Germany may not have been the first to initiate these green and environmentally clean power sources but on the eve of the industrial revolution they were there to lead in innovation. An example is the mill pictured above where two sources of power are tapped so either wind or water will keep production dependable.
In the above photo, John and Jane Grimsrud enjoy the world’s best bicycling with their novel Dahon folding bicycles that fit perfectly with Germany’s extensive well marked paved bicycle paths. Buses, trains, airplanes and even the ferry boats are bicycle friendly here.
Bicycles are a way of life here, children ride to school, and adults go to work and shopping, tourist’s vacation cross country staying at bed and bike hotels. This goes on year round in sun or snow.
The busy and sill active Dortmund Ems Canal connects the German industrial heartland with the North Sea Port of Emden. Most of these interconnected canals that crisscross Europe have lovely bicycle paths with numerous covered shelters and plenty of accommodations.
The monumental effort required to complete this European canal system must rank with the wonders of the world for human engineering and effort.
Initially the canal traffic was moved by beasts of burden plodding along a tow path, next steam engines did the work.
Nordhorn is still a city of canals but its heavy industry no longer exists. Now this beautiful canal is silent except for the birds that have made it their seasonal home.
This incredibly beautiful hardwood forest that flanks the border is now quietly enjoyed by bicyclers. They glide silently beneath the towering shade trees on the bike paths stopping along the way at the numerous covered picnic tables like the one you see above.
Another interesting thing in most of Europe is that all school children are given unrestricted free public transportation. They do however prefer their bicycles.
This photo is taken at a grocery store where you can see that bicycling clients have top parking priority.
Also in the above photos notice the cleanliness that is the German standard.
Enercon the German company that designs, manufactures, and installs these non-smoking colossal wind generators that make life here cleaner and better has an impressive track record. In the past ten years they have more than quadrupled the clean electrical power they are providing, and are on track to meet their goal of supplying twenty-five percent of Germany’s electrical power requirements with wind alone.
In the above photo you can get a perspective of the size of these wind powered generators when compared to Jane on her bicycle.
Solen Energy Company at nearby Meppen, Germany, is the manufacturer, distributor, and installer of nearly all of these photovoltaic panels, but BP, Shell Oil and Sharp Electronics have also been major players in this green revolution. The above private home is a good example of how the people with government incentives have made a positive impact in leading the world in clean living.
In the back-ground is a wind farm also cleanly producing more electrical power.
Believe it or not, but Nordhorn, Germany, even has a solar powered excursion boat that gives canal tours.
Here at these northern latitudes solar heated water systems in homes are very common and becoming more popular all the time.
Most all grocery stores also have automated bottle returns for bottles with deposit. You put your bottles in one at a time, they are scanned, and when you are done, press a button and the machine then prints out an itemized credit slip that you turn in at the check-out. The American Woman’s Club of Cologne (Köln) has done an outstanding job of chronicling Germany’s world class recycling program, click this link: http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/recycling.html
Compostable garden material is not picked up and must be taken to the municipal disposal center. The upside of this is that the city then does the complete composting process and homeowners are welcome to then pick up as much fully composted material as they want at no charge. In other words, the city composts, stores and makes available as much as you want when you want it.
The plastic bags with draw-strings are for recyclable plastics disposal and are given out free of charge at the grocery stores.
Many public park benches and tables are made from re-cycled plastic, from the unwanted garbage to something beautiful and useful.
READ: Part 2, Germany Clean and Green - Compost and Recycling
©2010 John M. Grimsrud