This year’s German Santa Claus had a big present for Freiburg in his sack: on December 6th the City of Freiburg was awarded the most sustainable city in Germany.
The award, which was given since 2008 every year to private enterprises and personalities engaged in sustainability, was this year extended by three categories of large, middle and small sized municipalities. Freiburg won in the category of large cities successfully competing against Augsburg and Leipzig. The argument of the jury of 16 experts was that Freiburg has since many years rooted aspects and principles of sustainability in both their administrational practice as well as the civil society. Green party Lord Mayor Dieter Salomon states that he often feels literally pushed by its citizens. It’s the same old green tautology we are already more than familiar with but that seems to work anyway.
Most sustainable enterprise is Bochum based GLS Bank, among the most sustainable products is Procter & Gamble’s Baby Pampers. The award is an initiative of the German Foundation Sustainability Award (Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e. V.) cooperating with the German National Government, the German UNESCO commission, several research institutions as well as some NGOs. Among the jury is conservative politician Klaus Töpfer, member of the Christian Democratic Party CDU. Since he was the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP in 1998, Klaus Töpfer is considered the German human reincarnation of the environment an sustainability. It is not really surprising that some of his old fellow party members are joining the jury, such as Ole von Beust (Lord Mayor of Hamburg between 2001-2011) and Petra Roth (Lord Mayor of Frankfurt am Main between 1995-2012), both well known for several political programs they’ve run in their cities during their governments, however, not really for a greater awareness of sustainability. Sustainability seems to be a hobby for retired politicians; it’s the political equivalent to playing Golf or Polo.
Interestingly, while Freiburg’s Salomon thankfully regarded the citizen’s as the promotors for his green politics, he seems to forget that it was us citizens who protested on November 11th against his own housing policies and resulting for this, increasing rents in Freiburg. It is particularly the housing sector to which all refer to when applauding for Freiburg’s green strategy. SM