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05 Nov

Green Crosses

These are simple but powerful symbols: peasants have put up green crosses on the streets and the edges of the fields. - In the past, farmers have already organized more rustic and drastic protests. Occasionally they dumped truckloads of manure and manure in front of ministries or drove livestock through inner cities. Also already trekkers broke the public traffic. In these weeks, we experience a rather unfamiliar rural protest: quiet, but effective.

With the green crosses, they mobilize against what they see as exaggerated environmental regulations. Their aim is to improve groundwater, soils and air, but also to provide more species diversity in insects and bees. The task of agriculture is to supply the population with food. However, due to both globalization and direct or indirect government subsidies, fair competition and production conditions are fundamentally out of joint.

"Picture book Farms" with cows, pigs, goats, chickens and agriculture are virtually non-existent. Instead, highly specialized agricultural factories produce foodstuffs that are also offered for sale at the bargain prices. To complete the madness, feeds from overseas are brought in to feed the livestock in local stables (fully air-conditioned, but without daylight).

Such farms often do not have sufficient acreage for self-sufficiency in feed. On the other hand, such fattening farms often produce excess manure. But there are regulations for a long time that only as much natural fertilizer (for example manure) on fields and meadows as the plants can absorb. But because not everyone adheres to it, it often leads to significant nitrate pollution in groundwater.

But clean water is very important for human survival. Many insects are deprived of their livelihood - thanks to intensive farming and large-scale monocultures, as well as appropriate pesticide use. Farmers face global competition and price pressure: the majority of consumers want to eat "biologically valuable" food, but do not pay the right price. The saved money is better otherwise "consumed".

Neither farmers nor industrial companies can be expected to market goods below production costs. This leads to bankruptcy. In this respect, fair prices are something like a 'human right'. Our environmental problems can only be solved globally and through the cooperation of states, societies and professional or interest groups.

Actions such as "Fridays for Future" or the farmers' silent Green Cross protest are attracting attention. Would it really be so bad if we - who can - spend a few percent more on healthy food instead of 12 percent? Although less meat would possibly be produced, it would contribute to environmental protection, animal welfare, biodiversity and biodiversity and, in many Western societies, to public health.

We need a global, ecological and social market economy. For many years, the universally recognized procedure compensates for global (economic) inequalities with tariffs and anti-dumping duties. It would be time to add a 'green component' to these tried-and-tested practices in order to create global incentives for more environmental protection: products that are carbon-neutral and governed by the rules of the circular economy should then be traded globally, duty-free.

With Best Regards

Walter Thieme
WTH Managing Director