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 March 2009 - Nr. 3
The edior: Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

Dear Reader

If the old rules of the Farmer’s Almanac are true then March will go out like a lamb, since the month roared in with winter.

Are you surprised that I am starting with such a platitude? You should not be, because everywhere we go, you and I, there is only talk of two things: The weather and the economy, and we are down on both those subjects. There are also only two different points of view: It will either get better or it will get worse. That might be, but I refuse to get stuck in the negative side of things, yet do realize the need to consult reality, without being ruled by it in a way that excludes positive thinking and proactive involvement.

A touch of springIn regards to the weather we can only say that it will do whatever it will do without our immediate influence being able to change anything drastically that can be seen right away. Changing the weather will have to be a long haul project, starting of course right now by preserving our energies and by polluting this planet less. Results will only been seen much later.

What I cannot believe is that there are nay sayers in regards to the global warming facts. Comments like: "Have you seen the temperatures lately, even in places that did not have winter in ages?" is only showing that someone does not understand that even that, the extreme weather conditions, are a sign of global warming.

By not polluting the planet with things we really do not need in the first place, or the leftovers thereof, we also help ourselves to a better economy in the long run; that is if we stop buying things we cannot afford.

That brings us to the way the world does business, an economy which is not longer based on real need (demand) and real supply, but purely on speculation and manipulation. While stock markets keep losing, we ask what…inflated expectations, none existing commodities and so on, numbers on a ticker tape have the power to throw people into despair and poverty.

All this makes for opportunities of different kinds. People are looking back to older systems of exchange, namely that of barter and immediately someone asks: Is that legal? No doubt the government will miss the revenue in taxes and thus the wrangling starts.

If people would barter and not consult an accountant at every turn, remember those consulting guys that contributed to the downfall of the financial system, the whole economy might be in better health. I believe on the whole people have good instincts, but when they ask the so called experts they are often led astray by vested interests. Common sense is often smarter. But it is also human nature to spend more than one has and wanting more than one can afford. So there are lessons to be learned and disciplines to be exercised if we want to get through this better than can be expected if we do not change our ways.

The older generations who have been through lean times will adapt much easier, however, the have– and must-have-generations might not do as well and should listen to their elders carefully for lessons learned a long time ago, when the going was tough and the tough kept going. Whining did not get them anywhere, but tightening the belt and rolling up their sleeves certainly did. Playing closer to home does not hurt, and that means producing and consuming local products. Doing that has nothing to do with protectionism.

Last, but not least I wanted to remark on the fact that there is a new atmosphere among people, a more tolerant one, also in our country. More of us look into each other’s eyes and smile openly, not in a guarded way. Is it Obamaism or has it sunk in that in hard times we need each other more than ever before, and does that bring out the best in people?

I hope the luck of the Irish will drop a charm on us all and we will weather the weather and the economy just fine.

Happy St, Patrick’s Day!

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.

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