Make space! Cultural landscape vs. green electricity?

Pretty tight here. One would think that we humans would have enough space to live on the 13.4 billion hectares of land on this planet, but it’s not that simple. One of the big questions of our time will be how we want to feed an exponentially growing global population with less and less usable space, as well as supply it with energy and housing. Not to mention the still growing space requirements for roads, parking lots and highways. Conflicts in land use are highly emotional, but an honest debate about them is inevitable. We need constructive dialogue in order to develop a common idea of what our cultural landscape looks like, how the public space of our cities should be structured in the future. Because it can’t stay the way it is. And that’s a good thing.

by Martin Betzold | Reading time 2 minutes

We have space problem. The scarcity of land on this planet is being driven by two major drivers: Due to the progressive Climate change and an exponential growing world population. Dhe world population has doubled in the last 50 years. Eight billion people are hungry and useEn increasingly more energy. Electricity consumption alone will double by 2050, climate-neutral and cost-effective green electricity will become the Key product of the global question of survival.

So we seal half a million square meters per day, a number that is hard to imagine. Between 1992 and 2018, an area almost twice the size of Saarland was sealed in Germany.

Denn der von unserem fossilen Energiesystem getriebene Klimawandel raubt uns durch Bodenerosion, Wüstenbildung und steigende Meeresspiegel immer mehr urbare Flächen. Wir müssen begreifen, dass nutzbarer Platz eine Ressource ist, die nicht vermehrbar ist. Mit unserem wachsenden Flächenbedarf setzen wir eine Spirale in Gang, deren Dynamik selbstverstärkend ist. Mehr Menschen brauchen mehr Ackerfläche, um mit Nahrung versorgt zu werden, gerade weil flächenintensive Nahrungsmittel wie Fleisch, Sojabohnen (als Futtermittel) und Palmöl auf dem Speiseplan der Weltbevölkerung stehen. Diese zusätzliche Fläche wird maßgeblich durch die Abholzung von Wäldern gewonnen, was den Klimawandel weiter beschleunigt. Der Flächenbedarf für Siedlungen und zur regenerativen Energieproduktion kommt obendrauf. Ein Teufelskreis dessen Momentum es zu brechen gilt.

So much for the global perspective. Looking at Germany it should be noted that neither agricultural land nor forest cover has changed significantly in the last 10 years. But this is no reason to rejoice, because the Nevertheless, settlement and traffic area grows by 52 hectares every day.
So we seal half a million square meters per day,anumber thatis hard to imagine. Between 1992 and 2018, an area almost twice the size of Saarland was sealed in Germany.

The consequences are dramatic. In urban spaces, cooling fresh air corridors become faceless new-build districts, in the surrounding area from outdoor use Commercial areas and parking lots of discounters. New bypasses with debauched entrances and exits complete the madness of incorrect planning, which still puts the car at the centre of attention. of our freedom-loving philosophy of life.

What is missing is a vision, a goal that is desirable for all of us

The distribution struggle for land is already in full swing everywhere, and camp thinking determines the associated discourse. The irreconcilability in the debate about what our cities and our country should look like in the future is disturbing. Those who uphold the acquis cling to the status quo, so many cannot imagine why an update of our cultural landscape could be a win. The upcoming upheavals with the disappearance of small farms and decentralized energy production are enormous, which frightens many. But instead of winning over these people with a big, desirable vision, the progressive spectrum denounces the small-mindedness and habitual mentality of those who need to be taken along and convinced.

An energy supply based on wind and solar energy is non-negotiable. This is especially to those who otherwise like to strive for the preservation of creation, provided that no wind turbine comes too close to this pious wish.

But that’s only one side of the coin. Especially when looking at the transformation in the energy sector, it becomes clear how vehemently the traditional defend themselves against the indispensable. The climate crisis is evident, the most important instrument for solving it is known. The expansion of green electricity plants, which are simply our last chance in the fight to preserve our livelihoods, is being massively hindered. An energy supply based on wind and solar energy is non-negotiable. This is especially to those who otherwise like to strive for the preservation of creation, provided that no wind turbine comes too close to this pious wish. Of course, it is undisputed that renewable energies require considerable space and are increasingly shaping our cultural landscape.

For example, almost 53% of citizens have spoken out in favour of a wind farm planned by Green City in the Ebersberg Forest, but apparently the other half hopes that the climate crisis would somehow spare the economic forest from storm damage and pest infestation. What a mistake! Even more striking is the attitude of some local leaders, who even regard solar energy as the devil’s stuff of modernity. Requests from project developers for the use of land along railway lines are sometimes rejected with interesting reasons. A mayor from the Free State has immortalized himself in the Süddeutsche Zeitung with the statement, “Solar parks are foreign bodies, the modules reflect in the sun, that does not fit into our landscape”. Yes, one would like to shout, that fits very well! Brownfields in particular must be consistently used for solar power generation. The dual use of arable land for electricity generation and simultaneous agricultural use will also be increasingly advocated.

However, it is the task of the renewable energy industry to contribute its part to acceptance. The considerate planning and the adaptation of the plants to grown structures is crucial for the consent of the local people. Simply slamming megawatt solar parks into the landscape as objects will not be enough to convince those who are struggling with the transformation of our cultural landscape.

 

 

Photocredit Unsplash

Sources

Destatis https://www.destatis.de/DE/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2021/04/PD21_209_412.html;jsessionid=95BFC598C32E0CE6E9F25000ED4696BB.live742
Statista: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/183734/umfrage/landwirtschaftliche-nutzflaeche-in-deutschland-2010/
McKinsey, Global Energy Perspective 2021