Death of a Forest Culture in Germany

Since 2017, heavy storms, droughts, and bugs have felled many trees. This is happening in the land of the poets, thinkers … and forest lovers.

While taking my own forest walks, I can see dead trees still standing as well as lying by the roadside, marked with numbers. We can also see cleared forest aisles from a 9th floor apartment located at the foot of the Taunus Mountains. In American English, this could also be called a swath of destruction – an attack on nature or a natural development..? This determination I will leave to the scientists.

On any walk, there is always some momentary despair in the air, but in the next moment, we manage yet to marvel at the green canopy of leaves which is still above us on our walks in the nearby forest.

The most recent killer creature has been the Borkenkäfer (bark beetle), which likes to feed on mostly conifer trees.

Germany’s forest is a mixed forest of deciduous and conifer trees, with the spruce making up 25% of Germany’s forest.

Thanks for these photos and permission to publish go to my friend, Udo Esser, who took them on one his runs around the forests and hills.

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Stormy winds and droughts kill trees. This photo is what a tree looks like after bark beetles have devoured it. Not much left, is there…

bark beetles at work

This might be a slightly better time for Wanderer (hikers), who now have a much better view all the way around, including onto Frankfurt and its skyline (some smog included).

Frankfurt Skyline

This is a Wasserschutzgebiet (water protection area). There is no water to protect, so the sign has become less important. At present, and under its current conditions, it must be difficult to keep Ordnung in the German forests.

Wasserschutzgebiet im Taunus

This is what you are likely to encounter when exploring the hiking trails around here. The lack of precipitation in recent months has added more misery.

September 2020
German forests facing storms, droughts, and bark beetles.

This tree had been taken down by a storm. Forest workers gave it a clean and final cut before it could do further damage.

We’ve had our share of storms and destroyed trees in our own private garden in the Taunus Mountains as well. There have been three major storms involving our garden, which took down close to 20 trees (some where over a hundred years old). One of these storms cost us €2.500 to have seven kneeled over trees taken down. The other trees, belonging to neighbors, had fallen into our garden.

This is a socalled Luthereiche, an oak tree planted in remembrance of Martin Luther.

It has lost all its leaves due to the recurring droughts.

I love trees, and if you ever saw my balcony, you could see it for yourself. I have many trees, most are volunteers left by the wind or the birds as carriers.

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. – Martin Luther

German Word of the Day: der Kassenzettel (receipt)

Recently, when shopping at our nearby supermarket, I noticed a different quality and color in the receipt paper. The first time, I figured it was just the end of the paper roll. Today’s receipt looked the same, so I finally took a closer look, and found the explanation on the back of it.

Up until now, receipts from EDEKA supermarket, used to be white in color, and somewhat shiny due to their chemical lining. Hence, they were not meant for the paper trash, but the plastic trash. All this has changed.

Environmentally friendly receipts

The new receipts are better for the environment. See pointers.

  • ohne chemische Farbentwickler (without chemical color enhancer)
  • über das Altpapier entsorgen und recycelbar (please add to the paper bin, it is recycable)
  • beständig gegen Umwelteinflüsse (resistant against environmental impacts)
  • zugelassen für den direkten Kontakt mit Lebensmittel (paper approved for direct contact with dry goods)

This is a good sign in regards to our environment. When we use fewer chemicals and reduce plastic trash, we’re heading in the right direction. Thank you, EDEKA.

Evolving German Mischmasch Language

I’ve abused the German language for many years. Sometimes, I’ve spoken in a mischmasch of English and German, because it was more convenient. For example, my husband asks me for the whereabouts of something, then my reply is usually this: “It’s in the Einbauschrank!” The Einbauschrank is the built-in closet in the entry way of an apartment in Germany. At least around here where we live. You see, I don’t bother translating it. I use the local word.

The other day, I discovered this new word on a notice at the doctor’s office. “… zu spät sein sollten, wird der Termin automatisch gekänzelt.(In case you’re late, your appointment will be automatically cancelled)

Sprachnudel känzeln

There is a new platform called Sprachnudel (Language Noodle), which collects all the words not suitable for the Duden (Germany’s pre-eminent language resource).

Sprachnudel, the platform for Wörter der Jetztsprache (Words of the Present Language) sounds so much like Language Doodle. 🙂

New German term: Präsenzunterricht

Before the 2020 pandemic struck, there were neither homeschooling, nor online lessons, and all the learning for school age children was done in Präsenzunterricht (classroom teaching). Hence, there was no need for this term.

Now we need this term to differentiate between online lessons and classroom lessons.

Language does evolve around the change of times.

Ab sofort wieder Präsenzunterricht! (From now on again classroom teaching!)

Well, this could also mean the virtual classroom (in the global world), but not to most Germans. 😉

Homeschooling in Germany has Become Legal Now

“Der Schulzwang wird fallen wie die Berliner Mauer” (source: Bildungsvielfalt) stands for Compulsory education will eventually [sic] fall like the Berlin Wall. This has happened now.

Now, without further ado in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, homeschooling is suddenly the norm. Everyone in Germany is getting home schooled – without any bureaucracy.

1919 saw the beginning of Compulsory Education (Schulpflicht) in Germany. Over the years, there had been various appeals by individuals and petitioners to change the law.

In April 2010, a petition signed by 5400 people, was submitted to the German Bundestag asking for impunity for parents who teach their children at home. This petition was turned down in November 2011.

I had supported this petition back in 2009, and had published this post: Petition for Homeschooling in Germany

Homeschooling in German: der Hausunterricht or der Heimunterricht

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