Open Letter to my Nieces

My dear nieces,

I have read a lot about the climate and politics in the last days and watched videos of Sascha Lobo (de), Georg Schramm (the Stalin organ of cabaret) (de) and Rezo (de). This made me think about you again.

Or, actually, about me and how you like to see me - now that I am in the prime of my years or maybe later when you say: “He was also one who is responsible for our world being in the ass.

When I was as old as you were, up to the age of 22, I did everything by bike. Only when my boss at the beginning of my career pressed a car key into my hand and said “Get a pizza for everyone” did it become clear that I didn’t have a driver’s license yet. Two weeks later the time had come: I passed my exam and from then on I belonged to the mainstream. At that time our company was still small and everyone drove for the company with their own cars, including me. I drove an incredible amount back then. When that became clear to me and I had driven my first Golf in the truest sense of the word, I thought I had to protect the environment and bought myself a diesel next. That was exactly the time when the diesel was taxed more heavily - justified by the fact that it couldn’t be that a diesel driver consumed less fuel and therefore, in principle, drove cheaper. From today’s point of view, of course, my environmental protection strategy has been backfired, for which I would like to apologize to you.

But I was already a vegetarian at that time. A time when you didn’t even exist - by the way, the state of existence that least pollutes the environment! But I was, as I must confess to my shame, not a vegetarian because of the environment, but because meat had never tasted so good to me. This may also be due to a traumatic story from my early childhood, where I was forced to swallow a huge slimy and greasy cartilage in hospital, otherwise there would be no ice cream for dessert.

Yes, I know, today you’re really vegetarian if you’re a vegan, but that wasn’t so common back then. I remember that I was constantly asked why I was a vegetarian and I always told the same story. Vegans, if you knew how well I understand you. Well, my vegetarianism ended with a currywurst, not because I had to survive in the Arctic, but because I just wanted one. Still, that was 20 years later. So if you’re reading this text, maybe at a time when my molecules are already evenly distributed in the earth’s crust, please forgive me. Maybe this long time, when I didn’t eat any methane emitting cows, can rehabilitate me a little. Even if I know that at this time you will be very angry with all the old sacks like me that have heated up your beautiful earth so much.

Oh, speaking of heated up, my last car I got was a huge Passat. It was so big that I had two accidents because I couldn’t see backwards enough. The back was just so far away. But it was fast, comfortable and I could drive as much as I wanted, it was all at company expense. Liebelei in the middle of Austria? No problem, company pays. Living in Munich and girlfriend in Hamburg? No problem, company pays.

Besides, this silver big car was a wonderful status symbol, mei, if I look at myself now, bicycle, possibly the car of my girlfriend… But I got to know her this way. Status symbols radiate potency, power and security. Nevertheless, she didn’t run away from me and that tells me that maybe it’s not as important as many think. Maybe there won’t be such a thing in your time, now, in the future? The environment would like it.

Maybe it will be time for me to write to you at all why I am writing to you. So, it happened like this: My girlfriend and I were still in the shock state of the last videos. She said I didn’t have any children, but her daughter would live at least until 2080. She would still be aware of all these great climatic catastrophes, the millions of fleeing uprooted people, the destroyed nature and the devastated habitats. And with “desert” I had to think of you.

You are not my children, but thanks to my sister you have a quarter of my inheritance in you. So, genetically, I feel responsible for a quarter of you and your future. In addition, I would like to say this right now, I hope also that this quarter hereditary property continues to be passed on. My grandfather said yes, I was “the dry branch of the family” and of course I don’t wish that to anyone. Besides, my genome is of course really great, it has proven itself again and again over millions of years.

But I didn’t want to go into the depths like that. Why I actually write to you is this Greta Thunberg. A young woman like you who simply doesn’t want to see that old crackers like me are destroying her world. And that is what drives me around. I don’t know how to say it, but I feel quite normal somehow. (Even if I never wanted to be normal.)

I somehow haven’t even had a standard working life like this behind me, paid off a house, planted a tree, developed professionally, spiritualized from stupid talk of why, politics, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, meditation, and all the shit you do when you get older - thought it all through. And yet, when I was young, in the 70s, everything was simple and carefree. My parents weren’t particularly interested in the environment, they were Christian and simply always chose CDU. We had grown up sheltered. Everything was colorful and made of plastic (Jaaaaa PLASTIK!!!!) and stank of the most terrible softeners. Not everything came from China, only the little figures from the chewing gum machine and somehow everything was ok.

In the eighties it was already different, there was already “no future” and forest dying and almost already nuclear war. Somehow that all came and somehow everything went again. Quite different, than for you now, who have to get along with this sick world. What I want to say: You can only change something if you see that you should change something. And somehow all this was always not really there, so that it was relevant in society.

For years we have been making our “support purchases” in the health food store. For years I have had only LED lamps, was one of the first. I threw away my first LED light again, it had about the brightness of a refrigerator lamp and the light was also about as warm.

By different measures we managed to consume only 40 Kwh per week in our whole house. Even less would only work, if we would buy all possible devices completely new. We have decided to stop flying to Tenerife now, never! Although our landlord doesn’t give a damn, we have insulated our attic ourselves and now use only half the oil per year - by only 4!! Centimeter of insulation in the attic.

What I want to say: We make an effort. But I know it won’t be enough. It will not work to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. God, when I think about how warm it might be when you will be as old as I am now.

I really do drive less car even though I am such a lazy sock. But that won’t be enough either. It won’t be possible to take the status symbols from all the old sacks, to put them in small flats that are well insulated instead of their huge houses that they have “saved from the body” and where they still live for 40 years, even though the children’s rooms are empty.

In addition, in the time when you live now, the whole nice exploitation and plundering of the Third World, which we called Third World at that time, doesn’t work as well as it used to. Perhaps because everywhere is only war or drought and there is simply nothing left to plunder, or because these countries have perhaps emancipated themselves and now want to live as we do. We have always thought that we have earned everything ourselves. But now that everything comes from China and we can only consume until the purse is empty, we slowly realize that we have somehow lived in some kind of art world or big filter bubble. And, I can only tell you this: It’s a very strange feeling when you suddenly see after half a life that somehow everything is completely different than you always thought.

Money is now somehow debt money, so actually the opposite of money. You say pension, you won’t be able to give it that way anymore, already now they’re talking about a basic pension. There is also no longer any interest that you could save for later. The financial crises become more and more frequent and, who knows, it comes again as fat or fat, as 1929?

You see, these are the thoughts you think when you are in the middle of life. You still think, “I rock the world”. And the eighty-year-olds say: “I don’t care, I’ll be dead soon anyway”. Only we in the middle, we really think about it. Even about you. We even go to vote. Although I recently found out that it’s no use anyway, because they only do what the rich want. But unfortunately I don’t belong to them either, fail!

If I were rich, it would be easier. For example, I wouldn’t need to work until 67 (maybe until then until 70). So quasi from swivel chair right into the box. If I were rich, then I could also live well with it, if suddenly everything for which I have saved my life would only be worth a tenth. But unfortunately I am somehow quite normal, not poor, but also not fat rich.

Slowly I think I have already written you quite a lot. Especially when you consider how little I have written to you before. But the things we’ve been looking at lately have somehow made me feel like I wanted to express to you that we’ve screwed it up, even though we haven’t really noticed it.

So I hope that in this time, when the last storm washed away your garden or covered your house or your district is just a glazed desert, because a military pressed some wrong button - that you still think of me in a well-meaning way. And maybe you think something like: “Well, he could have done more, but he was a child of his time”. In other words, the way we think about our Nazi grandpas today. That would be really great, thank you.

And, yes, of course I would be happy to hear from you what you think. Oh, remember, if you want to write me, statistically there are only 29 years left for me.

Best regards, your Martin

PS: I write this on the Internet, because otherwise you would have fucked up a letter like this in 30 years. And the Internet never forgets!