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 May 2009 - Nr. 5
The edior: Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

Dear Reader

May is traditionally the month of love and romance expressed in many different ways. Many weddings take place in May; mine certainly did 43 years ago. In this month we celebrate Mothers Day, and while some of the sentiments expressed are often a bit "kitschig" and sentimental, they are genuine.

Apple blossomsLove of mothers leads us to love of family and children and thus a love of future, of survival. How well we will survive into the future is up to all of us. If you look at our front page with so many children you do realize that looking to the past does not guarantee survival. However, making decisions that benefit our children will lead to survival in the future.

When I by chance discuss the world and its sorry state with people I hear sometimes "Ah well, I will not be around then. That is after my time! Iíll be long gone then!", it gives me shivers, not good ones I might add. How can someone say that? They have children and do not care what happens to them and their children?

It is this short-sightedness that justifies bad decisions like choosing personal comfort over a more laborious solution to everyday problems. How bad does it have to get before we all wake up and get back to some simple basics, like getting off the couch or chair and into the garden, doing some planting of what is needed for ourselves and the other species to survive; like cutting the lawn with manpower and not machinery; going on foot to nearby stores instead of getting in the car and going to far flung places too often.

There are all sorts of things we can do to help our planet survive better. In the pollution and waste department we have a lot to learn. Recycling is not enough, the game is about reducing!

Have you seen the pictures of plastic swimming in the Pacific Ocean? It is a patch the size of Texas! Perhaps a good water filter instead of bottled water comes to mind? Perhaps a little less meat eating will save the rainforests and keep landfills from overflowing with packaging material. I recall a time not too long ago when meat was for special occasion. Sundays there was a roast or a chicken or goose, duck or turkey for special festivities. Monday we always had leftovers from Sunday. Tuesdays we had a noodle dish, Wednesdays something based on rice with vegetables, Thursday we had pancakes or potato pancakes with compote, Fridays we had fish or vegetarian food and Saturdays there was "Eintopf" or stew of sorts. This is a lot less expensive diet and healthier too by far! And whatever was in season we preserved for the long winter. We did not feel the need for exotic items; we were good cooks that knew how to make something out of almost nothing.

Have you already abolished the throw-away plastic shopping bag? When we were younger none of us had those but used our own totes. In the kitchen we did things by hand, not with a gadget. We washed our dishes by hand and also did a lot of hand-laundry. We had no washing machines or dryers and our laundry was always clean. We did everything ourselves and the very big pieces like bed-linens went to a professional laundry and came back sleek and feeling cool and wonderful.

If we would just do some of those things how much waste would be eliminated? Just think about it and how you can help make a better future for our children. As we celebrate to thank our mothers for all they have done and sacrificed for us, let us also take on the hat of mothering our planet back to health. There are some websites you can look at to be better informed of what is going on and what we can do. I recommend:;;;; and check out Perhaps when we are all better informed we will take the time to think about what we ourselves can do to make things better.

All this does not mean that we cannot celebrate the good things in our lives. I am not a person that likes to spread bad news, but I felt I had to bring this up. It is somewhat urgent that we all act. Let the glorious spring which arrived remind us of the hope it holds for all renewal.

Have a happy Motherís Day!

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.

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