The YES! Petition summarizes the solution proposals and results of the first YES! – Young Economic Summit 2015 in Kiel.
The YES! – Young Economic Summit 2015 is under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel. It is organized by the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in collaboration with the Joachim Herz Stiftung and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Round about 200 young people, from 15 secondary and vocational schools from Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, organized in 14 project groups, developed solution proposals for pressing global challenges.
The following ten topics were chosen by the students. They worked intensely on those topics and presented their results at a two-day conference and discussed them with more less 400 participants::
The best solution proposals were elected democratically by the young adults, subsequent to the conference. They form the basis for the next generation’s demands. Additionally, the public choice award was determined via online voting with approximately 800 people taking part.
The YES!-Solution Proposal for the challenge „Re-assessing Waste Management and the Circular Economy“ of the project group Gymnasium Wellingdorf deals with one of the most pressing issues of our time: plastic waste. Due to different reasons, plastic is mostly used in a linear and not in a circular way, meaning that it is hardly ever recycled. This leads to considerable contamination of our ecosystem and represents a major threat for our environment.
The YES!-Students demand a deposit system for robust polyester bags in conjunction with a ban on conventional, non-recyclable plastic bags in order to drastically reduce pollution of the environment by plastic waste.
The YES!-Solution Proposal for the challenge „Dealing with the Challenges of Urban Development“ of the project group Heinrich-Heine-Schule Heikendorf deals with the optimization of public transport. The extension of urban infrastructure is particularly important since it is one key factor for a city’s competitiveness and attractiveness. By a more intensive use of buses and trains, many severe problems of urbanization, as for example air pollution, are counteracted.
The YES!-Students demand an optimization of public transport and a bonus system for bus tickets. The more an individual uses public transport the less he or she has to pay for the ticket. To incentivize an intensive use of public transport makes it more attractive to use buses and trains, and leads to a reduction of individual traffic.
Die YES!-Lösungsidee für die Herausforderung „Food Security“ through more Intense Crop Production“ von der Projektgruppe der Anne-Frank-Schule Bargteheide beinhaltet zwei alternative Anbaumethoden, zum einen für den Maisanbau in Kenia und zum anderen für den Reisanbau in Indien. Beide Methoden erhöhen den Ertrag nachhaltig und kommen ohne künstliche Düngemittel, genmanipuliertes Saatgut oder Pestizide aus.
Die YES!-Schülerinnen und YES!-Schüler fordern eine vermehrte Verbreitung der alternativen Anbaumethoden „Push and Pull Technology“ und „System of Rice Intensification“, um nachhaltig auf agroökologische Weise die Nahrungsmittelsicherheit zu gewährleisten.
Die YES!-Lösungsidee für die Herausforderung „Migrants Knocking on Europe’s Doors: Towards a Coherent Response to Irregular Immigration“ der Projektgruppe des Gymnasiums Altenholz beinhaltet ein Webportal –Portal Europe– , auf dem alle wichtigen Informationen Migration betreffend zusammenfließen, sowohl für Flüchtlinge, als auch für die aufnehmenden Gastländer. Ziel ist es durch eine zentrale Anlaufstelle mit allen notwendigen Informationen die Informationsasymmetrie abzubauen.
Die YES!-Gemeinschaft fordert eine Unterstützung des Ausbaus der Webseite „Portal Europe“ um der Informationsasymmetrie zwischen Migranten und aufnehmenden Gastländern wirksam entgegenzuwirken und eine offene Willkommenskultur zu etablieren.
Eine Lösungsidee des Gymnasiums Wellingdorf
Beteiligte: Mate Ćapin, Steven Handschuh, Henrik Horst, Alexander Jochimsen, Tarek Kouri, Jonas Olschewski, Daniel Reifschneider und Jenny Süfke
Verantwortliche Lehrkraft: Malte Rohm
Our general topic is the “circular economy”, which is about making the world’s economy more sustainable. This is a very interesting, but also complex and difficult topic. So we focused on one single aspect: The life cycle of the common plastic bag.
We live in a time where things that we use frequently have just a short live cycle, such as electronic devices or packages for food. Of course we are able to recycle, for instance paper based materials, but there is especially one material that is mostly used in a linear and not in a circular way. Nowadays, plastic is one of the most used materials for every kind of product. But the fact that recycling plastic is very expensive, difficult and produces highly toxic gases, leads to a very low recycling rate for plastic, which lies under 25 percent worldwide.
Many plastic bags are not disposed professionally. So they pollute land and oceans and are a danger for the ecosystem and the animals. Because of their chemical properties, plastic bags are bad bio-degradable to non-biodegradable. Marine animals, like seabirds, eat these plastic wastes (ex.: tortoises mistake the plastic bags for jellyfish and fish the little particles for plankton) and perish or become diseased. Sometimes, the plastic reaches the human body again by consumption of marine animals, for example cod. Other environmental impacts followed by using plastic are carbon dioxide emissions due to incinerators.
We discussed how to use plastic in a more ecofriendly and sustainable way. Without a doubt, fixing the whole problem is impossible. But we want to make a big step forward by rethinking the usage of plastic bags.
Capabilities and measures
Plastic bags are cheap or free, light and resilient. That is why so many people all over the world are using them. However, they are just used one time before consumers are throwing them away and buy new ones, for instance the next time they buy groceries.
The European Union adopted a law in 2015 that all members of the Union are allowed to prohibit the selling of plastic bags completely, to increase taxes on them, or to introduce binding reduction goals. These are maximal 90 plastic bags p. P./a till 31.12. 2019 and 40 plastic bags p. P./a till 31.12. 2025. Germany has a consumption of 76 bags p. P./a. Until today, Germany did not change anything considering the usage of plastic bags even though this topic is so important.
The first upcoming and simplest solution for this problem would be to prohibit selling plastic bags: everyone would be forced to use alternatives such as paper bags. But these alternatives are not as ecofriendly and convenient as they seem to be. On the one hand paper bags are very sustainable because you can recycle them to make new ones. On the other hand, recycling those uses a lot of water and energy. Furthermore many customers consider them impractical.
So we thought about a new and different way to make the usage of plastic bags more sustainable.
There are three simple and common methods that can reduce the waste of plastic bags, we came up with:
1. Regulatory Law:
The big advantage of using regulatory laws is that it is compulsory for both customers and producers. But, as stated earlier, a prohibition of non-recyclable plastics is not effective because highly recyclable one is still too expensive in production and for instance paper bags are not as ecofriendly as one might think they are. Furthermore, it is difficult to control the maximal amount if plastic bags used by households in a single year.
2. Financial Incentives:
To charge a deposit would stop the environmental pollution based on plastic bags thrown away, because the customers would collect them and bring them back to the vendor to get back their money. On the downside, the overall amount of plastic bags would not necessarily decrease and the life cycle of the bags would remain the same.
The introduction of a tax on plastic bags can have beneficial outcomes, since the price of a single bag is higher than the amount of money a consumer is willing to pay. The Republic of Ireland is a good case study for the effectiveness of a tax on plastic bags:
In March 2002, a 15 €-Cent tax was levied on each plastic carrier bag purchased by customers in supermarkets. This measure led to a change in consumer’s behavior. One advantage was that consumers stopped using as many bags as they wanted and they were encouraged to reuse the plastic bags. The tax was a huge success. Within three months of the tax being introduced, the number of plastic bags that were handed out was reduced by 90 percent and after five months, 3.5 million € had been raised. This amount of money is used to supply an environmental fund, which finances recycling infrastructure. On first of July the tax was raised to 22 €-Cents. After this increase, the last supermarkets stopped selling plastic bags. The results are striking: there is not a single plastic carrier bag left in supermarkets and they all have been replaced by paper or reusable bags. So the Irish experience in the struggle against littering has proved so successful that other EU countries are now considering following their example. Some facts about the effectiveness of the tax: the proportion of plastic bags of the waste found in environment slumped from 5 percent to 0.22 percent. The administrative costs lay by about 3 percent of the income and are thereby very low. The reactions of the retailer and also of the customers were positive. The tax has a high acceptance in Ireland, because it was developed in close collaboration between politics and agents of the economy and customers.
3. Subsidization for research in ecofriendly plastics
We think that fostering research in in ecofriendly plastics is one of the most important aspects when talking about decreasing plastic pollution in general. But our goal is to find a solution that could be realized in a short period of time. No one knows how long it will take to find the perfect material to replace the classic plastic.
Our YES!-Solution combines all three methods to a single one that takes advantage of the strength of each concept and combines them.
The goal is to establish a more robust plastic bag which has got a significantly longer working life, if used properly. On the plastic bags are signs of deposit, similar to the one on the PET bottles. The deposit amounts are a large part of the purchase price, so if the plastic bags are being returned, there will be only minimal costs for the user. Those plastic bags will be used again. In order to prevent the consumer from buying the current plastic bags, a drastic price increase is needed, to make the usage of the robust plastic bag more attractive. In the long run the single-usage-plastic-bags will be banned completely by law.
The producers of the plastic bags are responsible for the production and recycling of the new bag. Taking back the plastic bags and paying out of the deposit lies in the responsibility of commerce, as known from returnable bottles. The usage of the robust plastic bags can be one important part of a sustainable and green business strategy implemented by retailers. The retailers, including supermarkets and fashion stores, can choose an individual design to communicate their corporate social responsibility. Apart from that, there are still alternatives to plastic bags, for example recycled paper bags or consumers bring and use their own baskets or cotton bags.
Overall, the solution comprises the adoption of the deposit system of PET bottles. For simplicity, we suggest a deposit of 25 €-Cents per plastic bag, like the deposit for bottles. Single-usage-plastic-bags and paper bags have to be taxed by the same amount so the retailers have an incentive to switch to the new deposit system. The retailers have the choice of paying the tax or using the newly developed plastic bags and introducing the deposit system. The revenues of the tax can be used to subsidize the research of alternative materials like ecofriendly plastics.
As a new and better plastic bag, we have found a fold-up reusable carrying bag made of polyester. It is a particularly, intelligent and ecofriendly bag which is very robust and can carry about 10 kilograms. The customer can fold the plastic bag to the size of a package of handkerchiefs after using and poke it into an attached fastener bag. The bag only weighs 31 grams, not more than a normal plastic bag.
Our solution is simple but not as easy to implement, since the infrastructure for it has to be established. Especially Germany has to be a pioneer in environmental protection. Its exemplary function will lead many other countries, even outside the EU, to make an effort to fight against the pollution by plastic.
Oil is limited and plastic loses its quality when it is recycled too often. Unfortunately, a totally environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags does not exist right now. One of the main points of this project is that the customers understand the necessity to decrease the amount of plastic used in packaging, bags, etc. in general.
The described process is lengthy, especially when it comes to organizations, but it is worthwhile because it ensures the environmental protection in the long run.
To get an impression how people might react on the introduction of a deposit system for plastic bags, one can draw on the experiences made after the introduction of a deposit system for PET bottles. At first the deposit return was not used as much as estimated. This was due to a bad system that was not well thought through and led to confusion on how and where the bottles should be returned. After the current system was introduced, the deposit returns increased rapidly because it became a lot easier. You can return all of your bottles marked as deposit bottles in every store where they are sold. In 2006 about 20 percent of the bottles were not returned and thrown away. Today´s numbers show that only 5 percent of the deposit bottles are not returned. From 2009 to 2012, the percentage of sold disposable glass bottles increased only by 0.9 percent, disposable PET bottles by 13.1 percent and cans (up to 1 liter) by 63.8 percent. Only the numbers of returnable glass bottles sold decreased by 4.1 percent. So we see that the German population is willing to return their bottles if there is a simple, universal system. Other examples around the world show the same statistics. Countries like Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, 14 States of the USA and two Australian States have similar systems. This experience makes us confident, that a deposit system for plastic bags will also be accepted by customers.
Convery, Frank, Simon McDonnell, Susana Ferreira (2007); “The most popular tax in Europe? Lessons from the Irish plastic bags levy.”; in: Environmental and Resource Economics. Nr.38, 2007, S.1–11
Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2015); “Growth Within: A Circular Economy Vision for a Competitive Europe”; Ellen MacArthur Foundation; McKinsey Center for Business and Environment; 2015
Magdoff, Fred (2013); “Global Resource Depletion – Is Population the Problem?”; Monthly Review, Volume 64, Issue 08, 2013
Nedbank Sustainability Outlook (2013); “The Limited Earth Problem”
Oberhuber, Nadine (2013); „Die Plastiktüte ist besser als ihr Ruf“; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 31.03.2013
Rosling, Hans (2010); “The Magic Washing Machine”
Deutsche Umwelthilfe; „Zahlen und Fakten zu Plastiktüten“
Let’s talk Plastics (2011); „Plastiktüten oder Papiertüten“; Let’s talk Plastics 01.07.2011
WWF Jugend (2014); „Kommt nicht in die Tüte – Plastikmüll”; Thema Plastikmüll: Aktuelle Artikel
Mehrweg.org; “Häufig gestellte Fragen”
Während heute noch 54 Prozent der weltweiten Bevölkerung in urbanen Gebieten lebt, wird die Zahl bis 2050 bis auf 66 Prozent ansteigen. Diese Entwicklung würde bedeuten, dass die globale Stadtbevölkerung 6,4 Milliarden Menschen zählen wird.
Der 2014 erschienene Bericht „Revision of World Urbanization Prospects“ der Vereinten Nationen verdeutlicht, dass 90 Prozent des Anstiegs der urbanen Bevölkerung in Asien und Afrika stattfinden wird. Besonders betroffen werden Indien, China und Nigeria mit Zuwächsen von 404 Millionen, 292 Millionen und 212 Millionen zusätzlichen Bewohnern sein.
Aus dem Anstieg der Bevölkerung resultieren soziale, ökonomische und ökologische Veränderungen. In der Hoffnung auf ein besseres Leben ziehen viele Dorfbewohner in die Städte, um Arbeit zu suchen. Sind sie erfolglos, leben viele Betroffene dennoch weiter in den Städten. Verarmte Großstädte weisen deshalb oftmals eine hohe Konzentration von Armut und sozialer Ungleichheiten auf. Sie sind der einzige Ort, an dem wohlhabende Gemeinden mit Slums oder Armutsvierteln koexistieren.
Aus ökonomischer Sicht erfordern Städte eine intensive politische Koordinierung und durchdachte finanzielle Investitionen. Des Weitern stellen Großstädte ein höheres Katastrophenrisiko dar und haben einen großen Einfluss auf den Klimawandel, z.B. aufgrund des Konsums von zwei Drittel der weltweit verfügbaren Energie. Das größte Problem in den urbanen Regionen ist die Luftverschmutzung durch die Industrie und den Verkehr.
Herausforderungen des Themas
Wie die Einleitung zeigt, bringt die urbane Entwicklung eine Vielzahl an Problemen mit sich. Die Gruppe entschied sich, einen Lösungsvorschlag für die Infrastruktur auszuarbeiten, da diese ein Schlüsselfaktor in der städtischen Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und Attraktivität ist. Der Aspekt der Attraktivität spielt eine besondere Rolle, denn was passiert wenn mehr als 50 Prozent der Bevölkerung in den Städten lebt, sich aber niemand wohl fühlt, oder im schlimmsten Fall aufgrund der Luftverschmutzung erkrankt? In China sterben jährlich rund 1,4 Millionen Menschen aufgrund der Schadstoffbelastung in der Luft, die in den chinesischen Metropolen wie beispielsweise Peking sehr hoch ist. Eine Studie des Max-Planck-Instituts für Chemie geht davon aus, dass 2050, wenn 6,4 Milliarden Menschen in Großstädten leben werden, in Süd- und Ostasien doppelt so viele Menschen an den Folgen der Luftverschmutzung sterben werden wie heute.
Im Übrigen profitieren die Städte von einer Verbesserung der Infrastruktur, denn ein leichter Zugang zu der Stadt steigert die Attraktivität in den Augen von Firmen. Dies bedeutet wiederum, dass mehr Arbeitsplätze zur Verfügung stehen und die Lebensqualität der Bewohner steigt. Die Ansiedlung von Firmen erhöht zudem die Steuereinnahmen der Stadt, welche reinvestiert werden können und somit das urbane Leben verbessern.
Wir entschieden uns deshalb für einen Lösungsvorschlag, der die Attraktivität des öffentlichen Personennahverkehrs ansteigen und den Anteil am Individualverkehr sinken lässt.
Als wir während der Recherche auf die brasilianische Stadt Curitiba stießen, war das Grundkonzept des Lösungsvorschlags geboren. Der Bürgermeister Jaime Lerner begann in den 1960er-Jahren das bisherige System der Stadt von Grund auf zu verändern und heute ist Curitiba mit 52 m2 Grünfläche pro Person die grünste Stadt der Welt. Besser bekannt ist sie allerdings für das ebenfalls von Jaime Lerner entwickelte „bus rapid transit system“ (BRT). Bei mehr als 70 Prozent aller Fahrten der knapp 1,8 Millionen Einwohner wird das Bussystem genutzt, was die Kohlenstoffdioxidemissionen der Stadt auf 25 Prozent des brasilianischen Durchschnitts gesenkt hat. Das „bus rapid transit system“ wurde entwickelt, da der Bau einer U-Bahn 100 Mal so viel gekostet hätte. Stattdessen beließ Lerner es bei dem Straßenverkehr, änderte jedoch dessen Aufbau: Es gibt jeweils zwei Fahrbahnen, die in und aus der Stadt führen. Jedoch ist beidseitig eine dieser beiden Fahrbahnen ausschließlich für Busse vorgesehen.
Außerdem zeichnet sich Lerners System durch die hohe Transportfrequenz aus. Die Busse fahren in der Rushhour teilweise minütlich, halten durchschnittlich aber nur 15-19 Sekunden pro Haltestelle. Dies lässt sich dadurch erklären, dass die Bushaltestellen und somit das Einsteigen optimiert wurden. Außerdem entstehen keine Verzögerungen durch Verkehrsstockungen, da eine Spur ausschließlich den Bussen vorbehalten ist. Auf diese Art und Weise können täglich 2,3 Millionen Menschen befördert werden.
Die Haltstellen sind röhrenförmig und können ausschließlich von Passagieren, die ein gültiges Ticket besitzen, durch eine Schranke betreten werden. Es findet kein Verkauf von Fahrkarten im Bus statt und die Weiterfahrt verzögert sich nicht. Zudem sind sowohl die Haltstellen, als auch die Busse mit extra breiten Schiebetüren ausgestattet, die das Einsteigen vereinfachen.
Wenn die Bevölkerungszahl in den Städten steigt, gilt es, möglichst effizient viele Menschen zu befördern. Das curitibanische System ist beispielsweise auch auf deutsche Städte ohne U-Bahn-System anwendbar und benötigt größtenteils keine aufwändigen Straßenbauarbeiten, wie z.B. die Verbreiterung von Straßen.
Unser Entwurf schlägt Folgendes vor: Die Bewohner der Vorstädte fahren, im besten Fall in Fahrgemeinschaften, nur bis zu einer großen Parkfläche mit mehreren Zugangsstraßen am Rande der Stadt. Von dort aus fahren dann Buslinien in die Stadt. Die Bewohner der Innenstadt suchen, wie gewohnt, eine Bushaltestelle auf, die sich jedoch von den uns bekannten Haltestellen unterscheidet und dem erprobten System Curitibas ähnelt.
Demnach ist es wichtig, die Zeitpläne an die gängigen Arbeitszeiten anzupassen, um Wartezeiten zu vermeiden und den öffentlichen Personennahverkehr attraktiver zu gestalten. Es wäre sinnvoll, möglichst viele Innovationen aus Curitiba nach und nach auf die deutsche Infrastruktur anzuwenden.
Im optimalen Fall sollten die Städte außerdem in Elektrobusse bzw. Busse mit Hybridantrieb investieren, da diese klimafreundlicher sind und den öffentlichen Personennahverkehr weiter verbessern würden.
Des Weiteren bieten Kreisverkehre mit zwei Fahrspuren viele Vorteile, denn sie sind kostengünstiger als Ampeln, es gibt weniger Stagnation im Verkehr, woraus wiederum eine Lärmreduzierung resultiert, und sie bieten die Möglichkeit zur Anlegung von Grünflächen.
Solche Umstrukturierungen der Stadt könnten beispielsweise durch eine Steuer auf fossile Brennstoffe oder eine Staugebühr für besonders klimaschädliche Fahrzeuge teilfinanziert werden und würden gleichzeitig die Attraktivität des Individualverkehrs senken.
Die Einführung einer Citymaut, die zum Beispiel in London sehr erfolgreich funktioniert, wäre ebenfalls auf mehreren Ebenen sinnvoll: Zum einen würde sie die Luftqualität, den Verkehrsfluss und somit die Lebensqualität verbessern. Zum anderen könnten die Einnahmen in die Verbesserung und in den Ausbau von Straßen investiert werden.
Unser wichtigster Lösungsvorschlag ist ein Bonussystem für Bustickets, welches auch ohne den Umbau von Städten angewandt werden kann. Dieses System funktioniert wie folgt:
Außerdem könnte man den Gebrauch des öffentlichen Personennahverkehrs mit den Radstationen, die inzwischen in vielen Großstädten verfügbar sind, verbinden. Das Bonussystem würde auch bei der Nutzung von Fahrrädern funktionieren: Bevor man das Fahrrad aus der Schutzhalterung entfernt, registriert eine Maschine das Monatsticket. Wird das ausgeliehene Fahrrad, egal an welcher Station, zurückgebracht, werden je nach Dauer dem Benutzerkonto erneut Bonuspunkte gutgeschrieben.
Selbstverständlich ist es ein schwieriger Prozess, die Bevölkerung komplett von der Nutzung des öffentlichen Personennahverkehrs zu überzeugen. Die Überzeugung muss definitiv mit der Aufklärung der Bevölkerung über den Klimawandel, aber auch über die Prognosen der urbanen Entwicklung, einhergehen.
Unser Lösungsvorschlag, ein Bonussystem für den öffentlichen Personennahverkehr zu kreieren, soll die Lebensqualität in den Städten deutlich verbessern. Denn die Lebensqualität ist der wichtigste Aspekt der urbanen Entwicklung, da 2050 mehr als die Hälfte der weltweiten Bevölkerung in Städten leben wird. Auf diese Entwicklung muss die Politik vorbereitet sein und entsprechende Maßnahmen müssen getroffen werden, sodass die Prognose über mehr als vier Millionen tote Süd- und Ostasiaten im Jahr 2050 aufgrund von Luftverschmutzung nicht zur Realität wird.
Das Bonussystem soll die Bevölkerung von den Vorteilen der öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel überzeugen und sie anschießend daran binden.
Macomber, John D. (2013); “Building Sustainable Cities”; Harvard Business Review; July-August 2013 Issue
Singham, Shanker A. (2014); “The Promise of Enterprise Cities”; Center for International Private Enterprise, Economic Reform Feature Service; 30.06.2014
United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015); “World Urbanization Prospects – The 2014 Revision”; United Nations, New York, 2015
United Nations (2014); „World’s population increasingly urban with more than half livimg in urban areas.” World Urbanisation Perspectives; United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs; 10.07.2014
United Nations Population Fund; „Urbanization“
Barth, Brian (2014); “Will The World Cup Bring More Visibility to the Greenest City in the World?”; inhabitat; 07.03.2014
Lubow, Arthur (2007); „The Road to Curitiba“; The New York Times Magazine; 20.05.2007
Ober, Marcel (2015); „Immer mehr Tote durch Luftverschmutzung“; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; 16.09.2015
Eine Lösungsidee der Anne-Frank-Schule Bargteheide
Beteiligte: Julian Otto, Jannik Kalkmann, Lennard Duszynski, Lasse-Fynn Lucht, Malte Bustorf, Julia Heimburger, Noa Maya Sinai, Zaya Beday, Catherina-Sophie Härke, Pia Shaalen Poehls, Finn Kappus
Verantwortliche Lehrkraft: Barbara Dierks
Introduction – Food security- a global problem
A prognosis of the United Nations states that in 2050 9.6 billion people are going to live on this planet – 2.2 billion more people than today. How are we supposed to feed everyone in the future if the demand for food doubles and already 795 million people hunger nowadays?
An important factor in securing the food of the world’s population is developing sustainable farming methods. We focused on two different countries, Kenya and India which are both probably going to be food insecure due to population growth and malnutrition.
45.01 million people are living in Kenya and the population grows by a rate of 2.11 percent a year. The population growth is the first challenge for the government because it requires an increase in the agricultural production to secure the food of their own population in the future. Kenya has generally a very low agricultural potential. Only 16 percent of the arable land has suitable soil. The resources are limited. In the past, Kenya had to handle poor harvests. An example is the staple food maize, which had a crop loss of 60 percent in the past. An important reason for that are the consequences of climate change – the third challenge we are facing. It poses a serious threat to agriculture and food security. Temperatures will rise. The climate change outlook for the 21st century predicts more intense and frequent droughts. That is why the amount of barren soils and the damages through erosion keeps increasing. Furthermore, there is no equitable delivery of water in Kenya because only ⅔ of the country receives less than 500 mm rain annually. Often Kenyan farmers lost their harvests because of pests and diseases, too. In Kenya maize is mostly stricken by the witch weed, which infects 40 percent of the arable land in Africa’s savanna and the stemborer, which destroys 20-40 percent of Africa’s maize harvest.
Since there are different circumstances in many regions and countries, we also specialized on the rice cultivation in the newly industrializing country India. India’s government has been proud of the “Green Revolution” for 50 years and supports the farmers with pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically manipulated seeds. The reason for this is partly the research of genfood and the intensive lobbying of the seed corporations who extract advantages of the artificial cultivation. Consequently, many farmers think that the use of pesticides and chemicals is the best solution for high crop yields. However, the use of chemicals and GM technology is not the best solution and especially not the most sustainable one. Often, farmers do not get better harvests when using GM technology. Furthermore, it can make the soil barren on a long term basis and possibly causes diseases. So farming methods for rice have to be developed, financed and locally adapted which preferably go without artificial techniques but still achieve high crop yields. Also farmers and the government have to be convinced of these methods.
To sum up, the major difficulty is to secure the food of the population in due consideration of the natural geographical requirements, the demographical development and the resistance of the government and seed corporations. It should be the aim of the farming methods to enable the future generation to survive in their own country – the vision of sustainability.
Push and Pull technology- a step to sustainable agriculture
A rise of the agricultural productivity is important to reduce hunger and poverty in the world. We focused on the economical and sustainable farming method Push and Pull for the staple food maize in Kenya. This technology is a farming method to fight pests and weed by the Desmodium plant and the Napier grass in a biological way and to improve the soil quality. But is this farming method able to contribute to the food security of the world population?
The Push and Pull technology makes chemical fertilizer redundant. Often Kenyan farmers lost their harvest because of pests and diseases. That is why the use of insecticides is inevitable. But the Push and Pull technology is a biological pest control. On the one hand, Desmodium, which is planted among the maize field, deters the pests and annihilates the weed due to its smell. On the other hand, the Napier grass planted around the maize attracts the pest. The Napier grass secretes a sticky gum which traps the stemborers and ends their lifecycle. The result: healthy harvest without the use of any pesticides.
The asset costs hinder the implementation of the Push–Pull technology. Desmodium seeds are very expensive. Farmers need 1 kg per acre, which costs 30$. Because most farmers in Kenya are peasants with a low income, they cannot afford this input. However, microcredits, as well as the support of development aid, can solve this financing problem. Furthermore, the plants remain after the harvests, so the farmers have to invest only once. In addition, the farmers can harvest the seeds and sell them for an equivalent of 6.50 € per kilo: another source of income.
The Push and Pull technology provides constant harvests without additional artificial fertilizers. Even though agricultural fertilizers increase the harvests, they are the reason for rising pollution and the eutrophication of water. The Push and Pull method improves the soil fertility without the use of any fertilizers. Desmodium seeds raise the nutrient, moisture and nitrogen content of the soil. Therefore the maize yields double and there is a better quality of the harvests. East Africa is an example, where 40 000 low-income farmers have profited from the Push and Pull technology by now.
But the inadequate educational achievement of the farmers hinders the spread of the Push and Pull technology. Insufficient knowledge about sustainable agriculture is an important problem. Even though since 2002 compulsory education has been introduced, subsequent professional education is too expensive. How should the right application of the technology be spread? A project of the ICIPE (African Insect Science for Food and Health) in Kenya for the establishment of farming schools reveals that it is possible. There are trained volunteers from different villages who teach the correct implementation of the Push and Pull technology. Furthermore there are already some Push-Pull-Gardens where the application is explained. Additionally flyers could be handed out.
The climate has no influence on the success of the Push and Pull technology. Because of the climate change the temperatures are rising and consequently the number of droughts keeps increasing. The quality of soil is deteriorating. The system of the Push and Pull technology is adaptable to the climate change. The Desmodium plant is very heat tolerant. Also there is the opportunity to use the Brachiara plant, which is heat tolerant as well and does not require much water, to replace the Napier grass. Combined, both plants protect fragile soils. Besides, part of the Desmodium plant and Napier grass can be used as livestock fodder in case other food sources dehydrate because of droughts. Another consequence of the climate change is unreliable rainfall. The shadow of the plants helps to reduce evaporation.
System of Rice Intensification (SRI) – raise of the crop yields with less input
In addition we had a look at rice cultivation in India. There is a farming method that does not require chemicals and still provides higher yields: The “System of Rice Intensification” short “SRI”.
For SRI the sprouts are sowed after 8 to 12 days with a distance of at least 25 centimeters. In this way, the roots have more space to spread and the soil is kept moist. In 2012, the Indian rice farmer Sumant Kuman harvested 22 tons of rice per hectare which is an acknowledged world record. This is an absolute exception. With the traditional method farmers usually harvest 2.6 tons per hectare. Depending on the local conditions the farmers can harvest four tons or more with SRI. The most important advantage is that they need less to harvest more. The farmers need less seeds, less water, no chemicals or GM technology and still harvest more. There are no negative side effects, neither for the environment nor for the harvests nor for the rice. Furthermore the SRI method can be adapted to the local conditions, for example by using biological fertilizer for nutrient poor soils.
However, the weed has to be pulled out, which makes this method more labor intensive than the conventional one. That is why many farmers might shy away from implementing this method. To lessen the labour intensiveness of SRI, we think that higher investments in the advancement of the SRI technology should be made and less into the research of genetically modified plants.
In order to be able to harvest successfully for a long time with the System of Rice Intensification, farmers have to be taught how to do it. There are many options. For example, there are many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved in several parts of India which are well prepared to teach the farmers locally adapted methods of SRI. The government should support the NGOs with work force and subsidies. Farmers already using SRI can serve as multiplicators to teach other farmers. Also German organizations and/ or the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development should support the dissemination of SRI in India.
From the point of view of the seed corporations a total change to SRI would be a huge loss, because the farmers would need less seeds and the demand would decrease. Therefore, big companies do a lot of lobbying and that is also the reason why the government supports the GM technology and chemicals. Pressure should be put onto those companies, for example by cancelling subsidies. Furthermore, the Indian Government has to be convinced of the SRI method. In our opinion, the relationship between Germany and India is good enough such that Germany can convince the Indian government to use less GM technology and to invest in sustainable cultivation.
While working on SRI we came across the danger of overproduction. Even though this isn’t part of our topic, we want to deal with this concern. Over production exists when supply exceeds demand. This leads to waste and a big drop in prices, which benefits the consumer but is perilous for the farmers. We think that this is a minor concern for rice since the demand for this product is huge. If over production occurs, it means that the demand is met and everyone is adequately supplied with food. If there still happened to be over production, farmers could keep the rice for their own use or store it long-term because rice is no perishable food. In our opinion the fear of over production is no reason for not switching to SRI.
Food security through individual cultivation methods
Food security through more intense crop production is guaranteed in an agroecological and sustainable way if the respective conditions of countries and of the crops are considered, as we proved for the Push and Pull method in Kenya and the System of Rice Intensification in India.
Summarizing, both methods make the agricultural system more sustainable and reliable. These methods increase crop yields and thus contribute to covering the growing demand for food. At the same time, they increase the farmers’ income. Accordingly, the goals are to encourage cooperation between farmers and NGOs, to spread the technologies and to develop them further.
This solution will be key to secure food in the future.
Barah, B.C. (2009); “Economic and Ecological Benefits of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Tamil Nadu”; Agricultural Economics Research Review; Vol. 22 July-December 2009, pp 209-214
Birthal, Pratap S., Md. Tajuddin Khan, Digvijay S. Negi, Shaily Agarwal (2014); “Impact of Climate Change on Yields of Major Food Crops in India: Implications for Food Security”; Agricultural Economics Research Review; Vol 27 (No.2); July-December 2014, pp. 145-155
Bruinsma, Jelle (2009); “The Resource Outlook to 2050: By How Much Do Land, Water and Crop Yields Need To Increase By 2050?”; Expert Meeting on How to Feed the World in 2050; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Economic and Social Development Department; 24-26.06.2009
Chand, Smriti; “Maize Cultivation: Suitable Geographical Conditions Required for Maize Cultivation”; Your Article Library
Gregory, Peter J; Timothy S. George (2011); “Feeding nine billion: the challenge to sustainable crop production”; Journal of Experimental Botany (2011); 12.08.2011
Hammond, Edward (2010); “Kenya overcomes pests and weeds with ecological solutions”; Solutions, published in 2010
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/planet-2/report/2010/1/kenya-overcomes-pests-and-weed.pdf (access: 01.09.2015)
Ray, Deepak K., Jonathan A. Foley (2013); “Increasing global crop harvest frequency: recent trends and future directions”; Environmental Research Letters, 8 (2013)
Sainath, P. (2013); “Over 2,000 fewer farmers every day”; The Hindu, 02.05.2013
Songporne Tongruksawattana (2013); “Adaptation to climate change under poverty, food security and gender perspective of rural maize –legume farmers in Kenya”; Invited paper presented at the 4th International Conference of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, September 22- 25, 2013, Hammamet, Tunisia
Tilman, David, Christian Balzer, Jason Hill, Belinda L. Befort (2011); “Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture”; PNAS; 12.10.2011
Vidal, John (2013); “Ein Körnchen Wahrheit”; Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin; 20/2013
Welsing, Anne (2013); “Mit Abstand am besten”; Natur 01/13, S.69-73
Zabel, Florian, Brigitta Putzenlechner, Wolfram Mauser (2014); “Global Agricultural Land Resources – A High Resolution Sustainability Evaluation and Its Perspectives until 2100 under Climate Change Conditions”; PLOS One
Bahemuka, J.M.; “Food Security in Kenya”
http://www.mcgill.ca/files/globalfoodsecurity/JMBahemuka_FoodSecurityInKenya.pdf (access: 28.08.2015)
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; SRI International Network and Resources Center
FAO GIEWS Country Brief (2015); “Kenya”; GIEWS Country Briefs; 01.06 2015
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
Kenyabrussels; “Kenya’s Agricultural Produce”
(access: 28.08.2015 )
Öko-Fair/ Anbau und Verarbeitung
Push-Pull: A novel farming system for ending hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa
SOS-Kinderdörfer; „Armut in Indien: Zahlen und Fakten zum täglichen Kampf ums Überleben“
Reishunger/ Wissen/ Anbau
Norman Uphoff (private E-Mails im August, September, October 2015)
Willem Stoop, Agriculture Economist und Soil Scientist (private E-Mails in September 2015)
Eine Lösungsidee des Gymnasium Altenholz
Beteiligte: Moana Langkabel, Jaqueline Wohlert; Lisa Groth, Liv Christin Hoffmann, Katharina Wunderlich, Maximilian Meinicke, Joshua Zavazava, Hauke Lehna, Ann-Kathrin Scheffler, Piet Ankermann, Rico Röwe
Verantwortliche Lehrkraft: Christine Stender
“The happy and powerful do not go into exile, and there are no surer guarantees of equality among men than poverty and misfortune.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America“)
This quote is most relevant today. The German government correctly predicted that 800.000 people will have applied for asylum in Germany by the end of 2015, according to the journal “Der Spiegel”. These are four times as many people as in the year before.
If we take a look at the European scale, there were 626.000 asylum applicants in the European Union in 2014. This means that Germany alone will have welcomed around 200.000 more people by the end of 2015 than the whole of the European Union welcomed in 2014.
This stream does not seem to break off in the near future. At the end of 2015 even German troops were sent into the region of crisis to support the fight against the IS along France and the USA. Especially out of the Middle East and the northern African countries the war and conflicts force people to flee towards Europe.
Which perspective are we taking?
Overall the topic suggests a European perspective. If somebody is knocking onto our doors from the outside, we are obviously inside. And it is only from an inside perspective that we are talking about “immigration” instead of “migration”.
However, if we are to tackle a problem that has a global, or at least inter-continental scale (including Europe, Africa and west Asia), we have to adapt our perception to the other side as well. Therefore, we have decided quite early on in our project that we have to look at both migrants and hosts alike. This also means that we are not going to talk about “immigration” in the following, but about “migration” in general.
How can we define “irregular immigration”?
The term “irregular migrants” is used for people staying without the necessary residence permit and without a formal statutory temporary suspension in a country of which they are not citizens. These might be children without residence permit, unemployed foreign nationals without residence permit, but also workers in unregistered, partly illegal jobs.
Irregular migrants frequently come from countries in which human rights violations or poor economic conditions cause people to emigrate, from countries with a significantly lower level of income or from countries with established historical or current ties with the receiving country. The same reasons for migrating are found among both irregular and regular migrants: the search for protection from persecution, or fear of returning to an area of war or catastrophe as well as economic circumstances, educational opportunities and family connections. Typically, young adults are over-proportionally represented among irregular migrants.
What can a coherent response look like?
In order to be able to provide a coherent response, we will examine three different approaches to it in the following: First we are going to have a look at politics, then at science and finally suggest a third, modified approach.
a. Political approach to a “coherent response”
Amongst the general public and politicians, the irregular migration to Europe is associated with a large number of fears:
As a result, solutions from political institutions mostly involve legal restrictions, increasing amounts of money spent on the military and police forces to protect borders, and a general policy of rejection. After much argument, EU leaders agreed to triple the funding of Frontex to some 120 million € in April, according to the BBC.
The problem with this is that European politicians can only agree on a policy of rejection. This obviously cannot help them in a situation where border controls and restrictions do not work any longer. When it comes to a unified supportive approach, it seems increasingly impossible to respond to the challenges with one coherent strategy.
b. Scientific approach to a “coherent response”
We did scientific research on the topic and talked to scientists from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy afterwards. In this discussion it became clear to us that there is no coherent solution among scientists, yet, and it also seems to be difficult to achieve one in the near future. The reasons for people to leave their home countries are diverse, and since irregular migrants are often not registered in their destination countries, it is difficult to come up with a clear definition of “irregular immigrants” or to count the numbers. So there does not seem to be a foundation on which to build a coherent response in scientific terms, either.
The rejection of both the political and the scientific approach made us realize that we needed to find our own unique coherent response. In addition the conversation, we have had with Stefan Schmidt, commissioner for refugees, asylum and immigration issues of the Land Schleswig-Holstein, opened our eyes to the fact that a coherent response, at its core, can only be a truly humanitarian one.
Results of the introduction
A coherent response does exist yet, neither in politics nor in science.
In our response, we would like to consider both perspectives, the migrants’ and the hosts’, and not only look at the problem from a European point of view. We would like to follow a humanitarian approach by the people for the people (bottom-up). We consider the basic problem of irregular migration and the violent reactions to it to be a lack of information on both sides. We would even go as far as saying: if there was not such an enormous information gap concerning immigration laws, required documents and the difficulties of finding a job, there would be a significant decrease in the number of irregular migrants.
Consequently, we think a coherent response to irregular migration and its daunting consequences should come about in form of a web portal – Portal Europe.
II. Main Part
There are two groups this website is reaching out for and trying to connect: On the one hand, there are potential migrants, and on the other hand, there are potential hosts who can be subdivided into opposing and helping people.
Target group: Migrants
During our research, we found out that the majority of migrants – especially those who resort to irregular immigration – are young men, mainly under the age of 25. Firstly, that is caused by the hope that the young men are more likely to survive the struggles of the journey than other family members. Secondly, they are more likely to earn enough money so that their family can follow them.
Therefore, reaching these men is one of our goals. According to our experiences with the Arab Spring or Arabellion we assume that these young men are able to get internet access. Since the people coming to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean Sea pay up to 4000 € for their life-threatening journey, we have concluded that these people are not among the poorest in their home states. So there is a fair chance that this specific group of migrants might own a computer at home, a smart phone or at least might have occasional access through an internet café. For the purpose of information it already suffices that one family member can provide this to all his family members or to a group of friends.
However, our target group is not restricted to this group of young men. We would like to reach potential migrants from a number of countries on a broad scale.
Target group: Hosts
As an information centre, our website is also interesting for host countries, but people in these countries might need information of a different nature. There are two main groups that can be identified: The people strongly opposing immigration to their countries as well as the people who are willing to help migrants. Let us turn to the ones opposing migration first.
Many countries which are having problems with radicals and racists have a low number of diversity of cultures or are trailing behind with integration. For example: the regions in Germany where the most protest against migrants is taking place and where right-winged extremism is the strongest, are statistically also the regions with the smallest number of migrants. We want to reach people of these regions with our website. We try to inform them in terms of the bitter fate of migrants and to make them sensible for the fact, that migrants are as much human as themselves. We are not only giving information, but are also telling stories through forums, which are supposed to reach those people in host countries, who might not be tangible by facts, but by emotions. In addition to this, the web portal will also provide geographical, political, economic and cultural facts on the home countries of the migrants.
As to the helpers, they might wish to get some information on the situation in the home countries, on the legislation process in Germany and on events they might want to participate in or offer their help.
Which information should the web portal contain?
Overall, the web portal contains the following information for migrants:
As we speak about the information the website contains for the hosts, there is no guarantee that we can reach people who strongly oppose immigration with our web portal. However, if there is a spark of interest left, the web portal should provide information on the home countries of migrants, the often disastrous humanitarian, political or economic situation as well as some cultural or otherwise interesting information in order to fight ignorance.
The other group, the helpers, would obviously benefit from this cultural information, too. In addition to this, they might wish to know about upcoming events or get in touch with migrants through the forum.
In our introduction, we have already mentioned that there is a strong need for a coherent response. It is coherence what is missing when you are looking for information on migrating to Europe online. The websites we have looked at so far contain very important information, but they only tackle partial aspects of the topic, they are mere fragments of the bigger picture we would like to provide.
Whose support and work will we need to realize our idea?
In order to set up a web portal like this, we need the support of the following groups of people:
We contacted software companies and translation agencies for offers, but most of them never got back to us. This means it is impossible for us at this stage to give you exact numbers of how expensive such a web portal will be.
In addition, we will have to rent an external server, which costs about 300 € per month. This server should be stationed somewhere in Germany for reasons of privacy protection and safety standards such as daily backups and emergency backup generators. The nearest possibility is in Hamburg-Norderstedt. Then we need a company to write the required software and do the programming for us. Depending on the company we hire, the minimum costs for this service are 5000 €.
How can we get the money we need?
a. Crowd Funding
Crowd Funding is a way to show other people your idea and give them the opportunity to invest money in it. There are different kinds of crowdfunding websites. After looking around for a bit, we have found two that might fit our project
Many websites have a button where you can donate, it does not matter if it is for charity or a YouTube channel or tickets for a concert somebody wants to go to. So it is quite likely that we receive donations for a website that helps migrants.
c. European or government funds
If the European Commission or the Ministers of the Interior acknowledge the importance of this portal, it might be possible to receive funds for this project. This is certainly the most profitable source if our application is successful, but it will also take a long time and require a more detailed planning.
How can we bring our idea to the market?
For Europe, we have five main marketing concepts in mind: Advertisements in the media, getting linked and mentioned by partners, presentations, social networks and social movements comparable to the “ALS-Icebucketchallenge”. Every concept has its pros and cons.
The marketing for migrants who have not reached Europe, yet, turns out to be much more difficult. We have three concepts in mind to reach them: spread the idea through social contacts by handing out flyers in refugee camps for example, get in contact with migrants still in Europe and support projects for refugees.
We are of course also aware of flaws or drawbacks that might arise. Due to our time limit, we have not been able to solve all arising problems, yet. Maybe a few self-critical thoughts might show that we are a little more realistic than it might have come across:
Target-Group: We could not find reliable numbers on the question how many people planning to leave their country actually have access to the internet. We are aware of the fact that regimes, like the ones in Syria and also in Libya, will try everything to prevent people from accessing the Internet, especially because it was a powerful tool for the people during the Arab Spring. We are aware of the fact that we might not be able to reach the people who might need it the most. However, we still hope that these people have a friend or relative who could help them get access or get to the most important information they need.
Finance: It is impossible for us at this stage to give exact numbers of how expensive such a web portal will be. We can only estimate how much our website Portal Europe might costs to set up.
Nevertheless, we are convinced that this web portal can offer a coherent response to irregular migration. It will to some extent also reduce irregular migration due to the fact that more people will know what is expecting them, what is expected of them and where they can turn to for support of any kind.
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