I was 10 years old when the Tschernobyl accident happened in 1986 and it had shocked me to the core. The images of the devastation it had caused and the feelings of sadness, fear and helplessness that had arisen in my young heart as a response will stay with me forever.
I was therefore over the moon when in 2002, on the 16th anniversary of this catastrophe the German government – back then made up of Labour and the Green Party – put a law in place that detailed a staged exit from nuclear power supply over a number of years. The final nuclear power station in Germany would be shut down in 2025. It was a breakthrough decision and I was elated, hoping that this would initiate a chain reaction of change towards renewable energy in other countries as well.
Today, the present government of Germany, a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats bowed to the money instead and added 8-14 more years to this plan in order to allow them to keep cashing in. They threw all scientific reports out of the window that had confirmed that the plan is on target and that it would not cause a shortage of power supply.
I’m so angry. I feel cheated and thrown back.
Back behind that wall that seemed broken through and now stands back erected.
Somehow that’s characteristic of a lot of breakthroughs, in many areas of life. Often it’s not done with one breakthrough. Often you get stuck behind the next wall that you then need to break through and sometimes – like in this case – it throws you right behind the initial wall again.
But I can’t get disillusioned. Maybe I just need to change my concept of the word “breakthrough” and rather than seeing it as the “big bang” that changes everything, I need to understand that it is just one of many.
We need to keep breaking through.
My heart is with the people in Germany who will now take to the streets to fight for what’s been promised to them.