Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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Living with dignity – at what price?

The unconditional basic income is a payment made to every citizen, irrespective of their financial, family or professional situation, and is sufficient to allow a person to live with dignity. I have reflected on this topic with a degree of perplexity because the Unconditional Basic Income seems unrealistic to me. Despite this, it is still an interesting starting point for having a look at life in our society. There is one good aim in the idea of this income, which is that of seeking to enable everyone to lead a dignified life. Socially, it is something that is desirable. But …

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The price of living with (in)dignity

The Unconditional Basic Income quite simply proposes the following: living with dignity has no price. There can be no financial excuse at all for a fifth of the population living on the brink of poverty, of whom many hundreds of thousands are genuinely poor, or for many people watching their circumstances change without warning. Without essential goods and services and without a shred of power. There can be no excuse, be it financial, political or any other. Quite simply, it is necessary to divide everything more equitably, or as equitably as necessary, and it is incomprehensible that a country cannot …

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Well roared, lion!

In the autumn, a new president of the local council will be elected in my village. It’s now seven years (4+3) since the opposition withdrew into its cave to sleep. It has woken up, bang on time for election year. I never thought that their hibernation would come to an end. Whoever is in charge of a village has no easy task with an opposition that misses everything through oversleeping. When I heard that the plan was to read the president the riot act, I decided to visit the Assembleia Municipal (municipal assembly) The room in the town hall is …

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Kyoto. Paris. Marrakesh.

If we want to ensure that future generations enjoy a reasonably good life, we need a new, modern tax system quite soon that will make sustainable life possible. It must be easy to understand and be fairer than the current one, promote environmentally-friendly behaviour and make the plundering of resources unattractive. Its goal must be to bring climate protection and social justice into harmony with each other. This would work if each citizen received a tax account from the state with a credit for a sustainable life. It would work like this: On 1st January in a calendar year, a …

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What is it to be ECO?

ECO is the search for meaning. Volkswagen AG should undertake this simple task in the deepest crisis in its history, where linear thinking and action destroys economies. Things just can’t keep going on like this. This realisation will probably make many millions of people unemployed. Even the fines for the fraud amounting to billions do not hide the fact that the whole car industry is in a cul-de-sac or make us think that the problem would thereby be solved. The fines will be paid and then what? Money could be invested more sensibly, in healthy, sustainable jobs. If we want …

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The world in the anthropocene era*

If human beings define culture as something uniquely created by human beings, they will, when they look back, come across agriculture first of all. What humans discovered in their development on earth was a paradisiacal, but wild nature, which may well have been enchanting, but which they still remain afraid of today. Their culture therefore requires settlement in towns, and it is perhaps in that way that tourism developed over time because people continue to carry a nomadic existence in their genes – albeit for just a short time every year. Out of settlements, villages developed, and from them towns …

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What is it to be ECO?

The word comes from long ago, but we who look at it closely can say that the concept only became popular in the 1960s, when young men let their hair grow down to their waists, and proclaimed the slogan that only what was natural was good. Make Love not War was a universal motto at that time, and the idea that, if we abandoned ourselves to nature we would be saved, appeared to be an achievable dream. A wonderful dream that was a lie. On the contrary, civilisation accelerated its confrontation with nature, increased human conflicts, and ECO became synonymous …

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What is it to be ECO?

ECO is the prefix of a family of words, including ecology, ecosystem, ecological, ecologist, and others. Eco comes from the Greek oikos (house). Oikos is the origin of the word Ökologie, introduced from German in the 19th century, becoming Ecology in English, and being pronounced in most European languages in a similar way to the German or English word. Oikos, “house”, is an excellent metaphor for the environment: ecology (“eco” + “logia”) is “the study of interactions between living organisms and the environment where they live” or “the series of interactions of a specific organism with its environment”. Ecology is …

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Business as usual?

Thirty-eight kilometres off Portugal’s bathing and surfing beaches, four raw materials companies are searching for oil and gas in the sea. In itself, this would hardly merit a mention – after all, our planet’s raw materials are already being plundered everywhere – were it not for the fact that there have been protests, sometimes fierce ones, from all parts of society that are concerned about social and ecological issues. Even some areas of business are signalling a clear rejection, especially tourism, which is responsible for 10% of the country’s income. There’s an outcry. There are three questions. Why are companies …

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Do we need flying lessons how to use the word ECO?

This word “eco” comes from the Greek OIKOÇ for “house” or “household”. More recently it is a word that has entered our language through ecology and into the world of politics, economics, our cultural life and citizenship. It is a word that connects us with many different areas of human activity. Through this word, we can fly to some very interesting areas of human contemplation. It is clear that we don’t always realize this. There is nothing new about it. The frequency with which the word is used shows it has entered the everyday language of many people. This calls …

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