An Ordinary Radical


Growing up in the 1980s in Germany meant that, by default, you grew up aware of certain environmental problems. It would have been practically impossible to ignore the protests against nuclear plants or nuclear waste transports across the country back then. I was also lucky to have had some good science teachers in school as well who gave us a solid basis in physics, chemistry and biology (evolution!). I remember spending a full term learning about the greenhouse effect and global warming, the thinning of the ozone layer and the impact of CO2 on the climate back in 1988, with predictions for the future that, by now, have been overtaken by reality.

and I have been involved in supporting the Palestinian cause and speaking out publicly ever since.

I do not consider myself to be politically radical. I don’t think that there is anything radical in wanting peace and human rights for everyone. There is nothing radical in wishing that our children have a future on a liveable planet. What’s radical is to close your eyes to every fact or evidence that is being thrown your way. What’s radical is to believe that you or your children can live on a radically changed planet, defying the laws of physics, in particular when you’ve had an education that allows you to understand these laws. To me, it requires a conscious effort to willingly ignore every available indicator, be it economical or environmental, that is pointing the wrong direction.

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The internal problems for now, I think, outweigh the external ones. We are still trying to find our voice, members have joined because they liked the vision and the commitments, but we don’t have a concrete action program yet. I think many of the members are just waiting to see where we are going. I am certain that as soon as there is an actual call for action people will mobilize and get excited and be there. I also think that, even though we have stated over and over again that IOPS is not even founded yet and that we are at an interim stage, a lot of the members are already thinking of the next step, it may not even be an issue for them. But in reality we are currently working towards a founding convention for the actual launch of the organization, and that is a big pre-requisite for an actual program. For right now, I think what we need is a critical mass of people who are dedicated to seeing IOPS be officially launched and then just get right in and start our first action program. IOPS is open and flexible, I am quite sure that people will join into the discussion as soon as something is being proposed. font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
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herehere red”> to others but to themselves also. First of all, I think that there is still enough room for lively debate and honest discussion of consequences or action plans to be implemented (I am thinking of climate change here, but I am sure this is true for other topics as well) even after we have all agreed on the basic facts. Understanding a problem is only the first step to finding a solution. But contrary to social issues or the understanding of human nature and interactions, scientific problems are really usually very straightforward, and propaganda is a distraction from the real issues at hand that we urgently need to address. font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
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