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Germany had bank holidays this week, but the bloggers at our European partner site,, still had time to write about these stories:

Germany: How Green?
Germany is often seen as an environmental pioneer. Tell a German about the American trend of going shopping with a re-usable bag instead of getting plastic at the store, for example, and they might sneer: Germany launched a huge “Jute statt Plastik” (“jute instead of plastic”) campaign 30 years ago.

So the bloggers at are puzzling over an an international comparison of environmental awareness that places Germany low, after even China and India. Beatrice wanted to know what’s up and did the Greendex Calculator test on her own. Maybe rampant driving is the reason for Germany’s poor performance? Christian notes that even politicians of the eco-party drive huge, gas-guzzling cars.

Bioengineering and Hunger
A video first presented on the German TV-Channel ARD show Polylux raises the question of whether genetically engineered crops could help reduce world hunger. Tobias shows the video and suggests:

“Rieke is deeply concerned that seed-companies profit, and therefore she fills a field with BASF potatoes.”

But Stefan takes an opposite point of view, asking whether genetically modified crops might help:

“Instead of sarving, each of us would eat genetically modified corn. … I repeat myself, but must point out again that the hunger in developing nations is not a technical but a political problem.”

Waldorf Schools and Measles
Anthroposophy is the name of the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925); it’s given rise to the Waldorf schools that now exist around the world. Some weeks ago, Tobias wondered about a possible link between measles epidemics and anthroposophic schools in Europe, and he is still attacked by some anthroposophists. On Friday, May 9th, writes Tobias, new measles cases have been reported in Austria. Children from anthroposophically-oriented families, who vaccinate at a lower rate than average, are especially affected.

Privacy 2.0
Don’t want your neighbor to see which websites you’re surfing? Christoph has identified a great solution—a little uncomfortable, but cuddly.


(Image from Bekathwia, on Flickr.)

That’s all until next week. Note that links in this article are to blog posts in German—but their authors are usually happy to respond to comments in English. Danke!

This newsletter is compiled by managing editor Beatrice Lugger.