Montag, 31. August 2009

Listen to the Radio


Topics of the day: radio, sponsors, more networking and writing, Pomare XI

At 8:00 I met Roti in front of “Radio Fara” (one of the local radio stations) for our interview. Actually Raurani was supposed to join us but she called Roti to let us know that she was sick (I hope it’s not the swine flu… on the other hand it’s not much worse than a standard flu – but it’s probably just a “dumbass media storm” to quote an eloquent friend of mine who is about to become a doctor – guess writing this will wreck his reputation if H1N1 ends up wiping out a third of the world population ;).

I was quite disappointed when the radio-reporter announced that sports were more important and he couldn’t fit us in. Roti convinced him to find a free slot so we went to look for sponsors (fruitless attempts – guess we need to change our strategy) and picked up Raphael who went with her son Vaitua to scan the logo for the leaflets, before we went back to the radio station at 11:30.

Roti was interviewed in Tahitian and I believe she made some very relevant points (at least judging by her gestures and the energy resonating in her voice). When it was my turn I apologized for not speaking Tahitian, talked a bit about the depletion of resources, the “dépendance énergétique” and said that I’m concerned about the future of our planet and the generations to come. I also had to admit that Germany isn’t as progressive and ideal when it comes to renewable energy as we’d like to make the world believe – that lobbyists of multinational corporations still have too much influence on politicians and that we’re building new coal power plants although we should set an example for other countries (thanks to the forward-looking research that is being conducted in our country), that the local government had announced energy autonomy for 2030 but that we believed it is possible (and necessary) to become self-sufficient a lot faster than that, if the citizens put (more) pressure on their decision makers!

Unfortunately my French is still quite far from perfect but I hope at least a few people got the message. Speaking to so many people does make me quite nervous – but I guess that’s a price I’m willing to pay for the greater cause…

Then we went over to Roti’s again – we actually wanted to print the leaflets (bicycle driver’s licenses which Raphael made, that have a postcard to Oscar Temaru with our demands and the details for our demonstration on them) but the logo wasn’t ready yet and then Roti had an appointment… so I went networking again. I’m sick of sitting in front of the screen all day (that was probably not a very nice thing to write – considering that’s probably what most readers do all day every day – I should be more grateful)… but I really want to go out there and infect every cyclist I see (and everyone else too).

The rightful king of Tahiti, Pomare XI just came by to visit Roti – she’ll be his chancellor (Raphael the energy minister and I’ll take care of brainwashing - I mean education ;) once he’s in power. I am obviously just kidding – but the descendant of the last queen really just went out the front door (well the little gate – Roti doesn’t really have a proper door on her house ;)

Now the three of us are still sitting in front of our laptops…

Final thoughts of the day: We still don’t have any sponsors yet – maybe writing the Toa Times was a waste of time and we should just make this demonstration cheap…

Wonder how many people listened to Roti on the radio and what they thought…

I wish I could stay longer and learn Tahitian… I guess one can’t have everything at once – there’s so much to do and so little time!

What would Tahiti be like with a king ?

I now have 67 “friends” on Facebook – don’t people have real lives?

“Mytsuru just took the "Quel genre de mecs attires-tu ?" quiz and the result is Tu les attires tous !.“
“Hina recherche l'amour. Voulez vous envoyer de l'amour?“
This is so sad... Should I be using facebook - does the end justify the means?
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Sonntag, 30. August 2009

Facebook Revolution


Topics of the day: market, networking, Facebook, blog, Raphael accident

This morning we went to the market – it has become a nice Sunday-tradition now that we’re living only 3 minutes from the city center.

I spent all day over at Roti’s networking: flooded all her “facebook-friends” (Facebook is a social networking website where people generally waste… I mean spend a lot of… quality time) and their friends with our “Vélowave” (invited them to our bicycle demonstration on Saturday) and modified the “Toa Times” blog. At the end of the day I had already made 13 “friends” without even taking my eyes off the screen or saying a word – how convenient…

When I came “home” I found Raphael with his foot in the sink and our neighbour assisting him with disinfectant, dressing material and tape – he’d fallen up the stairs and cut three of his toes on one of the metal swells that are fixed to the edges of the steps in the stairwell (it really pays off never using the elevator ). I hope he won’t have to go to hospital (H1N1-hazard-zone 1).

Final thoughts of the day: I’m so glad Roti decided not to take the boat back to Rapa (it only leaves for the little island less than once a month which means that she’ll have to wait until October until she can get back). I’m not sure what we’d be doing now if we hadn’t met her – probably I’d get some time to read and pester more people with our questionnaire.

What’s our aim here? I’d say to make a difference – and a bicycle demonstration might be the right way to sensitise and mobilise the population… make them aware of their fossil-fuel addiction, peak oil, dependence on imports (if not the (more important) environmental aspect) and show them that they’re not powerless against “slumber-politics”…
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Samstag, 29. August 2009

In Vino Veritas, in aqua sanitas – or maybe not…


Topics of the day: writing, no sponsors, Thede's farewell party, wine

Today I wrote, sorted through some pictures (applying efficiency criteria: a waste of time) and then went downtown to ask at the nearby bike shop if they’d like to sponsor us – they refused but at least I gave them such a bad conscience (“Mais notre fenua…”) that I got our bike pumped up for free - cold comfort (this is not a very good translation – going swimming in waterfalls for example really is quite the pleasure especially in these latitudes)… Anyhow, I’m not very convincing when it comes to selling my - our ideas (I’m just supposing you’re with me, dear reader). I didn’t feel too bad (as bad as the last time) though because I got the impression that the Chinese shop owner didn’t understand me very well and on top of that the Chinese here are known to be profit-greedy… I mean competent salesmen. Then I bought a broom (imported from France – that’s what I love about being outdoors: you never have to clean (the floor) – looking at everyday life here it’s hard to believe Tahiti used to be self sufficient – but (today) I have enough imagination to picture it :) for Johann’s apartment so we don’t have to bug our neighbours all the time – although we could have suggested broom-sharing (sharing tools really makes a lot of sense when you consider how often they are used and how much energy flows into producing them)…

In the afternoon Roti picked up Rudolf and then drove by “Mamao” to collect us because we were all invited to Thede’s farewell party (he’s leaving Tahiti tomorrow) at Tino and Tia’s (forget the public transport). Two of Tia’s sisters (+ a husband), Tino’s parents and Frank (another Polynesian who spent a few years in Germany – half the people at table spoke German quite amazing considering that we’re so far away from “home”) were also there. We had some really good conversations and everyone got along great – I have the hope that… no… I know that we’ll leave behind a few people who are motivated to fight for renewables :)

Unfortunately I had a bit too much wine (unwise decadence) so I went to lie down beside the kids, fell asleep and missed out on the second half of the evening/night – at least now I’ll spare the reader of dull renarrations.

Final thoughts of the day:
Today Raphael said that we need a vacation (we shouldn’t miss the chance to explore French Polynesia – who knows if we’ll ever come back). Maybe we’ll go to Maupiti with Tia and Tino - his parents (who live in Maupiti) offered that we could stay with them… it takes a while to get there by boat and Eric and Robert are coming soon to start working on the film so I don’t know if we’ll still get a chance to go…

I can hardly ever relax (would be more efficient if I did) – blessed blinkers (sometimes I’d like them back)!

If Thede’s wind turbines yield sufficient profits (they’ll have amortized soon) he said he’d employ me as an independent do-gooder - my dream job!

Alcohol makes me tired, I’m always honest anyway and the water here is chlorinated – I guess the Greeks couldn’t see that coming!
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Freitag, 28. August 2009

Creating Momentum


Topics of the day: 2D-Attitude, carbon trading, air conditioning, swine flu conspiracy, press conference, paperwork

This morning we met Mizael in the Parc Bougainville. He works as a teacher (at the biggest lycée in French Polynesia which has about 2500 pupils and teachers) and volunteers for 2D-Attitude. He told us that they used to concentrate on education (school children as well as adults) when they first started in 2005 but then figured this would take too long (we don’t have a lot of time left to turn the tide). Now they are focusing on decision makers in all areas (politicians as well as private enterprises) – not like the other environmental associations that try to tackle the problem (mankind) “on the ground”… He agreed that we need to do both (otherwise he wouldn’t be working as a teacher) but stated that no one took care of the “worst polluters” – I guess he’s right.

Then he mentioned carbon trading which immediately set off my alarm bells. I asked in a quite cynical way whether he honestly believed that this would fix the world’s problems – carbon trading seems a bit like going abroad (into the “third world”) to buy letters of indulgence where they are cheaper so we (industrialized countries who have the knowhow to implement clean tech) can happily continue to crank up our emissions! Fortunately he added that the priorities should be as follows:

1. Save Energy
2. Increase Efficiency
3. Implement Renewables
4. Consider Carbon Trading

We also talked about architecture and “bioclimatique” – apparently the head mistress of his school managed to convince authorities that the air-conditioning should be switched off since a study (?) showed that air-conditioning increased the (swine-flu) infection rate. Most schools here have adopted a “come-to-class-if-you’re-willing-to-take-the-risk” -policy which means that parents are free to decide whether they want their children to attend school or not… Wonder what kind of impact the swine flu is going to have on the world… Roti sent me a document in French with the following quote:

« Il faut prendre des mesures draconiennes de réduction démographique contre la volonté des populations. Réduire les taux de natalité s'est avéré impossible ou insuffisant. Il faut donc augmenter le taux de mortalité. Comment ? Par des moyens naturels : la famine et la maladie. »

"There are only two ways of preventing a world with 10 billion inhabitants. Either the birth rate drops or the death rate will rise.There is no other way… There are, of course, many ways to make the death rate increase. In the thermonuclear age war can take care of this very quickly and in a definite way. Famine and disease are the oldest."

Robert Mc. Namara, former U.S. Secretary of defense and former president of the World Bank

… not a very good translation (the French quote) or I just didn’t find the right quote online…

Apparently the UNO, the WHO and the pharmaceutical corporations Baxter and Avir Green Hills Technology are in on this… or is this just another unjustified conspiracy theory? Unfortunately or maybe luckily internet here is very expensive otherwise I’d probably spend hours on internet research – sometimes it may be better not to know - blinkers are so extremely comfy…

Sorry for disrupting the structure of this blog entry… anyhow – Mizael had lots of interesting things to say but we didn’t have much time so we’ll probably go and visit him some time soon. He lives on the other side of the island (Tahiti Iti) which we haven’t gotten around to seeing yet.

After about half an hour Raurani, Hinano (yes, like the beer but that’s actually her name – she’s the secretary of Roti’s Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) and Roti showed up in the park. Roti brought an awesome banner which she had made yesterday and wore a t-shirt that said “Velotoa” on the collar. I was instantly super motivated but also a bit anxious. At 9:30 (the beginning of our press conference) only two reporters had turned up – one from a radio station and another one with two video cameras (he only used the small one to film us though so I don’t think he was being serious… but maybe size doesn’t matter ;).

The radio-reporter held his arm next to mine to compare our skin-colours and then asked me for how long I’d been in French Polynesia and if I wanted to tell the Polynesians what to do – rrrrg – I responded that I had a bad conscience for what the Europeans had done to the paradise, the fenua. I guess using that word in Tahitian conciliated him a bit. He interviewed Roti in Tahitian and me in French and then a reporter from the other radio station and two freelance journalists arrived who also interviewed us and happily received our press release.

I think the two Polynesian TV-transmitters are boycotting our “Vélowave” because they get too much money for SUV-adds… but at least we’ll be on the radio and in the paper. We’ve arranged a longer interview with one of the radio-reporters for Monday morning.

The second half of the day wasn’t as pleasant – apart from writing a short application and posting an entry for the Toa Times blog (yet another blog) I didn’t get as much done as I had planned. The e-mail flood I’m getting every day just won’t die down – maybe I should unsubscribe from some of the lists – but then I’d feel like I’m missing out on important things…
I shall be more motivated tomorrow!

Final thoughts of the day:
I wish I could see the reaction of people when they hear about our bicycle-action on the radio... wonder how many of them will understand our aim (and reason)… will they just ignore it/switch over to the other channel?

If you have an opinion on carbon trading and or the WHO-conspiracy theory please post a comment!
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Donnerstag, 27. August 2009

People and Money


Topics of the day: city hall, sponsors, waste incineration

Today we met Raurani who wants to help us with our bicycle-action (it’s really good to know the movement won’t die off once we’re gone, since Roti won’t have time to take care of it/will be back in Rapa). Raurani is an event-manager who is currently unemployed. She spent 7 years in Denmark so she’s really into cycling :) After quickly briefing her we went to see the person from the city hall whom we had already met yesterday to talk over our plans – and get the details for their Mobility Week program to announce in our “Toa Times” journal (just realizing that it’s not really a journal – we’re planning on bringing it out once a month – every time there is a bicycle demonstration). The meeting was really disappointing – there are so many difficulties – he remarked that the cars (bloody huge trucks) are too big for there to be enough space on the road to put in a cycle path (grrrrr). He talked to us in that sort of “let’s be realistic”-manner. There’s always a solution if you really want. How can people be so reluctant to change?

After some technical difficulties we finally printed a draft of “The Toa Times” and Raurani and I went to the first bike shop owner to convince him to sponsor us – he’d even get an advertisement for his shop in our newspaper. The man also sold mopeds and told us that people weren’t buying his (quality) bikes (or spare parts) but if at all getting cheaper ones from Carrefour to throw out when they’re broken… apart from that Tahitians adored their 4x4’s, it was too hot on the island and people living in the mountains would never even think about cycling. When I pointed out that those people could just use bikes with electric motors he asked me if I had ever tried to change a tire on a bike equipped with an electric motor (apparently he had bad experience with them) – I hadn’t – knock-out argument. He said they’d stop selling bikes and didn’t believe that people would change their attitude. When I asked if he had heard about peak oil (which he hadn’t) and started to explain the situation he interrupted me in a very rude manner so I left the store. I was so angry, disappointed and sad (my sleep debt didn’t help – think I should start taking analeptic drugs ;) that I went “home”. I wouldn’t have made a very good impression on potential sponsors (the expression on my face unfortunately never fails to reflect how I feel) and there was only an hour left until Raphael and I wanted to head off with Jean-Louis (from SEDEP) to see the mothballed waste incineration plant (the government blew 5 billion CFP on the thing and it only ran for about 3 years before the people living in the surrounding area had a scratchy throats and complained about the smell so it was shut down). I ended up being too tired and depressed that Raphael went on his own (I am such a coward).

I wrote a bit and will go to bed early – might decrease my level of grumpiness… and help me find the right words for the press tomorrow morning (I’m really not a media person but I know damn well that Roti will force me to say something)… Raphael suggested we start a completion with Johann (he had an interview the other night) to see who of us will be on TV more often until we leave – looking at the number of inhabitants everyone here probably gets to be on TV at some point in their life ;)

Final thoughts of the day:
When I walked out of that store I really felt like saying something similar to “See you in hell!” and I could picture myself dumping a bucket full of gooey crude oil over the shop owner’s head (can one suppress evil thoughts?)… It is amazing how one person (whom I only knew for five minutes) can have such an impact on my mood.
I hope I’ll never lose my idealism.

I hate (asking for) money – it’s the most unpleasant thing when you’re organizing public events

Do people only change when they have to?
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Mittwoch, 26. August 2009


...wonder who will want to read a blog entry with that title - for nerdy readers only ;)

Topics of the day: sponsors, newsletter, children, invitations

This morning I cycled over to Roti (déjà-vu) to finally go and find sponsors but it took too long for her to correct all the mistakes I had made in the journal (although my written French has slightly improved since we got here) and she had a meeting so we didn’t get around to it. At least I managed organizing some things for when I get back to Scotland (we only have four weeks left – time’s going by so fast!).

In the afternoon I went over to the children’s home again and played with the kids. When I came most of them weren’t there (off to play football or basketball or get dancing lessons) but that way at least I got a chance to slowly learn the names. After those three hours I felt really relaxed (stress signs vanished).

Back at Roti’s (Raphael came along to finalize the logo for our “Vélowave”) I went through all the documents Roti had written (manifesto (which even I found a bit too radical), letter to the Oscar (the president of French Polynesia ;), invitation for a press conference, press release, letter to the mayor of Pape’ete and one to ask for permission to use the square in front of the Heiva-stadium as an meeting place for our demonstration). Then I wrote for the blog (I guess I should feel sorry that the quality has decreased so much). We got “home” past midnight. Unfortunately we always wake up at around 6 o’clock in the morning…

Final thoughts of the day: I’m pretty exhausted and don’t feel like I’ve got anything to show for. Will our struggle to mobilize the population succeed or just be a(nother) failed attempt? Is an action like this one too particular? Fighting against symptoms doesn’t really do it – we need to change the system completely… on the other hand people need something small they can participate in to start and if we… I mean… they manage to get through to the government with their demands (cycle paths, bike sharing and tax exemption for bike purchases (which is not really much considering the time which we have left to save the planet is running up quickly)) they might feel like they can change the bigger picture too.

Unfortunately I got neither a response from Terii Vallaux nor from Nuihau saying how they will proceed with the public participation wind park/solar farm…
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Dienstag, 25. August 2009

Fighting in French


Topics of the day: European Mobility Week, 2D-Attitude, sponsors

Today we met up with Mizael (and two other people from “2D-Attitude” a local environmental organization) and someone from the city hall who is organizing the program for the European Mobility Week in Pape’ete. Roti also joined us with a few of her friends (3 journalists). Unfortunately we met in a loud restaurant and I felt pretty tired so I wasn’t able to understand everything that was said. We’ll meet up with Mizael again on Friday in the Parc Bougainville (it’s a bit quieter there)…

I found it quite indicative that they were all French… would have been good to have a few more locals there.

Although it was good to meet Caroline from 2D-Attitude (she has lots of ideas and is very energetic) I felt a bit drained after the meeting. I guess the fact that there is still so much to do and our bicycle-action is in less than two weeks is stressing me a bit. When I was sitting in Roti’s car looking out at all the other big cars my imagination was insufficient – I just couldn’t picture bikes only (well, maybe just a Reva Tae swooshing by). Roti and I actually wanted to go to all the bike shops to find a sponsor but she felt quite exhausted as well and we still had to print the draft version of the “Toa Times”. So we went over to her place to work on it a bit more. Meanwhile Raphael went to the TEP (Société de Transport d’Energie Electrique en Polynésie) to meet someone. He didn’t have anything interesting to report when I asked him about it in the evening (the only thing he found out was that the TEP was established only recently, before EDT had “taken care” of everything – if we had any questions about the grid or its stability we’d be better off asking someone from EDT directly). Some meetings here really seem to have been quite pointless...

Final thought of the day: Being “écolo” here means driving a small SUV…
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Montag, 24. August 2009

Global Compassion or Emotional Particularism


Topics of the day: memory blurred (no I don’t financially support the local… green economy)

I most likely spent reading, writing and worrying about the world - what a waste of time...
Maybe I wondered why people are so emotionally particular – when you read in the paper that a kid in your neighbourhood died (you didn’t even know him/her) in a car accident that feels a lot worse than reading that thousands of children (somewhere at the other end of the world die of malnutrition somewhere in Africa (as people like to generalize) or are born disabled somewhere in South America due to the extensive use of pesticides (“needed” for the banana you just ate) which get into the ground and so the drinking water.

Final thoughts of the day (possibly):
Does every person in the world have the same potential to feel with others?
Is that something you learn or is everyone maybe already born with a certain potential (nature or nurture)?
How can we create a sense of global compassion? I guess once we figured that one out we’ll finally have a peaceful and just global community…
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Sonntag, 23. August 2009

Grass Roots?


Topics of the day: reading, Transition Towns again, Peak Oil, writing, Johann, Gross National Happiness

Today we went to the market – I love the market on Sundays – it’s so full of life (and local goodness) and you always meet someone you know (we met Rudolph who seemed a lot more optimistic today and told us what the local green vegetable I had convinced Raphael of buying (which looked a bit like Swiss chard) was – I instantly forgot the name)…

We stayed at “home” for the rest of the day, read and wrote (I don’t even know what the beach looks like anymore – I feel like a slave of modern technology – my laptop is doing overtime (sometimes the evil thing gets so hot that I think it has a fever…or maybe a direct connection to hell) – I am obviously quite tired at the moment forgetting about my (good) manners – I am damn lucky to be so privileged and get the opportunity to learn so much here). I put some background information about peak oil (le pic pétrolier) and climate change into “The Toa Times – Journal pour un futur serain” (as we renamed it). No one can really say when peak oil (the point at which the global oil production will have/has reached its maximum – amazing how quickly we can burn resources that (possibly) took millions (or at least hundreds of thousands – former just sounds more impressive) of years to form). Bye bye fossil fuels… What will the future look like without the black gold?

Johann came back from Hawaii and sort of moved in today (he brought his 7 boxes – he had announced he’d be coming with 7 containers (we immediately thought of the ones for freight on ships) and we already wondered how their contents were going to fit into the apartment).

He’s a really open-minded and I’m glad to have someone with whom I can have a conversation in English (I sometimes still get frustrated when I fail to find the right words in French). We talked about the Tahitians favourite 4-wheeled toys and he stated “We’re more American than the Americans”… then he told us about the poverty in Samoa but how its people are one of the happiest in the world – that reminded me of a study which showed that “gross national happiness” is most definitely not proportional to the gross national product!

As much as I dream of a hero like Maeva, capable of revolutionizing world politics and the principles of Equilibrism spreading over the planet from above I’m considering, I’m considering the possibility that the grassroots (for example Transition Towns) approach might be the more realistic (and admittedly also quite tempting) one (I wouldn’t have to go into politics and could just do little down to earth type things that don’t involve so much computer crap)…

Final thoughts of the day: I wonder if some Total lobbyists spend all their time trying to erase all texts (on the net) indicating that peak oil may well have already past - it's good to look at different sources (the English and german version of the wikipedia entries do state more "pessimistic" (I'd say the sooner the better) predictions for the date of peak oil to have happened (2006 according to the Energy Watch Group).
In 2008 the IEA (International Energy Agency) who surprisingly admit that the world’s oil supplies are finite said peak oil wouldn’t occur before 2030 and now (April 2009) they’re claiming it might already happen "possibly in 2020" - How accurate is that?!

Thank you for the positive feedback Reiner – I’m glad I motivated at least someone – let us know how your Transition Town Munich initiative is coming along!
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Samstag, 22. August 2009

Transition Towns... Islands!


Topics of the day: Transition towns, islands and times, bikes, WILPF, India

I slept over at Roti’s house so I don’t really know what Raphael did today (I think he cleaned the flat and wrote an abstract of his thesis in English (for Terii Vallaux)). I distracted Roti, talked to her about WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – she suggested I join them for their international summit (?) in India next year to present “my” ideas – don’t really think I’d be ready for that and the money (for the (polluting) flight) would probably be better spent on something practical (planting trees, building irrigation systems, class rooms, a small biogas plant (running on cow shit – in India)…) and politics in general, wrote for the blog and a newsletter ((“Transition Times”) which we want to distribute around Pape’ete on our day of action - the first issue is going to focus on different types of bicycles (to transport children (seats and trailers), adults (rickshaws/bike-taxis) and things (like tools and groceries)). I also read a bit about transition towns – a grass roots initiative which is starting to spread across the world (already more than 1500 towns participating worldwide). The aim is to reduce or in the long run eliminate fossil fuel dependency by localizing electricity (and heat) generation, encouraging public transport, minimizing (and recycling) waste (locally) and encouraging agricultural self sufficiency (the production of local food without using petrochemicals (organic/permaculture)). In a nutshell: “forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)”.

I found a lot of interesting websites… there is so much happening online (and even more in real life) which is really encouraging – we’re not alone (and I’m not talking about extraterrestrials on earth)!

Here’s a link:

Final thoughts of the day: Wouldn’t it be amazing to participate in a grass roots (transition towns) movement? There is so much information out there that just needs to be put into practice – by YOU… yes, of course… I know you don’t have time (so much work) and when you get home you just want to sit down and have your peace and quiet – must be my youthful foolishness making a suggestion like that - but it’s at least worth a thought, isn’t it?! Even if you just donate an hour of your precious time every week - that’s only about 8 minutes and 34 seconds a day.
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Hier ist sie: Maevas Rede!

Ich danke euch für das rege Interesse. Es sind zwar erst neun Anfragen eingetrudelt, aber Andreas besitzt in der Tat Gewicht für zwei. Die Rede wird im Opernhaus von Sydney anlässlich der Amtseinführung Maevas als Generalsekretärin der URP (United Regions of the Pacific) gehalten. Aber denkt bitte daran, dass dies eine Rohfassung ist. Für Kritik und Vorschläge bin ich sehr dankbar. Also bitte, hier ist Maeva...

    Die meisten Gäste waren aus der Pause zurückgekehrt und hatten bereits wieder Platz genommen. Steve fragte sich, wieso das Rednerpult in die Kulissen geschoben und die Teleprompter abgebaut wurden - ausgerechnet vor Maevas Auftritt. Stattdessen, streute man Blumen, legte eine Bastmatte in der Mitte der Bühne aus und bestückte sie mit einer Reihe bunter Kissen.

    Wo blieb Cording? Er hatte seinen privilegierten Platz im Parkett (zweite Reihe, Mitte) mit Meredith Rose von National Geographic getauscht, einer Reporterkollegin, die er aus früheren Tagen kannte. Merkwürdig genug. Vielleicht zog er die Position auf dem Pressebalkon ja deshalb vor, weil er sich von hier aus jederzeit unbemerkt verdrücken konnte. Steve wusste, wie angespannt Cording war, welche Sorgen er sich um Maeva machte und wie grauenhaft es für ihn wäre, Zeuge ihres Scheiterns zu werden. Noch gestern hatte er allen Ernstes erwägt, Omai zu bitten, Maeva für krank zu erklären und sie damit aus der Schusslinie zu nehmen. Ihre Rede sollte Omai verlesen. Wer, so Cording, wäre dazu besser geeignet, als ihr Bruder, der ehemalige Präsident der Ökologischen Föderation Polynesiens?

    Das hätte Omai so gepasst, dachte Steve, während die Saaldiener damit begannen, die Türen zu schließen. Cording war nicht gekommen. Eine ganz schwache Nummer .... Das Licht in der Concert Hall erstarb und aus den unsichtbaren Reihen war nur noch vereinzelt ein Hüsteln oder Räuspern zu hören. Langsam, als würde die tropische Dämmerung heraufziehen, schälte sich die Bühne aus dem Dunkel. Inmitten von Blumen und Kissen kniete eine grazile Gestalt in entspannter Haltung auf der Matte, als hätte sie es sich auf einem schwebenden Diwan bequem gemacht. Sobald das Publikum registrierte, wen es vor sich hatte, begann es vor Begeisterung zu toben, erst recht, als Maeva kurz darauf überlebensgroß auf den beiden Screens links und rechts der Bühne zu besichtigen war.

    Steve hatte sich wie jeder hier im Saal erhoben und konnte sich nicht satt sehen an der Schönheit dieser Frau, die mit einem kaum wahrnehmbaren Lächeln auf die nicht enden wollenden Huldigungen reagierte. Ihre Augen streiften ohne Hast durch den Musiktempel, als wollte sie ihn bis in den letzten Winkel erkunden. Dabei fuhren ihre Blicke wie behutsam gesetzte Pinselstriche über die Reihen, in denen sich die Menschen nun als Bestandteil eines einzigen, großartigen Gemäldes fühlen durften. Steve mochte nicht glauben, was hier geschah, das grenzte an Zauberei. Maeva verharrte in ihrer unerschütterlichen Haltung. Sie trug einen üppigen Kranz weißer Tiareblüten um den Hals, der ihr bis zum Bauchnabel reichte. Ihre schwarze, lockige Mähne floss die nackten Schultern hinab und rahmte den Blumenschmuck auf voller Länge ein, sodass sie sich über dem in der Taille geknoteten rotgelben Pareu nicht die geringste Blöße gab, obwohl er wetten konnte, dass die meisten im Publikum das anders sahen.

    Nach einigen Minuten führte Maeva die rechte Faust ans Herz, schlug die Augen nieder und neigte den Kopf kaum merklich nach vorne. Innerhalb von Sekunden wichen die Begeisterungsschreie, wichen Fußgetrampel und Klatscherei einer fast andächtigen Stille.

    "Iaorana!" begrüßte Maeva die Anwesenden sichtlich beeindruckt auf tahitianisch. "Ich bin froh, dass Sie da sind, ich freue mich auf die Zusammenarbeit mit Ihnen. Mit Ihnen und allen anderen Menschen ..."

    Dem erneut aufkommenden Sturm der Begeisterung gebot sie mit einer beschwichtigenden Handbewegung Einhalt.

    "Bevor ich ihnen erzähle, wie ich mir eine solche Zusammenarbeit vorstelle, möchte ich mich bei den zwölf Regionen Australiens bedanken. Ohne ihre Bereitschaft, den Hilflosen und Verfolgten dieser Welt eine neue Heimat zu geben, hätte ich für dieses Amt nicht kandidiert. Ohne das Versprechen, der großen Schar von Umwelts- und Armutsflüchtlingen zu helfen, die ohne eigenes Verschulden überall auf der Erde ihrer Lebensgrundlagen beraubt werden, würde vieles so bleiben, wie es ist - jedenfalls in unseren Herzen. Es sind aber in erster Linie unsere Herzen, die in Ordnung gebracht werden müssen. Die Gestaltung einer besseren Welt hängt nicht davon ab, wie viel umweltschonende Technik wir einsetzen und wie nachhaltig wir wirtschaften - eine bessere Welt ist nur möglich, wenn wir zu einer grundsätzlich anderen Lebens- und Weltanschauung finden."

    "Tut mir leid, Sir, ich kann Sie nicht mehr reinlassen."

    Cording zeigte dem Saaldiener seine Pressekarte.

    "Nichts zu machen, Sir. Ich befolge nur meine Anweisungen."

    "Hören Sie," sagte Cording, "ich bin Mitglied der tahitianischen Delegation."

    "So sehen Sie auch aus. Bitte bleiben Sie von der Tür."

    "Wieso? Heute Nachmittag konnte ich noch beliebig häufig rein und raus wandern ..."

    "Während der Rede der Präsidentin darf niemand in den Saal. Raus ja, rein nein."

    "Wer hat sich denn diesen Schwachsinn ausgedacht?"

    "Dieser Schwachsinn, Sir, geschieht auf ausdrücklichen Wunsch der tahtianischen Delegation."

    Oh ...

    Steve fühlte sich hin und her gerissen. Einerseits wollte er keine Millisekunde von Maevas faszinierendem Vortrag verpassen, andererseits schmerzte es ihn, dass ausgerechnet Cording glaubte, sich diesen historischen Moment ersparen zu können. Es musste etwas vorgefallen sein, anders war sein Verhalten nicht zu erklären. Eigentlich wäre es seine verdammte Freundespflicht gewesen, nach Cording zu suchen und ihn notfalls mit Gewalt her zu schleppen, dahin, wo die Musik spielte. Aber jedes Mal, wenn Steve kurz davor war, seinen Platz zu verlassen, hielten ihn Maevas Worte zurück, schien sie ihm etwas Wichtiges mitteilen zu wollen.

    "Die Krise, in der wir uns befinden, ist eine Krise der Herzen," sagte sie mit dieser melodiösen, wie durch Honig gezogenen weinroten Stimme. "Sie hat die menschliche Kultur infiziert wie eine Krankheit und dazu geführt, dass wir unsere tiefsten Werte in Frage gestellt haben. Wir wissen einfach nicht mehr, woran wir uns orientieren sollen. Es ist ein moralischer Kollaps, den wir erleben. Die Beziehungen zwischen uns Menschen und den Pflanzen, Tieren und Wesenheiten unserer Mitwelt sind zerbrochen. Warum? Weil wir die Unverschämtheit und den Dünkel besaßen, uns selbst in den Mittelpunkt der Schöpfung zu stellen. Wir haben uns abgenabelt vom Leben, wir schätzen und schützen es nicht länger, wir beuten es aus."

    Sie sagte ausdrücklich WIR, sie nahm niemand aus, obwohl sie indigenen Ursprungs war. Eine große, versöhnliche Geste, wie Steve fand.

    "Von allen Gefahren, die uns heute drohen ist keine so groß, wie die Gefahr der Verdrängung. Wenn wir die Augen vor dem verschließen, was um uns und durch uns passiert, dann geschieht das, was uns zu vernichten droht, weiterhin unkontrolliert. Der Einzelne fühlt sich angesichts der Wahrheiten, die es mittlerweile zu konfrontieren gilt, so klein und zerbrechlich, dass er glaubt, es würde ihn in Stücke reißen, sobald er sich erlaubt, seine Gefühle über den Zustand der Welt zuzulassen. Er befürchtet eine tiefe Depression oder Lähmung. Das Gegenteil aber ist der Fall. Wenn wir den Schmerz, den wir für die Welt fühlen, unterdrücken, dann isoliert uns das. Wenn wir ihn jedoch akzeptieren, anerkennen und darüber sprechen, dann merken wir, dass er weit hinaus geht über unser kleines Ego, dann erfahren wir durch ihn eine größere Identität, dann wird er zum lebendigen Beweis unserer Verbundenheit mit allem Lebendigen. Unser Schmerz um den Zustand der Welt und unsere Liebe für die Welt sind untrennbar miteinander verbunden, sie sind zwei Seiten derselben Medaille."

    Cording hatte keine Lust, Maevas Rede auf den installierten Monitoren im Foyer zu verfolgen, er hatte keine Lust, sich unter diejenigen zu mischen, die wie er um einige Minuten verspätet waren und die ihren Frust über die Aussperrung mit einem Glas Wein oder Sekt zu mildern versuchten. Wie ein Panther schlich er auf dem roten Teppich um den Konzertsaal, immer an den Garderoben entlang, immer in der Hoffnung, irgendwo eine unbewachte Tür zu finden, durch die er schlüpfen konnte. Keine Chance. Die Saaldiener standen wie angewurzelt vor den Eingängen, sie gaben ihm schon von weitem zu verstehen, dass jeder Versuch, sie zu überlisten, zwecklos war.

    Enttäuscht blieb er stehen. Hinter dem Tresen, an dem er lehnte, saß eine ältere Frau inmitten von Mänteln, Jacken und Regenschirmen und starrte auf einen kleinen Fernseher, den sie auf einem Stuhl in der Ecke postiert hatte. Cording fragte, ob er sich zu ihr setzen dürfe und wurde höflich dazu eingeladen. Was er kurz darauf auf dem kleinen Apparat zu sehen bekam, verschlug ihm die Sprache. Maeva stand nicht etwa am Pult, wie die Redner vor ihr, sie kniete in einem Blumenmeer am Boden, anmutig und aufrecht. Wo waren die obligaten Teleprompter, die als Gedächtnisstützen unerlässlich waren bei so einem Auftritt? Vielleicht hatte man sie unter der Decke angebracht, aber dazu hätte sie auch einmal hoch schauen müssen. Konnte es wirklich sein, dass sie auf dieses Hilfsmittel verzichtete und ganz und gar frei sprach?

    Vermutlich war es so. Sie wirkte dermaßen souverän, dass ihre schöne Gestalt und die ganze Farbenpracht völlig nebensächlich geworden waren. Ihr Äußeres schien lediglich wiederzuspiegeln, was an Feuer in ihr loderte. Es war unmöglich geworden, sich ausschließlich an den schönen Schein zu halten, ohne von ihr auf feinstofflicher Ebene vereinnahmt zu werden. Cording befürchtete, dass sie sich gleich ganz auflösen würde, als sei Materie im Reich ihrer neuen Wirklichkeit nur eine lächerliche Illusion. Er hatte von dem Phänomen des inspirierten Schreibens gehört, das Menschen, die normalerweise keinen vernünftigen Satz zustande brachten, kurzfristig zu wundersamer Poesie befähigte. Etwas ähnliches musste Maeva passiert sein. Natürlich wusste sie sich intelligent auszudrücken, sie war schließlich Universitätslehrerin gewesen. Aber was hier geschah, ging weit über das hinaus, was er von ihr bisher zu hören bekommen hatte. Sie war eine Predigerin geworden, eine beseelte Kriegerin, deren Autorität hier niemand leugnete. Sie hat sich über uns erhoben, dachte Cording. Nicht aus Dünkel, aus Berufung. Ein schweres Los. Und plötzlich fühlte er sich schwer, als trage er an einer bösen Vorahnung, die es einen Scheißdreck zu kümmern schien, dass er gerade einer Sternstunde beiwohnte.

    Die Faszination von Maevas Vortrag wurde auch nicht durch die praktischen Passagen getrübt, die sie gelegentlich einstreute. Gerade war sie dabei, die Grundpfeiler der neuen Verfassung zu erläutern, die sich die URP geben wollte. Eine komplexe Materie, die man nicht so eben aus der Hand schüttelte. Cording erinnerte sich gut an die Schwierigkeiten, denen sich der internationale Expertenrat gegenüber sah, der auf Betreiben Tahitits wochenlang an der Universität von Faaa beraten hatte. Viele Teilnehmer befürchteten, dass die radikalen Forderungen zum Schutze des planetarischen Ökosystems von den Supermächten USA, China und Russland als Provokation aufgefasst werden könnten, die den Krieg um die verbliebenen Ressourcen eher beförderten als verhinderten.

    "Wir interpretieren den Begriff Umweltschutz, der bisher eigentlich nur Menschenschutz bedeutete, grundsätzlich anders," sagte Maeva. "Bisher sprachen wir ausschließlich von Beständen, wenn von der Natur die Rede war. Wir machten in allem unsere Rechnung auf. Dieses Denken war nicht dem Leben verpflichtet, sondern einer Haushaltsphilosophie. Damit ist jetzt Schluss. Die URP wird eine Umweltbehörde ins Leben rufen, deren Aufgabe es ist, den Zustand unseres Planeten zu überwachen. Einen ökologischen Raubbau auf den Territorien der URP-Mitglieder darf es nicht länger geben. Wir sind angetreten, um für ein neues Bewusstsein zu werben. Wir sind nicht dazu da, einem todkranken Patienten durch den Ausverkauf unserer Ressourcen das Leben zu verlängern. Ich bin gerne bereit, in der Umweltpolitik, so wie wir sie verstehen, mit den Vereinten Nationen zusammen zu arbeiten. Denn unser Ziel muss es sein, dass sich wieder alle Menschen der Schöpfung verbunden fühlen. Nur so ist ein dauerhafter, kreativer Frieden auf Erden möglich."

    Die Garderobenfrau wischte sich verstohlen die Augen. Auch Cording zeigte sich von der sanften Art, in der Maeva Klartext redete, zutiefst beeindruckt.

    Steve hatte den Gedanken, nach Cording zu suchen, längst verworfen. "Die Erde ist ein lebendiges System, in dem alle Dinge miteinander verwoben und voneinander abhängig sind," sagte Maeva. Dabei beschrieb sie mit den Händen einen Bogen, als würde sie die Aura eines Neugeborenen streicheln. "Wer wollte ernsthaft daran zweifeln ..." fuhr sie leise fort, "wir alle leben von der Erde, sie ist unser Lebensspender. Glaubt jemand im Ernst, dass etwas, das Leben spendet, selbst ohne Leben ist?" fragte sie und blickte quälend lange ins Publikum. "Wenn wir bereit sind, uns als Bestandteil dieses lebendigen Erdkörpers zu verstehen, wird sich unsere Stellung in der Welt grundsätzlich verändern. Eine solche Perspektive hat dramatische Folgen für unser inneres und kollektives Wachstum. Sie mag angesichts der herrschenden Probleme visionär und verträumt wirken, kommt in unseren modernen Kulturen aber längst zum Ausdruck. Zum ersten Mal in unserer Geschichte sind wir mit der selbstverursachten Zerstörung der biologischen Lebensgrundlagen konfrontiert. Keine Generation vor uns hatte eine solche Bedrohung auszuhalten. Die eigentliche Frage, die wir uns also zu stellen haben, lautet: kollektiver Selbstmord oder geistige Erneuerung? In dieser Frage liegt eine ungeheure Chance. Denn zu keiner Zeit war das Wissen um die globalen Konsequenzen eines reduzierten, isolierten und abgetrennten menschlichen Selbstbildes so groß und der Bedarf an neuen verbindenden Sichtweisen so hoch wie heute. Die Menschen hungern förmlich nach einer positiven Perspektive. Wer, wenn nicht wir, die wir uns bereits besonnen haben, könnte ihnen eine solche Perspektive bieten?"

    Der Beifall, der Maevas letzten Worten folgte, fegte wie ein Sturm durch die Garderobenflure. Cording witterte seine Chance. Er schwang sich über den Tresen und steuerte zielbewusst auf die nächstgelegene Tür zu, vor der sich ihm aber prompt einer dieser uniformierten Wächter in den Weg stellte.

    "Das ist doch albern," schimpfte Cording genervt, "es merkt doch keine Sau, wenn Sie mich jetzt reinlassen!"

    "Tut mir leid, Sir, wir haben nun mal unsere Anweisungen."

    Oh Gott ... Einen Augenblick lang war er versucht, den doch recht schmächtigen Mann einfach beiseite zu schupsen, die Tür aufzureißen und in der tobenden Menge unterzutauchen. Dann besann er sich und trottete zurück an seinen Platz, dort wo die Mäntel hingen, wo eine alte Frau ihm den Hocker zurecht rückte, ohne dabei den Blick vom Fernseher zu nehmen.

    "Wir müssen uns wieder fragen: Was wollen wir? Wer sind wir? Was brauchen wir?" hörte Cording seine Liebste sagen, die aus einer anderen Sphäre zu ihm zu sprechen schien. "Indem wir uns dies fragen, schulen wir nicht nur unsere Wahrnehmung, wir formulieren auch unsere Bedürfnisse neu. Es gibt inzwischen viele Menschen auf der Welt, die diesen Bewusstseinswandel vollzogen haben und täglich werden es mehr. All das passiert in einem ungeheuren Tempo und es passiert jetzt. Die Vertreter des alten Systems wissen das. Sie wissen, dass ihre Richtlinien, Normen und Werte nicht mehr funktionieren. Ein solcher Wertezusammenbruch macht uns Angst. Wir haben Angst vor Chaos und Anarchie, Angst davor, in diesem Endzeitszenario, in dem sich jeder gegen jeden zu behaupten versucht, unterzugehen. Aber nicht wir sind dem Tode geweiht, es sind unsere alten Sicht- und Handlungsweisen die sterben. Im Grunde müssen wir heute zwei Aufgaben zugleich bewältigen: als Sterbebegleiter für ein abgewirtschaftetes System und als Geburtshelfer für eine neue Kultur. Wenn es uns gelingt, eine positive Zukunftsvision in uns erblühen zu lassen, dann werden wir sie in der praktischen Politik auch umsetzen können. Denn es wird nichts Neues durch uns in die Welt kommen, was in unserem Bewusstsein nicht vorher Gestalt angenommen hat."

    Als Maeva mal wieder geduldig auf das Ende des Applauses wartete, beugte sich Omai zu seiner Sitznachbarin.

    "Dieser Platz war eigentlich einem unserer Delegationsmitglieder vorbehalten," sagte er höflich.

    "Ich weiß," antwortete Meredith Rose und stellte sich kurz vor. "Wir haben die Karten getauscht."

    "Sie wissen nicht zufällig, wo sich unser Freund befindet?"

    "Auf der Pressetribüne."

    Omai nickte und wandte sich wieder seiner Schwester zu, die das Gespräch sehr wohl registriert hatte.

    "Wenn die Zerstörungen unserer Lebensgrundlagen so radikal und schnell vonstatten gehen, wie wir es gerade erleben, dann muss der Versuch, sie einzudämmen, ebenso radikal und schnell sein, sonst greift er nicht. Aber eines ist auch klar: unsere Gegenwehr muss friedlich verlaufen. Die Methoden, derer wir uns bedienen, dürfen niemals eine gewaltsame Auseinandersetzung nach sich ziehen, kein einzelner Mensch, egal was er tut und wo er lebt, darf durch uns jemals zu Schaden kommen." Sie lächelte und deutete auf Omai. "An dieser Stelle darf ich einen Satz aus der Rede meines Bruders zitieren, die dieser vor fünf Jahren vor der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen gehalten hat: Es geht nicht darum, wer recht hat, wer gewinnt oder verliert. Es geht darum, dass entzweite Parteien wieder zueinander finden und Frieden schließen. Es geht um das Vergnügen, Frieden zu schließen! Genau, darum geht es. Es muss doch Spaß bringen, unseren verschmutzten Wohnraum Erde wieder aufzuräumen. Je mehr Menschen das verstehen, desto größer ist die Chance, die scheinbar unverrückbaren Strukturen eines alten Machtgefüges von innen heraus zu unterminieren und zu Fall zu bringen. In ihrem Buch "Die Ökonomie des Terrors" spricht die italienische Wirtschaftswissenschaftlerin Loretta Napoleonie von Zuhältern der Globalisierung. Gemeint ist die kleine Kaste der machtvollen Manager und Politiker, die mit ihren begrenzten Interessen und Visionen gar nicht in der Lage sind, eine nachhaltige Zukunft zu garantieren. Nun, ich habe meine Schwierigkeiten mit dem Begriff global. Ich glaube nicht, dass es irgendetwas gibt, was ausschließlich global wäre. Die globale Umweltverschmutzung entsteht im Lokalen. Alles Globale hat lokale Wurzeln. Selbst die eben genannten Manager und Politiker sind nur ein elitärer machtvoller Männerverein europäischer Herkunft. Es handelt sich um eine kleine lokale Gruppe, die im weltweiten Maßstab agiert und sich verhält, als sei sie der globale Stamm, der jeden anderen Stamm als lokal abwerten darf. Das Ergebnis dieser Anmaßung können wir heute überall besichtigen. Die Menschen wollen es aber nicht mehr hinnehmen, dass jede produktive Handlung auf diesem Planeten in ein globales Wirtschaftssystem gepresst wird, um einen Wert zu bekommen. Sie sehnen sich nach Identität. Ihre Identität finden sie nur, wenn sie ihre Probleme vor Ort angehen. Der einzige Weg, das globale Desaster in den Griff zu kriegen, sind weltweite lokale Lösungen, davon bin ich überzeugt."

    Cording wunderte sich, wie geschickt es Maeva immer wieder verstand, jedenfalls einige der gemeinsam ausgearbeiteten Passagen in ihren Text zu binden. Vieles von dem, was ihm und Omai so wichtig erschienen war, ließ sie einfach unter den Tisch fallen. Wo waren die konkreten Schuldzuweisungen an die Mächtigen dieser Welt, wo die Hinweise auf die Global-Oil-Affäre? Sie hatte Tahitis Vorreiterrolle bisher mit keinem Wort erwähnt und von einer Magna Charta der Ökologie, die es zu erstellen galt, war ebenso wenig die Rede wie von dem weltföderalistischen Friedenskonzept, auf das sich Omai und er so viel zugute hielten. Das Verhältnis zwischen Wissenschaft und Ethik, ein Kernpunkt des ursprünglichen Entwurfs - Maeva verzichtete darauf. Der ganze Aufbau, die spirituellen Aspekte, auf die sie Wert legte, waren so nicht verabredet. Er war nicht einmal sicher, ob sie ihren Bruder davon in Kenntnis gesetzt hatte. Vermutlich nicht, das hätte Omai ihm gesagt.

    Cording betrachtete die Garderobenfrau, die allmählich in den Fernseher hinein zu kriechen schien, so gebannt verfolgte sie die Übertragung. Auch er hatte sich ja längst davon überzeugt, dass das, was Maeva hier aus freien Stücken aufführte, eine ungleich größere Überzeugungskraft entfaltete, als es der mit Fakten und Appellen gespickte Entwurf, den sie ihr an die Hand gegeben hatten, je hätte tun können. Erstaunlich, dachte er, dass sie trotz aller offenen Aussagen nie anklagend wirkte, dass das folkloristische Ambiente, in dem sie sich am Rande des Kitsches bewegte, ihrer Autorität in keiner Weise schadete. Die weihevolle Stimmung, die sie im Konzertsaal herzustellen verstand, kroch ja förmlich durch die Ritzen der verschlossenen Türen ...

    Steve blickte auf die Uhr. Anderthalb Stunden hatte Maeva bereits geredet, aber es kam ihm vor wie zehn Minuten. Lange würde sie wohl nicht mehr sprechen, denn die Tänzer von O Tahiti E traten bereits aus den Kulissen, um sich in einem Halbkreis hinter ihr zu versammeln.

    "Wie ist es möglich," fragte Maeva, "dass alle zerstörerischen Handlungen, die wir erleben müssen, von den Verantwortlichen als kreative Taten gefeiert werden? Die Bombardierung anderer Länder, der Bau von Staudämmen, das Versprühen von Insektiziden, die Erschaffung genmanipulierter Organismen - dies alles wird als notwendig, fortschrittlich und kreativ empfunden. Wir begreifen Gesundheit als Leistung der pharmazeutischen Industrie, wir verstehen soziale Sicherheit als etwas, was Polizei und Justiz herstellen. So ist es auf fast allen Gebieten: wir glauben ausschließlich an ordnungspolitische oder technische Lösungen. Warum? Weil unsere Gesellschaft dem Patriarchat gehorcht, dessen zentrale Werte Überlegenheit und Dominanz sind. Deshalb ist es außerordentlich wichtig, dass wir das weibliche Prinzip wieder zum Tragen bringen. Schauen wir auf die Natur. Die natürlichen Kreisläufe funktionieren von alleine, sie brauchen den Menschen nicht. In Indien gilt die kreative Kraft der Natur als feminin. Die Anerkennung dieser Kraft macht uns dem Leben gegenüber demütig und lässt uns erkennen, dass wir nicht sein Meister sind. Wenn jeder Mensch bereit wäre, das weibliche Prinzip in sich wieder zuzulassen, würden wir erleben, dass Selbstversorgung, Selbstvertrauen und Selbstbestimmung ganz oben auf der politischen Tagesordnung stünden. Wir wollen nicht länger auf Vernichtung bauen. Ich sprach vorhin davon," sagte sie, bevor sich der Beifall explosionsartig ausbreiten konnte, "dass es Spaß bringen müsste, gemeinsam auf unserer verschmutzten Erde aufzuräumen. Also, fangen wir am besten gleich damit an. Nördlich von Hawaii dreht sich ein sechs Millionen Tonnen schwerer Plastikteppich von der Größe Europas im Kreis. Bisher wird er von den subtropischen Winden in eine spiralähnliche Bewegung gezwungen, aber es ist zu befürchten, dass sich die Windrichtungen im Zeichen des Klimawandels sehr bald ändern werden. Also lasst uns fischen gehen. Sammeln wir sie ein, die Strandsandalen, Kunststoffmatten, Giftmüllbehälter, Kleiderbügel, Badeenten, Volleybälle, Styroporplatten und auch allen anderen überflüssigen Dreck, den die Wegwerfgesellschaft uns hinterlassen hat. Diese Aufgabe übersteigt unsere Kräfte natürlich bei weitem. Deshalb wird die URP die Verursacher in die Pflicht nehmen. Was spricht dagegen, dass sich Japan, dass sich China, die USA und die europäischen Länder an dieser Aufräumarbeit beteiligen. Was spricht dagegen, dass Global Oil uns seine Hebetankerflotte zur Verfügung stellt, anstatt mit ihr, wie vor fünf Jahren geschehen, vor Tahiti illegal nach unseren Rohstoffen zu schürfen? Wir haben einen Anspruch auf ihre Unterstützung und wir werden diesen Anspruch vor aller Welt formulieren..."

    Maeva hatte Mühe, sich noch einmal Gehör zu verschaffen. Die Musiker von O Tahiti E nutzten die allgemeine Raserei, um ihre Instrumente aufzubauen. Schließlich beruhigten sich die Leute, deren Gejohle Steve doch gehörig auf die Nerven gegangen war.

    "Danke," sagte Maeva lachend. Sie hatte sich erhoben und bat das Publikum um Verständnis für eine letzte kleine Anmerkung.

    "Jede körperliche Erscheinung, die wir wahrnehmen," sagte sie, "ist lediglich Bestandteil einer sich permanent verändernden Oberflächenstruktur. Alles Materielle, alles was wir sehen, anfassen, hören, riechen und schmecken können, gleicht den Wellen auf dem Ozean. Sie kommen und gehen, der Ozean aber bleibt. Die Tatsache, dass auch wir eines Tages unsere Gestalt verlieren und eintauchen werden in seine Tiefe, bedeutet ja nur, dass wir endlich wieder eins werden mit seiner kraftvollen Energie. Je nachdem, wie wir gelebt haben, tragen wir zu seiner Reinigung oder zu seiner Verunreinigung bei, werden wir von ihm entweder willkommen geheißen oder als kontaminierte Substanz behandelt. Ich frage Sie also: wer muss mehr Angst vor dem Tod haben: diejenigen, die den Regeln der Schöpfung entsprechend gelebt haben, oder diejenigen, die diese Regeln in ihrer kurzfristigen irdischen Existenz aufs Gröbste missachteten? Die URP, das ist mein sehnlichster Wunsch, soll ein mächtiger Verbund von Angstfreien sein. Ich danke Ihnen von ganzem Herzen. Mauruuru roa ..."

    Cording reichte der Garderobenfrau sein Taschentuch. Die Frau schämte sich ihrer Tränen nicht. Er gab ihr einen Kuss auf die Wange und sah zu, dass er in den Saal gelangte, jetzt, da doch einige Besucher zu den Erfrischungsständen eilten. Diesmal durfte er passieren, er hatte Glück, denn kaum dass er im Konzertsaal war, wurden die Türen bereits wieder geschlossen. Wie auf Kommando begannen die Musiker zu spielen. Oh, wie er die tahitianische Musik liebte, die sich allein dem Atem des Ozeans verpflichtet fühlte, ob dieser nun heftig ging oder sanft.

    Jemand winkte ihm aus der Mitte der Reihe zu. Es war Steve, der ihm zu verstehen gab, dass neben ihm noch Platz war. Aber er wollte hier stehen bleiben, jedes Gespräches enthoben, in dem er sich doch nur hätte rechtfertigen müssen. Er entdeckte Maeva inmitten der Tänzerin, sie wirkte wie ein Fisch im Schwarm, eingebunden in eine einzige grazile Bewegung. Cording wusste jetzt schon, was er später aufschreiben würde, er konnte die Sätze bereits fühlen, die eigentlich nur noch zu formuliert werden brauchten. Sie sollten davon erzählen, wie es einer jungen Frau gelungen war, den Hass einzuschläfern und der Angst zu sagen, sie möge von ihren furchteinflößenden Gebärden nur die Agonie im Blick bewahren, zu mehr tauge sie nämlich nicht ...
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Freitag, 21. August 2009

Building a Brighter future

The title sounds cheesy but we really mean it!

Topics of the day: earthships, activist at heart, Bundestag elections, what politics should be about

In the morning I cycled over to Roti’s house (while Raphael went to see someone at SEDEP) on the way I passed a bus full of children (on the way to school) who were grinning from ear to ear and waving at me (what a good start of the day – already looking forward to seeing them again next week :).

Roti told me the story of how she became an activist. When she was eight years old a new girl came into the class and the teacher placed her next to Roti. The girl wasn’t fluent in French so Roti talked to her in Tahitian to explain what the teacher had said – the consequence: “You will write: “I will not speak Tahitian in class” 50 times”. A week passed and the number of lines Roti was given grew up to 1000. She still refused so the teacher didn’t know how to deal with her and eventually resorted to having her sit outside in front of the classroom door until she did her lines. This went on for another week (the whole school was talking about Roti) until the headmistress of the catholic school (a nun) took Roti to her office to enquire why she was resisting so much. Roti’s simple answer: “God gave me this language so I should use it”. Knock-out argument (swinging the moral hammer).

After a similar event (Roti received a shell from someone who had heard her speaking in Tahitian during the break - this meant she had to sit under a well positioned tree in the middle of the schoolyard (the pillory) with her eyes shut (I could really think of a worse punishment) when a nun came to take her back to class she was sitting there juggling... from that day the students at her school weren’t punished for using their language anymore. I guess being stubborn pays off :)

I didn’t really do much at Roti’s (except for exploiting her internet flat-rate and pestering her with more (or less philosophical) questions)… skip the next two paragraphs if you’re more or less easily bored!

When I complained about the masses of legal texts out there and stupid EU-laws for example regulating the degree of curvature of cucumbers (to avoid too much diversity and make nature comply with the system - grrrr – can’t they finally tackle the really important issues like education, sustainable agriculture, penalizing polluters and lead in a transition for 100% renewables?), Roti explained that the term politics was actually quite positive and (should be) connected with: health, education, social security, culture – happiness… (haha) but has nowadays unfortunately devolved into serving the economic interests (there are honestly people on the payroll of multinational corporations working on new laws which are in some cases passed without a second opinion – why isn’t everyone rioting?). Roti encouraged me to go into politics – and make a difference. Politicians should have a very broad general education (know at least a bit about everything) in order to make informed choices… I’m not sure if my brain capacity would suffice for a task like that in addition to that I hate speaking (to adults) in public.

Since I won’t be there for the next Bundestag election I tried to request a postal vote online… not that I really know whom to vote for – Maeva (and her party) unfortunately aren’t listed on the ballot paper… wonder how successful we’d be if we form a new (yet another) party?

Something completely different – sustainable architecture: Roti wants to renovate/rebuild her house (have student accommodation on top of her bungalow). I told her about earthships which are (non-floating!) houses that keep nice and cool when it’s hot (thanks to a lot of thermal mass (meaning thick walls) – and of course nice and warm in winter when you’re talking about different (our) latitudes) and are self sufficient, which is obviously not quite possible in a suburb where you don’t have your own well – so she’d still have a water connection. Other features of an earthship are reed beds for sewage treatment (a lot better than septic tanks which pollute the ground and lagoons), rainwater-tanks, grey water recycling (for example toilet flushing with water previously used in the shower), compost toilets (not smelly), clay walls (provide an excellent climate inside) and in some cases built in garbage (earth is rammed into old tires which would otherwise be dumped on a landfill site) - this also makes them very cost-effective.

This is my personal favourite (but might be a bit too… “rustic/shabby” for some people’s taste):
for the general principles of these amazing low impact houses (which can also look modern - like a “normal” house inside):

Final thoughts of the day: I’m still undecided which approach is the more effective to preserve what’s left of biodiversity (and mankind) a hierarchical or a grass roots approach… looking at corrupt politicians I think I’m tending towards latter.

I really want to get some hands-on experience and help build an earthship – Roti said she might also build one in Rapa (to show the inhabitants what low-impact living looks like in practice :)
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Donnerstag, 20. August 2009

Virgin Soil of Thought


Topics of the day: reading, health insurance, land reform, Maeva, Roti

Raphael worked on different logos for our bicycle action and went to book his flight home while I sat on the roof and read about a new, just and simple health insurance system (which rewards a healthy lifestyle and makes patients aware of the cost of their treatment) and a “land reform” – a topic I hadn’t engaged with before.

The idea of a land reform is actually quite simple. Equilibrism (an alternative socio-ecological economic concept – see links – surreptious advertising, just kidding I’m not trying to convince anyone I just know that our current system isn’t exactly making mankind any happier) takes a path between capitalism (private land and private use) and communism (communal land and communal use). No one is disappropriated (just in exceptional cases and then only with proper payment of compensation) but communes are obliged to buy land whenever it is put up for sale. The communal land is (then) categorized for a certain type of use (for example building land) and then put up for auction – who ever bids highest gets to lease the land for 30 to 100 years (a Pacht can be inherited). The money is then either spent on the younger generation in the form of child-raising benefit or “education vouchers” (word sounds wrong) or alternatively distributed equally among the population (in the latter case people living on small properties would get out more money than they pay in for the tenure).

I don’t really know much about the health care system and land reform so in case I oversimplified or got something wrong please let me know by posting a comment!

In the afternoon we went over to Roti’s where we exploited her hospitality again, did our laundry (or had the machine do it for us) talked about Rapa and concretized our vélotoa-plans (vélo (fr.) = bike and toa (tah.) = warrior).

Final thoughts of the day: I really admire Maeva (the protagonist in the “Tahiti Virus”) …a change of heart: that’s what society really needs!

The Land reform: Communal land and private use - seems like a sensible “third way” - "To each the same but to each his own!". How can some things just be taken for granted and considered just? Newborns "arrive" on a land that is already allotted - we need a new sense of justice! And I definitely need to learn more than just about technology!
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Mittwoch, 19. August 2009

Bundles of Energy


Topics of the day: Terii Vallaux, feed-in-tariff, petrol subsidies (?!?), children’s home, Roti

Today we met Terii Vallaux again and finally got to ask our touchy questions. Apparently the feed-in-tariff is applicable and working – for everyone in Ra’iatea and all the rest of French Polynesia… He admitted that it is slightly challenging to see through the matter of the 40-odd-page document, one has to read and fill in to get EDT to buy back the current fed into the grid from the photovoltaic panels (smells like a severe form of redtapism). And apparently the text wasn’t made for the man on the street - it just needs to be understood by the technical firm installing the panels (like Tenesol (Total & EDF Groups – no comment) which seems to be the most popular one here)… but they are planning on meeting up with EDT in order to make things easier for the small scale electricity suppliers (PV-panel owners).

When we enquired why the feed-in-tariff was only valid for panels installed up until the end of December 2010 (and there is no indication if and how well current fed into the grid by the public will be financially compensated) Terii justified this by stating that the world production of PV-panels increases by 30% every year (Wikipedia says 48% - who offers more? Going once, going twice… sold to the man in the green suit!) and they wanted to see how the prices develop (which seems like a fairly sensible idea for the government (budget-wise) but doesn’t really give people a lot of time to plan ahead). Rumor has it that PV-technology will be competitive(at least in these sunny latitudes) by 2015…

Terii casually mentioned that the “Service énergie” was (or had been (maybe by the last government (?)) – brain = sieve with big holes) established just for show, to calm down the population (who doesn’t seem to be ready to demand an account from their government anyway – like in many countries) but now they’re actually working (hopelessly short staffed).

I think I mentioned earlier that the petrol price here is fixed by the government (so that the fluctuations (should) smooth out themselves) but now that the price isn’t increased – the government will be subsidizing the petrol consumption in the future (what?!) and EDT gets an extra special deal from the government for being so kind and supplying the Polynesians with lovely clean energy (from petrol power plants!). The more I learn the less I want to know... I probably misunderstood something here (I hope)!

Raphael asked whether Terii (or his department) would be interested in sponsoring a translation (into French) of his thesis when it’s ready (since it will include transport (unlike the PPI (“Programmation Plurianuelle des Investissements” of the Service de l’Energie et des Mines) which they kindly shared with us) - and he’ll be using some innovative software for modeling the RE-mix).
My dad would now say: It smells better when you peed on it yourself… but Terii made a phone call (to find out if the government has a translator who can cope with technical things written in German – it turns out they don’t (what a surprise)) and then tried to convince me to translate the thing into English (I’m not sure I’m capable of that – almost 200 pages in all the spare time I’ll have when I get back to Dundee, trying to catch up on the course content covered in the first two weeks I of my 5th semester (which I will miss thanks to our project)). I hope Raphael will produce a paper that won’t just end up in some drawer but will actually help free (at least a proportion of) mankind from fossil fuel slavery (what a lurid sentence :)!

In the afternoon I went to a children’s home across the road (had seen some children playing in the inner courtyard of a building below us – it’s a good thing we have such a magnificent view from the posh skyscraper we’re living in at the moment) – the concierge of the building who taught me some words in Tahitian (but then started commenting on my “shell” – which made me flee from the roof – can’t wait to get back to Europe where white skin and blond hair aren’t anything special) had told me that the children living in this catholic institution (which is financed by the government) come from social hot spots (there are quite a few people (parents) with drug and alcohol problems – negligence: yet another symptom which can’t be treated without eradicating… the root (lets blame the flawed system (again)!)). On the weekends the kids get to go home or visit other members of the family willing to look after them. I must say the children were relatively well behaved and seemed to have formed a good social network – but they were literally screaming for attention (I was cut to the quick – having grown up in such a sheltered home myself). I had actually expected something totally different (had popped in earlier the nun in charge of the children’s home had introduced me to the person who apparently does environmental education with the kids) – we sang Christian songs and played ball games – but when it was time for me to leave, one of the little girls wouldn’t let go of me and a boy waved goodbye and said “see you next Wednesday!” – I guess that means I’m going back :)

In the evening Raphael and I cooked dinner over at Roti’s and talked about our bike action a bit.

Final thoughts of the day: One day I am totally convinced of an idea and the next day someone shakes the newly built foundation of my limited knowledge - I am too easily excited without knowing all the technical (and economic) details…

I wonder if this is the right platform to comment on the drinking problems of a certain politician…

Kids deserve more attention – they’re the essence of life!
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Kimberley und die Ökodiktatur

Kimberley hat  die "Ökodiktatur" gelesen, heute bekam ich Post von ihr aus Tahiti. Hat sie ganz schön gebrettert. Ich kann nur hoffen, dass sie sich von dem Schock, den das Buch durchaus auszulösen vermag, schnell erholt und zurück findet, zu ihrem jugendlichen Optimismus, den wir dringender denn je nötig haben.

Zum Trost, quasi als Aufbauhilfe, habe ich ihr die Rohfassung von Maevas Rede geschickt, die ich heute fertig gestellt habe. Sie ist der einzige Mensch, der das zur Zeit lesen darf, sie hat den Text exklusiv. I hope it helps. Unter Umständen wäre ich bereit, die Rede hier ins Netz zu stellen, Feedback ist immer gut. Aber dazu muss ein erkennbares Interesse geäußert werden, unter zehn Anfragen mache ich das nicht. So, und jetzt widme ich mich wieder der Arbeit, die mir zur Zeit sehr viel Spaß macht.
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Dienstag, 18. August 2009

Time to act!


Topics of the day: oil price, second opinion on OTEC, incompetent politicians

Today Nuihau (the author of the book “Energies Renouvelables”) invited us for lunch. He mentioned that stock exchange speculators are starting to become interested in options for 300 dollars per barrel of oil for 5 years from now – the current price is at 70$/barrel… looking at it that way he might be right in saying that Tahiti should install wind turbines and photovoltaic panels (and expand the hydroelectric capacity and possibly the copra oil production) – which are proven technology - now instead of “wasting time on experiments” like OTEC (Ocean thermal energy conversion) and Wavegen. If the oil-price really rises that much French Polynesia (and the world) will be (financially) screwed without renewables!

Sometime last week government officials met with OTEC-investors from Japan. Apparently they presented a 40-page document of which only 2 were concerned with the technology… Nuihau said there isn’t one in the world that works properly (but politicians (like me and most other people – to add a hint of political correctness) don’t always understand what their talking about/dealing with – they seem to be willing to invest). Some of the pilot power plants were destroyed by cyclones, they can’t be expanded at will (like PV and wind parks – of course there are spatial limitations but it’s definitely easier (possible) to add on another module) and they need large (about 2,5 - 3 meters for 5 MW) and strong pipes that go down really deep (which makes them expensive and vulnerable to currents too) – their efficiency is really quite low (three quarters of the electricity produced are used to pump up the cold water – but still I’d say hey, it’s free… well not quite the investment for 5 MW would be around 15 Billion CFP – comparison: 20 megawatts of wind turbines (10x2 MW – which would be needed for the same energy yield, since the wind doesn’t blow all the time) would cost about 2 Billion CFP). But what about reliability and storage? Will the biomass and hydropower capacities be sufficient? Can’t wait for Raphael’s software-experiments (to get the mix right)…

Nuihau said French Polynesia didn’t have the financial means to experiment – but on the other hand I think we need to experiment in order to find (more efficient) solutions to the energy crisis we are facing. If everyone hesitates to install pilot plants we’ll never get anywhere – it needs courage… and money.

Getting into the financial discussion really isn’t my thing but unfortunately necessary (in the “old”, I mean current system)… Why aren’t we talking about ecological issues (like the impact on marine eco-systems from offshore wind farms versus LIMPETs (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer) on the coast, the energy amortization period (of the resources flowing into the construction (concrete for example is very CO2-intensive in production)), “life expectancy” of the machinery,…), the ecological footprint?

When I asked about storage capacities for the atolls (they don’t have hills to store water behind dams (potential energy)), Nuihau responded something like: if the rich get hungry the poor will already have starved – meaning it’s important to take care of Tahiti first… that was hard to swallow.

We also discussed the possibility of public participation (communal finance) of wind and solar farms – he thinks it’s the (only) way forward – given the political situation… grassroots!

Final thought of the day: I think I’ve lost hope in politics - We need to mobilize the public (wait: what are we here for again?)…
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Maevas Rede

Ich arbeite gerade an der Rede, die Maeva zu ihrer Amtseinführung als Generalsekretärin der URP (United regions of the Pacific) hält. Die URP ist eine Gegen-UNO und spielt im Virus eine ziemlich bedeutende Rolle. Es bringt Spaß, diese Rede zu schreiben, obwohl ich sie pausenlos verwerfe, ändere, wieder verwerfe, ändere. Mal sehen, wo das hinführt. Dies hier ist ein kleiner Ausschnitt, von dem ich mich nicht so gerne trenne...

„Wir müssen uns wieder fragen: Was wollen wir? Wer sind wir? Was brauchen wir? Indem wir uns dies fragen, schulen wir nicht nur unsere Wahrnehmung, wir formulieren auch unsere Bedürfnisse neu. Es gibt inzwischen viele Menschen auf der Welt, die diesen Bewusstseinswandel vollzogen haben und täglich werden es mehr. All das passiert in einem ungeheuren Tempo und es passiert jetzt. Die Vertreter des alten Systems wissen das. Sie wissen, dass ihre Richtlinien, Normen und Werte nicht mehr funktionieren. Mehr noch: die Werte und Ziele der modernen Industriegesellschaft sind zu einer Gefahr für die gesamte Menschheit geworden. Ein solcher Wertezusammenbruch kann einem schon Angst machen. Wir haben Angst vor Chaos und Anarchie, Angst davor, in diesem Endzeitszenario, in der sich jeder gegen jeden zu behaupten versucht, unterzugehen. Aber nicht wir sind dem Tode geweiht, es sind unsere alten Sicht- und Handlungsweisen die sterben. Im Grunde müssen wir heute zwei Aufgaben zugleich bewältigen: als Sterbebegleiter für ein abgewirtschaftetes System und als Geburtshelfer für eine neue Kultur. Wenn es uns gelingt, eine positive Zukunftsvision in uns erblühen zu lassen, dann werden wir sie in der praktischen Politik auch umsetzen können. Denn es wird nichts Neues durch uns in die Welt kommen, was in unserem Bewusstsein nicht vorher Gestalt angenommen hat.“
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Montag, 17. August 2009

Capitalism and Nature


Topics of the day: capitalism, circular versus linear, nature

Some readers will have noticed that I didn’t post any blog entries for Sunday – like today we spent reading so there really isn’t much to write… just two thoughts (note: I obviously know nothing about economics)...

1. Capitalism is based on infinite economic growth - how does that work on a finite planet? And when money (interest) is made just by letting it sit and “work for itself”, who is paying?

2. Nature has more than 3 billion years of experience – how long will it take till mankind learns to copy it? Shouldn’t we make things biodegradable (which is technically possible), accept that we are part of our environment and think in circular instead of liner systems (Earth is round)?

Final thought of the day: I’m still hoping that the majority of mankind will wake up – stop vegging in front of the tube (which creates artificial needs), become critical and reflective citizens of the planet and ask themselves what’s really important in life!

I didn’t intend for this to sound so snotnosed (I don’t have all the answers – I just know that we need to change something).
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Samstag, 15. August 2009



Today I cycled over to Roti’s house and we talked pretty much all day (about our bicycle-action, environmental activism in general, politics, spirits, dreams, the system, religion, Rapa and ants). Raphael stayed at "home" and read (I think).

Final thought of the day: I’ve come to the conclusion that I should try to finish my studies in Scotland - to get that piece of paper in the end and have an official academic “value” for society (that’s easier than trying to stand up to this system without having a degree)… I’ve probably learned more (about the “real world”) during our project here than I will have learned in 8 semesters of university…
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Freitag, 14. August 2009

Energy slaves and Vélo-toa


Topics of the day: energy consumption awareness, smart meters, energy storage, seawater-air-conditioning, smart architecture, OTEC, Rapa, environmental activism, bicycle-warriors

Today we actually wanted to meet Terii Vallaux to ask him some (uncomfortable) questions - he probably sensed this and called in sick a few minutes after we arrived in his office. At 11:30 we had a meeting with Jean-Louis Cailly at SEDEP (Société d’Etudes et de Développement Polynésienne) a very clued-up and open-minded scientist who shared his knowledge about renewables in French Polynesia with us.

He had a quite vivid presentation with stick people to give politicians (and kids) a feel for electricity generation and consumption. If you convert the mechanical work a person could do on an average workday (lifting up a 50 kg bag of copra 1 meter 720 times) each person would need 180 energy slaves to cover their electricity “needs”. Quite striking if you look at it like this, isn’t it?!

Then he mentioned a study that SEDEP has carried out for Nuku Hiva (an island in the Marquesas which has 3200 inhabitants). If they started using their pine-forest stand (in a sustainably sound way – complying with “eco-certification-standards” (I think he could have meant FSC)) and produced their own wood for construction purposes (which they are currently importing) they would have enough biomass (waste – only about 20% can be used as timber) to cater for their electricity needs (about 700 of the 1650 hectares of exploitable pine forest would suffice).

Jean-Louis literally flooded us with words we asked about the seawater-air-conditioning. The new hospital which is being built will chew up about 5% of the electricity generated on the whole island once it’s opened! Burning fossil fuels in order to produce electricity, transmitting it to the hospital (with losses of about 12%) just to turn it into cold air really is a waste of energy. It would be a lot more efficient pumping up cold water (from a depth of about 930 meters which is reached roughly 3 km off the cost – the water here has a temperature of around 4-5°C). Jean-Louis thinks the planned pipe-diameter of 800 mm should be increased to 900 mm in order to double the refrigeration capacity (from 7,5 MW to 15 MW) and cater for the cold-air “needs” of a few more buildings as well. He is envisioning a grid of pipes (derived from 4-5 bigger pipelines coming from the ocean) bringing distributing cold water in an urban network (for all of Pape’ete). The water leaving the hospital (it’s cooling devices require a temperature of 5,5°C) at 12-15°C could be used a second time (in buildings equipped with under floor cooling) before being pumped back into the ocean.

I mentioned smart architecture which is most efficient because it doesn’t need air-conditioning in the first place – he totally agreed: apparently someone built a hotel “bioclimatique” back in the 80’s – most ideas have been around for quite a while – why isn’t mankind smart enough to use them?

Furthermore he compared the system here to wearing a belt and suspenders at the same time… he thinks the capacities are calculated in a much too pessimistic (exaggerated) manner – to ensure the uninterrupted service/supply guarantee and prevent the voltage from collapsing when there is a short circuit or peak (high demand). But if households had equipment (like capacitors) for example to prevent computers from crashing when there is a dip in the frequency (short circuit somewhere in the grid) and smart meters that make current consumers aware of their consumption and can switch off unnecessary equipment like air-conditioners for a few minutes (until the peak is passed) those capacities wouldn’t be necessary. Smart meters can also switch on deferrable appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers (when there is an overproduction – for example a lot of wind and sun at the same time).

We also talked about intelligent grids (combination of different renewables linked with a (sun, rain, wind, wave) forecast system) and energy storage (if there is for example a prediction of strong wind and waves hitting the coast (wind turbines and wave power plant) the water level behind the dams (hydropower plants) can be lowered instead of burning biomass).

In addition to pumped storage hydroelectricity and biomass (solar energy stored in plants) he pointed out that the ocean with its immense thermal mass and convection currents represents a reliable storage capacity. At night, when air-conditioning isn’t needed (as much) the temperature difference between the cold water (which is pumped up) and the warm water on the surface could also be used for electricity generation (OTEC).

The more I learn the more convinced I am that energy-self-sufficiency is not as difficult to achieve as everyone (the fossil fool lobby) claims. Why don’t politicians listen to people who know what they’re talking about?

After our nearly four-hour long conversation Raphael and I walked out of the building, looked at each other and thought the same thing: if people like Jean-Louis worked for the government we wouldn’t waste so much time talking – we’d see some serious movement in the field of renewables – achieving energy autonomy wouldn’t seem like trying to build Utopia anymore!

At about 16:00 we met Roti Maka (an activist, politician, artist and couturier) who was in touch with Thede to chat about energy-autonomy on Rapa (southernmost island of French Polynesia, Australs, inhabitants: 500, area: 41 km squared, length of roads: 12 km, gasoline power plants: 2, freight ship arrival: 1 per month). Rapa became independent in 2000 (Roti’s initiative) but is still under French protectorate until they can manage themselves (if I understood her correctly).

Roti told us tales about Rapa and said everything (people) changed about 30 years ago when the first store opened and imports and money appeared in the country…

Somehow we got talking about bicycles and traffic jams – so we spontaneously decided to plan a bike-demonstration in Pape’ete to encourage people to cycle (more) and ask the government to support cyclists by introducing bicycle paths, terminals to borrow bikes (seems to work in cities like Paris) and tax benefits (bikes are way too expensive here).

Final thought of the day: It’s time for NVDA!
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"Überleben". Hört mal rein!

Ich habe einen Tipp für Euch. Mir ist vor einigen Tagen eine CD in die Hände gefallen, die ich wärmstens weiter empfehle: "Überleben" von der Anselm König Band ( Saubere, radikale Texte, gute Musik.

"Unser Blut ist Geld, 
Das uns`re Adern schwellt.
Das Blut hat Leukämie,
Vermehrt sich wie noch nie.
Wir werden immer bleicher
Und Parasiten gleicher,
Die der Wind verweht,
Wenn ihr Wirt eingeht."

Aber es gibt auch sehr sensible, hoffnungsvolle Lieder auf "Überleben". Alle Texte aber sind anspruchsvoll, das heißt, sie formulieren einen Anspruch. 
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Donnerstag, 13. August 2009



Topics of the day: reading, depression, optimism

I read and contemplated all day – was so depressed that I almost drowned in Weltschmerz (thanks Dirk ;) but then read Eric and Volker’s positive vision of the future (Equilibrism) and thought about Dirk’s more recent novel (Das Tahiti Projekt) which made me feel a bit better…

Final thoughts of the day: We need to connect all people in the world who want a new environmentally sound, just and balanced economic system in which mankind can flourish in a free, healthy, happy and peaceful manner in harmony with nature! Maybe the internet can serve as a platform to achieve this. I can think of so many people and organizations one could contact! Let’s spread the word and get everyone on board!

If we fail to help Tahiti free itself of the chains of fossil fuel slavery (soon) I think I’ll become an eco-terrorist…
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Mittwoch, 12. August 2009

Fossil Fool


Topics of the day: météo, Jacky Bryant, borders, meat

Today we went to météo France again to get some data which we were still missing – now we only need to stick it into that program to simulate the ideal mix of renewables for Tahiti (okay, it won’t be quite that simple but at least I feel that we are one step closer to the finish line). In the evening Tia and Tino had invited us for dinner again to meet Jacky Bryant – the most important green politician in French Polynesia (according to Manuel). We discussed energy-self-sufficiency, public transport, meat consumption (I think he’s not particularly fond of vegetarians and didn’t seem to get my point (it takes about 10 kg of grain/soya (plants) to produce 1 kg of meat – so I prefer to be efficient and eat the plants directly) and tried to convince me that beans have feelings too and that I should maybe eat only meat instead of vegetables). We also talked about national pride and borders (I argued that they encourage racism, competition and people always thinking about personal advantage) – another topic we couldn’t agree on. I can’t say that I was particularly happy at the end of the day…

Final thought of the day: Why can’t people who actually “got it” set a good example for others and pull in the same direction/act in concert?
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Dienstag, 11. August 2009

Spending too much time thinking about an Eco-Dictatorship

Aute II - Pape’ete, Tahiti

Topics of the day: understanding the world, moving to Pape’ete

As presumptuous as it may sound – I think I’ve understood the world (at least roughly) – it’s so shockingly obvious! We’re wrecking the planet but no one wants to take responsibility. How can people dump (toxic and nuclear) waste in the ground, water and air and not be arrested? What is wrong with our perception of justice?

Back to lower spheres: Raphael went downtown to get the keys for Taina’s son’s apartment while I stayed in bed (had a headache – wonder if that was induced by me reading about Dirk’s early horror-vision of 2040 (eco-dictatorship)). We packed up and cleaned the flat, said goodbye to Manuel and asked if we could kidnap the rice-cooker (since our new apartment is so new that it doesn’t have a kitchen yet). After unloading our things on the third floor we went all the way up (the building has 9 floors and is probably one of the highest ones in Pape’ete). As much as I hate “sky-scrapers”/blots on the landscape/mankind’s cancer-like growth I must admit the view is magnificent (Moorea and the harbor one way, the mountains and woods the other way) and I think your ecological footprint is smaller too, since it takes up less land (less soil sealing) – I guess the swimming pool on the roof compensates for that again. I feel like a spoiled child…

Final thoughts of the day: Water privatization and microchip implants scare me. Wonder who had these absolutely sick ideas?!
If we all work together, can we make this madness stop and develop in a healthier direction?
We need your help!

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Montag, 10. August 2009

It's Raining Cats and Dogs - A Good Day for Hydropower

Aute II, Tahiti

Topics of the day: gloomy day, rain, reading

I felt a bit drained today – we didn’t do much (not too sure what Raphael did – I think he wrote some e-mails and read/looked at the files we got from our secret informant P.) It rained almost all day – I cycled down to the post office in Pirae in order to get my e-mail-kick just to cycle back up again (junkies will do anything to obey their addiction)… and read – the future really doesn’t look too bright - wonder how many centuries mankind has left…

Final thought of the day: If our “home” (or all homes) only had a rainwater tank – it would be full by know and could be used for the washing machine and flushing the toilet (althoug a compost toilet would be even more efficient – doesn’t need water at all and I heard they don’t even stink!).

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