The big picture: education of women

Every human being with free mental capacity does think from time to time about the future of the world in the next 100 or 200 years.

It used to be different: the world was the outside, immensely large and full of dangers, imponderables and possibilities. The largest units, whose future people were thinking about, were empires or states. Since some decades, however, the world has become our common home, or rather, our common property, where we know and can reach almost all the rooms and corners and stretches of land, and the people living on it are slowly changing into a community of fate. The world is becoming more and more “inside”, and for the “outside”, only the empty space is remaining.

One of the main concerns is, that very many people are already living on the property, and more are added every day. The question of whether the world as a whole can carry the multitude of people on it is historically new. So far, the answer is yes (with the exception of severe underdevelopment and war), and it is not unreasonable to do so for the future. But climate change is raising serious doubts about this optimism.

In the search for a means to reduce population growth, the education of women is striking. Not only have the countries with the best educated women the lowest number of births per woman, but also within the social structure of a country, the most educated women are those with the fewest children. However, the birth rate also has strong local influences: the number of children per woman is twice as high in Tanzania as in India despite the same average education .

What can we, in the western metropolises, contribute to fostering women’s education and training in less developed areas? Well, money helps, money is esteem. A Google search for “donation education of women” or similar will lead to success here.

Apart from the birth rate, education and especially that of women is very positive for themselves and their environment, so channeling means into it is a very effective aid in general.


#emissionvaluesintocarads – update 2


Yearly German emissions in the transport sector. (180 Mio. t is roughly 2,2 t per capita, or 1/5 of total emissions) (Source)

In November, I submitted this petition to the German Bundestag, to contain unmissably in each car advertising the CO2 emissions for 10,000 km drive and the production of the car. Recently it was posted on the Bundestag petition forum website (see this post). The opportunity to comment or sign up there is now over. 52 people became co-signers.

I then did some promotion work by mailing to the (German newspaper) TAZ and my local green MEP, but without noteworthy response. Apart from this, I did not have the slightest inclination to deal with the matter because of a peculiar unpleasant excitement in my stomach.

Now a letter arrived today that reads: “The investigation has now been completed. ”

I suspect that this is a text module and such petitions usually refer to any administrative action that went wrong and where the facts need to be determined.

The matter now goes to the Petitions Committee. I am really curious. Stagnation of emissions in the transport sector at a high level has been known for years. Similarly, it is known that Germany will miss its self imposed climate protection goal, because of this among other things. The general attitude of the CDU / CSU seems to be: “We want to protect the climate, but we want nothing to change” (“paradoxical conservatism”). The SPD and unfortunately and also parts of the Left are saying: “We want to protect the climate, but we want no job losses.” (“Decorated clientelism”).

Well, let’s see if Kant or Altmaier (Minister for Economy and Energy) will carry off the palm …


Traces in the sky and distributed responsibility

contrails-jake-melara-6771-unsplash-flacher-1024There are those conspiracy theorists, who attribute the contrails of the aircraft to the spraying of chemicals by power-hungry governments. That’s BS, of course.

Nevertheless, the clouds generated by the aircraft have an unfavorable effect: they increase the atmospheric warming, climate change, because they are unfortunately much more transparent to visible light than to heat radiation.

A recently published study has now quantified this: the additional absorption is approximately doubling the climate-damaging effect of flying. There are also sources that give a tripling, but I stick to the first value.

One can also observe a recent development in the publication of scientific papers, namely the free access for everyone (open access). That is of course very pleasing.

In order to relate the effect, I calculated the emission of two vacation trips (basic information here (in German), all values in metric tonnes)

2 * 2000 km 2 * 5000km
Aircraft: kerosene usage 0,09 0,27
Aircraft: CO2-emission 0,27 0,85
Aircraft: equivalent CO2-emission 0,55 1,71
Car (8l/100km, 3 people) 0,25
Railway 0,2

Average annual emission of a German (including babies and old people): 11 t. For an American, Canadian or Australian: around 20 t.

For railway traffic, there are contradictory values to be found, since the emission depends strongly on the train’s load factor, but a value of 50 kg / 1000 km is appearing more often, e.g. here, for a load factor of 0.4. We would then be at 0.2 t / P for our long-distance journey.

For all means of mass transportation (train, airplane, bus) there is a difference between the average emission caused by the decisions of many and the emission caused by the individual decision. This has a peculiar effect: if I decide to travel as an individual, my emissions are zero, because the train or the aircraft are going anyway – I am only increasing their utilization factor. If it is low, as it is often the case in the railway, this will have little effect on the frequency of the trains, but if it is high, as is often the case in an airplane, my personal influence on flight frequency is much bigger.

The whole thing is an example of distributed responsibility in several dimensions. The influence of the individual is very small, but not zero. Kant back then created (or found, as you like) the categorical imperative to set a rule for situations like these.

Add to that the normative power of the example: when I take the plane, I increase the probability that the people who know me will also fly.

Photo by Jake Melara on Unsplash


enough is enough

There is a subculture of freelancers in graphic design, web design and programming, copywriting and other areas, that delight in working without a boss. One of them, Paul Jarvis in Canada, is writing a newsletter that represents authenticity, realism and peculiarity (rather than the usual “makemoremoneygetmoreandbetterclients”). He recently wrote a text about the personal “enough” that I find so valuable that I link it here.


make advertizing (a bit) more climate friendly


Imagine, in every car advertizing, the CO2 emissions for the manufacturing (10 – 30 t) and usage (1 – 3 t / 10.000km) were presented in big letters. Wouldn’t that change the mindset of the general society in the right direction?

Last November , I got up a parliamentary petition for a law enforcing exactly this. As I am German, it has been submitted on a special website of the Bundestag. It is currently beeing made public on its petition website, where also discussions may take place. I must admit, that there are only a couple of contributions as of now, which is no wonder, as the website is practically unknown, and there are quite a few other petitions going on.

If you are interested in the text, you find it on above mentioned webpage – Google translate is delivering pretty good translations lately.

Feel free to do something similar in your country.



The life of contexts

I listen to the radio and observe that each sentence by topic choice, verbiage, voice & c. is implicitly spanning a context that you can step into, modify, reject, or break completely. In each conversation, the context evolves from sentence to sentence in one of these four ways.

By context, one can understand the currently active association spectrum.


Respect and Self Interest

Thinking about justifying differences in income. The topic has many aspects; Here I would like to mentally embark on the respect for the higher:

When the lower is respecting the higher, he is giving him a space of movement and the emotional power to fill his role well. This is benefitting himself insofar as the success of his group is promoted. Part of this respect can be, but is not necessarily, that the lower grants the higher a bigger chunk of the cake being baked together. This is creating additional room for movement for the latter.

The good boss is aware that the respect of his / her people deserves to be earned. He / she feels obliged to them and not to his / her sources of money – or only insofar as this is necessary for the success of the group (company, village, state, club…) and its participants.

The thing becomes awkward when the direction of effect is reversed, when the higher is demanding respect, obedience and his extra gain as the duty of the sub. He can force this by his powerful position – and by a “natural” alliance with the other leaders, this forcing becomes almost unassailable; this is Marx’s “class in and of itself”, and has shown itself over the millennia as a class struggle from above. In doing so, an elitist world view is installed in the minds that is obstructing the emergence of movements that can challenge the structure.

In spite of all the Enlightenment, revolutions and democratization, we are still encountering this elitist view of the world at every turn. Within the shelter given by it, the superiors can overdo it with impunity, and that is what the nobility and the upper classes have done since time immemorial. As shown in 1789 and 1917, they did not get away with it always. The countermovement was able to condense into actionable forces and eliminate the elitist order – without, however, finding a wise approach to the phenomenon of leading and let-oneself-beeing-led.

The advantage of electoral democracy is that power is institutionally anchored in the voluntary respect of the led. In a huge area of society however, the economy, this is not the case, although many leaders feel the commitment to the led and seek to act accordingly. The ideology prevailing there is one in which the satisfaction of the participants (i.e.employees) is not a value in itself, but a means of motivation, and this again a means of capital return. The lords of capital are imbued with elite sentiment, sustained by the rules of order, but not by voluntary respect.

What to do? Frankly, I don’t know.

July 2019
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