Sep 17, 2019

Last Chance to See ... the Future

The Otherland supports the Global Climate strike on September 20th – we will be at the protest (starting at Brandenburg Gate at 12) and our shop will go dark on the day. On Friday evening we would like to invite all of our striking friends to join us for after-rally drinks and music at the store.

It almost seems silly to go to any great lengths on the subject. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that the current degree and speed of climate change is caused by human activity. Even politicians largely feel forced to acknowledge this truth these days. The current climate crisis contributes to an ongoing mass extinction of animal species, catastrophic forest fires, floods, droughts and storms. It is self-reinforcing through the release of greenhouse gases from previously permanently frozen soils, and melting sea ice which lowers the earth‘s albedo and thus the proportion of solar radiation that is reflected back into space. As with all catastrophes, the people who have the least suffer first and most severely.

The most important measures necessary to mitigate the catastrophe are also well-known. Humanity needs to severly curtail the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which requires adaptation of practically every aspect of modern life, foremost the production and consumption of goods. Changing global systems of agriculture, energy production, mobility etc. requires concerted effort and cannot be achieved solely by individuals who try to lead a "clean" life. This is where politics come in, as the need arises to negotiate known facts into societal solutionson a global level.

This negotiation is, admittedly, not always perfect, nor is it easy to clearly see what is happening and what immediate actions are necessary and possible.

The Otherland cannot claim to be a shining poster child in this regard. Yes, we did research on how to "green" our supply line, but ultimately found that all solutions are only available at volumes and figures far exceeding the capabilities of our humble enterprise. So all we can do is to contact our suppliers with critical and suggestive questions and hopefor the best. It might not be impossible to DIY acceptable solutions, but we are a very small fish in a big pond and we've been unable to do more than make small adjustments and appeal to higher levels.

The above holds true for most people – one can eschew plastic bags and plane trips, and go shop at a SWOP store, and that's all good, important, and necessary. But if we look closely at the overall impact of the things we do (or, even more importantly, don't do), we don't exactly come away thrilled by their efficacy.

Therefore: politics! It is, after all, the method we have available to enable people to act effectively on a large scale through democratic means. And it requires us to hold accountable the people whom we have imbued with the power to govern us. As individuals we are powerless to change the system (as exciting as we may find the trope in our science fiction and fantasy literature). Only in large numbers, acting collectively, can we exert sufficient pressure to do that.

We like to read dystopias at the Otherland. We'd prefer not to live in one, however. And we'd like for the generation after our own to have a future beyond what they can find in books.

So we would urge you to join the global climate strike on Friday, September 20th. The main protest march starts at 12 o'clock (noon) at the Brandenburg Gate. Us Otherlanders will meet at the corner
Behrenstraße/Ebertstraße (by the Holocaust memorial), if you want to walk with us it would be good to be there by 12:15. The shop itself will be operating in a reduced mode, lights and computers will be turned off. If you're in dire need for new reading material we won't turn you away, but quite honestly we'd prefer to see you at the rally.

We would also love to see you in the evening for an after-strike party. All protesting friends of the Otherland are invited to come to the shop from 8 p.m. onwards to finish the day with drinks, discussions and dancing. Do bring, or post, a photo of yourself at a rally! Hope to see you there!

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