with.

Where will you flee if the summers become so hot that you don’t have anything to eat anymore?
Where will you flee if huge storms and floods and fires destroy everything you have built?
Where will you flee if countries fight wars over water?
Where will you flee when your house is underwater because of rising sea levels?
Where will you flee when the air you are breathing is so toxic and polluted that you have to wear a mask everyday?
Do you still believe we have a choice?

Our consumption needs to change. What are you eating? Do you consume meat, dairy products and eggs every day? You are one of the main polluters of this world. The whole food industry is emitting more greenhouse gases than the whole transportation industry. In the US, 47% of land is used for food production and 70% of that for cattle. You have heard about the burping cows and how bad they are. Methane is 23 times worse than CO2 in terms of the greenhouse effect. We don’t create new land for more cattle. We destroy active ecosystems, we damage our earth to be able to consume more and more and more. You are feeding an industry that takes the ground under your feet away.

In the documentary DiCaprio visited India and talked to a woman about renewable energy and electricity. He was telling her how investment has to be done in alternative energies because the Americans will not change their consumption. She shakes her head. “Who will invest?” The developing countries are doing much more in the direction of renewable energies than the US. They have to make the transition now. One American consumes as much as 10 Chinese, 34 Indians or 61 Nigerians.

It is mostly just talking. The awareness is missing. It’s the same in Germany. I’m not denying it. However, we get around 30% of our energy from renewables, especially solar and wind. In the US it is only 13.4%.

Who is bringing the real change? Denmark for example is able to power the whole country with wind energy on good days. More than 100%!

10/07/2015 in the Guardian:

“On an unusually windy day, Denmark found itself producing 116% of its national electricity needs from wind turbines yesterday evening. By 3 am on Friday, when electricity demand dropped, that figure had risen to 140%.”

Iceland has also reached nearly 100% due to hydropower and geothermal energy. Sweden has plans to change completely to renewable energies until 2040. That sounds so hopeful, doesn’t it?

I would like to finish this article on a positive note. Change is possible if we work for it.

We are the last generation to fix this problem. We don’t want our children to see a world that is destroyed, a world where a critical point has been reached and the climate collapses. We would feel guilty, we would BE guilty! What would be our regrets when they grow up in this world? How would we explain it to them?

We are sorry.
We were addicted to fossil fuels, to meat, fish and dairy products.
We were addicted to driving our cars everywhere.
We wanted more and always more.
We are sorry, we killed the rainforests and the coral reefs.
We are sorry that no more island states exist.

Do you want to stand before your children and have to explain all that to them?

Tomorrow the Paris Agreement is coming into action. Let’s not just hope that there will be a change. We have to make it happen ourselves. Climate Change is real and we have to take action NOW.

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Climate change causes more and more horrible storms and floods and is destroying homes all over the world. People are suffering from droughts and water scarcity, they can’t feed themselves or their children because it doesn’t rain anymore. This is the reality we live in and there is no point denying it. However, there are still people who believe that climate change is not real. That our earth is not heating up, the ice is not melting, the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere not rising, the climate not becoming more extreme. There are people who ignore the opinions of experts, who simply do not accept a reality we have known for so long.

It may be because I am a student and students have been driving change since there were universities. It may be because I’m young and have not yet seen my ideals shattered to the ground, because I still believe in the good in people. But why not? Is that necessarily a bad thing? To believe in humankind? As a young person I hear a lot of that: Oh, you don’t know the world yet. You are so naive, that’s not how the world works. Grow up.

If growing up means losing your ideals, I’m not into it. If only young people had the power to change things because they are naive, revolutions would never have happened. Revolutions happen because there are people in every situation, every age, people who just don’t want to live that way anymore. Together, people have a great power. This is what I believe to be the only way this whole thing could work.

Listen, there are problems we can only fix economically. But who is going to communicate these changes to the public? Who is going to implement them? Yes, we are. It’s on us to change this world and make it a better place. I believe we can do this. I believe there are huge numbers of wonderful people who want to make a difference.

In the documentary about the “The Yes Men” the two activists did a fake conference announcing that the United States will change their energy sources to 100% renewable until 2020. The people attending, high security and weapons industry bosses, danced together in the end, lead by a Native American, celebrating this announcement. They want to be good! They want to bring change!

I have a problem with saying, that big changes have to be made on an economic level. Sure, it seems to be easier than changing people’s minds. We have a greater power through little bits of paper or 1s and 0s than we have on the actual brains of people. Here lies the base of my concern. What would happen if we don’t let people themselves change the world they are living in? What does that tell us about society?

  1. We come to believe that people are not capable to bring change. This is simply false. Looks at all the revolutions we have had, all the rights movements in the last centuries! They are surely not completed yet, no question, but we made a progress!
  2. People will say that this problem is only solvable on an abstract basis and therefore don’t do anything anymore. Place their lives in the hands of big financial bosses. We are nearly there already.
  3. We all will lose hope that ANYthing will EVER change. When that happens, everything becomes irrelevant. So what, we are emitting more and more greenhouse gases? So what, we get killed by hurricanes and floods… We can’t do anything, it just happens to us.

This is why we need HOPE. I believe in the magic of hope. It drives people to make things possible that they never even dreamed of. It makes people get working on problems that concern us all. Hope makes people move forward and this is what we need here. Every small action to counteract climate change helps. It may not be on a big scale, it might only matter to you personally but it does have an influence. It all adds up in the end. If you take the bike instead of the car tody – I want to cheer you! It might feel insignificant but it isn’t. Our actions influence our whole environment and maybe because you didn’t take the car today, your neighbour doesn’t either. See where this is leading?

If we still have the hope that our children will see a better world, we will make it a better place for them. If we still have hope, we can bring about change. I believe in humankind and yes I may be naive. Let me word it another way: I am hopeful and so should you be.

(If you are interested, watch this awesome documentary on climate change with Bill Nye, it’s really good.

What are your thoughts on this? I would love to know!