Finally the last decade is over. And if anyone asks me what decade it is, I can answer with confidence: It’s the 1920s of the 21st century. The 1920s. First the zeros, then the tens – what a linguistic torture that was.

Roaring Twenties

And how beautiful are the twenties, how beautiful were the Roaring Twenties, the Golden Twenties, in the last century. So at least for a few years after (World War I) and before the next catastrophe (world economic crisis, fascism). It is certainly no coincidence that the twenties are currently experiencing a renaissance all over the country. Thanks to Babylon Berlin and Volker Kutscher.

If I have my way, we can take the euphoric mood directly, but perhaps choose a different colour for the twenties of this century. I suggest: Green instead of gold. How about the green twenties of the 21st century? If our great-great-great-great-grandchildren ever learn anything about the twenties at school, please let it be said: In the Green Twenties, people understood back then that they had to change a lot of things. They really understood (they knew it already before) that almost 200 years earlier industrialisation in its known form – and thus the fossil age – had to come to an end, so that the whole of humanity would not come to an end immediately.

It would be nice.

Now please do something instead of just worrying

But oh, the climate conference in Madrid ended at the end of last year with the result: Next year we will meet to finally achieve concrete results for more climate protection. Doesn’t sound like a departure. But we are teaching our children: “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” The problem with this climate crisis issue is that there is no tomorrow unless we act today. In this respect the saying is inappropriate, unfortunately. But that in turn doesn’t matter either, because we don’t “worry” enough anyway, at best we “worry”. But that is not enough.

We know that. Let’s do it.

Greta Thunberg has the very great merit of having made it impressively clear to us adults what is written in the previous paragraph. There is no tomorrow if we don’t act today. By the way, we had a winter in the Rhineland with three nights of light ground frost. The spring? Dried up, withered away. “Waldsterben” (dying of forests) is currently mourned in many regions of Germany. And the burning continent of Australia is still fresh in our memories.

Greta Thunberg didn’t understand why and what we adults are waiting for, because there is even a recipe to avert the climate catastrophe now – at least that’s how I understood her. Actually, there are only three amazingly simple things that could already have a great deal of effect – but they are also amazingly serious in their consequences for each of us.

In the long run only renouncement helps

Point one concerns the question of perspective: Thunberg looks at this world differently. She wonders whether the rest of us are “still normal”. How can we overlook the fact that we are manoeuvring ourselves into the abyss, at full throttle, even though it is perfectly safe and proven?

Verzicht auf Fleisch

Point two: There can only be one solution to prevent the climate catastrophe – renunciation. Less and more conscious consumption means more protection of the climate and the environment. The renunciation of meat in the diet may polarize, but it is exactly the way. Applied to every area of life, it has positive effects.

I myself still eat meat, but maybe once every two weeks, in former times it was three times a week.

Can I really still fly for pleasure? Can I also voluntarily drive a maximum of 120 without a speed limit? Can I buy unpackaged goods? And and and.

Buy green technologies

Point three: Where we cannot do without, we must – at least in the rich countries – immediately make use of the “green” technologies that have long been available, i.e. renewable energies, environmentally friendly means of transport and so on. But so far we are not doing this to a sufficient extent, although many of us could afford it and it is often not even more expensive. When it comes to green technologies, TÜV Rheinland naturally also has a great responsibility. Environmental protection is one of the central aspects of our work. By this I don’t just mean the good old “environmental TÜV” for water, soil and air quality.

The example of photovoltaics for the generation of electricity from solar energy has shown this in an exemplary manner: The enthusiasm and commitment of individuals, also at TÜV Rheinland in the 1990s, has resulted in a fully established technology. At the same time, we are the global market leader in the testing and certification of solar systems and solar power plants. There will not always be such an ideal-typical constellation of environmental benefits and economic effects, but certainly frequently.

My conclusion:

We must now use them for the green twenties. Because we do not have the time.


Jörg Meyer zu Altenschildesche

Jörg Meyer zu Altenschildesche

Press Officer

My name is Jörg Meyer zu Altenschildesche. I live near the Dutch border, which is bearable because I like French Fries Spezial, work in Cologne and therefore see the cathedral every day. I’m a press officer at TÜV Rheinland, but I don’t just speak – I’ve been writing for over 40 years. Of course, there were no computers or anything like that (at least not at home; after all, we had a lot of punch cards to play with, because my father worked in a data center). But many of the topics that moved me were exciting (or soon became so): Football or environmental protection, globalization or mobility, this ingenious Internet or the whole world.

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