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Fairyland Is Burning Down

Fairyland Is Burning Down

[reading time ca. 5min.]

… or deforested, which can hardly be a consolation. But talking about fairytale-related issues, let’s do it in due style: Once upon a time, there were two brothers who felt a great love for the country and its people, as well as their language and their stories. And so they set out to read the fairy tales from the lips of old women, milkmaids, shepherds and lumberjacks at the smoke stacks and spinning wheels, at the village lime trees and wells, at the shepherd’s carts, charcoal burners‘ huts and forest houses, and to collect them in a book.
And the two brothers‘ book was well-received by the world, touched many hearts from Hong Kong to Hollywood and even inspired some people to create their own works.
Fairy tales often allude to the very places where they have been told, or buildings nearby, and although there usually is no set time and place, the castles, groves, huts and wells that were originally thought of can still be found.
In Trendelburg there is a tall tower with a long blond braid hanging out of its high window, and not far away in the Reinhardswald there is a little castle that is supposed to tempt you to take long naps … it is beautiful there … not least because the Reinhardswald is a particularly intact forest area that in some places conveys an idea of what the deep primeval forests of past millennia might have been like. You feel like becoming fearful of the Big Bad Wolf again and want to make sure your granny is alright. Along the Weser beats the cultural-mythical heart of the German-speaking world. Here you can find our cultural and historical heritage at their best.
But since too much beauty only leads to impartiality and self-esteem – which has always hindered rule and administration – this landscape is now – by decision of the Hessian state government (black-green) – undergoing a contemporary, technological correction. Twenty wind turbines will soon be rammed into the Reinhardswald on windthrow areas – which stirs generic thoughts on the matter of ugliness in my mind. Anyhow, I don’t mean the conspicuous monstrosity of the rapidly rotating blades, which even for Don Quixote would not be a match. Presumably you need the aesthetic sensibility of an old Maoist fighter with a slight bias towards violence – or at least the inclination to break what you don’t like – to find something to like about these things. No, I mean the ugliness that wells up from a deep layer of dishonesty: there is a powerful narrative about the role of carbon dioxide in the development of the global climate. And if we assume that this narrative is true (although there certainly is more than one informed opinion on this – but that is not the issue here), we have to conclude that wind turbines can do absolutely nothing to save the climate, since their construction emits as much CO² as they might eventually save in their entire operating life, thus neutralising any benefits. In the forest, as a matter of fact, one plant requires about seven hectares of cleared land. One hectare of forest binds about 16.5 kg of CO² per day. That is about 6,000 kg per year. That makes 42,000 kg per plant and about 840,000 kg for the planned park. This means that in the eighteen years in which the CO² balance of the plants remains negative, 15,120,000 kg of CO² will not be bound by the forest. There are other problems as well. For example, every year probably 16,000 birds of prey and 250,000 bats are dismembered by the turbines in Germany. Yes, I hear the objection that there must be mountains of such corpses under those windmill-esque contraptions. Obviously, this is nonsense. We have over thirty thousand wind turbines in the country, which means that only one in two is going to kill a bird of prey per year (or every nine bats) to reach this impressive figure. And if such an animal is caught by a rotor blade at 120 km/h, its carcass – if there is anything left at all – is unlikely to lie to be found underneath the turbine. Perhaps we also want to talk about insects; over time, these are rarely seen. Especially the flying insects. You can see from the swallows in summer how high their prey sometimes flies. Besides monumental maize monocultures (for biogas production), which are the purest death zones for such creatures, the mills certainly contribute their share to insect mortality. I also wonder whether the large wind farms do not have their share in the drier microclimates. Such questions are not really allowed to be asked – but since the number of wind turbines in this country is to be increased tenfold – Mr Habeck (great friend of wolves) wants to rewrite the nature conservation laws specifically for this purpose – we can probably soon observe which trends are intensifying.

The hope remains that one day all this will be dismantled. It is a pity that the plants will then be hazardous waste made of a non-recyclable composite material.
Perhaps someone is now asking why something like this is done if it doesn’t help. I think the answers are to be found in the social regulatory circles in which different groups push mandates, contracts and prestige towards each other. Which party books might wind power operators have? Reputation, power and money are very strong motivators and if it serves one’s own advancement, sincerity is dispensable.
And this insincerity is of such capital ugliness that I can think of little more to say about it. I understand that one wants success in one’s life in one area or another, and even that one makes one or two lazy compromises. But that truthfulness should be so fundamentally obliterated is something I do not understand. I don’t want to see such people, I don’t want to hear them, and I certainly don’t want them to have any say in this country.

Hvalsey church ruin (Kujataa, Qaqortukulooq, Greenland) erected as a Catholic Church around the year 1300.

The climate is warming up. How long and how far, however, I do not expect to learn from a science that cannot predict local weather for a fortnight. Climate is an open, non-linear system. You can’t calculate it. But yes, the climate is warming. At the moment, just to the point where the Greenland glaciers are slowly releasing the Viking bishopric farms on Greenland that they swallowed up in the Middle Ages. And if it is to be our declared aim to stop this, and if this is to be attempted via the avoidance of CO², a decentralised (affordable) energy supply with small thorium liquid salt reactors could be a solution that we should try, if only to metabolise our present nuclear waste into something far less harmful. A solution that could result in a fear-free and satisfied population, however … those who have to decide this are in their position because they have brought themselves to power with hysterical panic campaigns. In order to stay in power, people need both to be kept in a state of fear and insecurity and the greedy hands of the mighty reach deep down into the bag of subsidies (and thus into our pockets).

So everything will presumably continue on its harmful and shameful, destructive course, but … if you lean against the walls of the Sababurg and listen to the rustling of the wind in the treetops and the small black evening birds, there is a hope that those may be found who – as the fairytale says – are pure of heart. True lion hearts that oppose the greed for profit and dishonesty … the collected ugliness of this world.

Sven Stemmer

Arnold Welsch