An interview about the environment

This is an interview with one of our teachers, here at our school in Bochum. His name is Mr Stratmann-Mertens. He was one of the founders of the party Die Grünen, a party which is mainly interested in the environment and its protection. In the 1980s he was a member of federal parliament.

What do you think of spontaneously when you hear the phrase environmental protection ? What are the most important aspects for you ?

First of all, I think that every single person has a responsibility for our environment. Of course, also the government, but I think everybody should start with him- or herself. There are many different possibilities to do it. For example: Is it really necessary to own a car ? And if so, do you really need to use it so often ? Maybe you should instead use the bicycle or the public transportation. Also we shouldn’t use a plane for the holidays. You can also visit foreign countries without flying.

However I think that many people only concentrate on incidentals like for example light consumption. I think the more important things just ”hurt” when you think of losing it.

Why are these aspects so important ?

The resources become more rarely with every year. Then there is the greenhouse effect and the huge CO2 emission. I think you should really deal with these main problems.

When did you start to deal with this topic ?

Well, in 1979-1980 I founded Die Grünen with some of my environmentally interested colleagues. I also learned many things during my time in this party.

Let’s talk about nuclear power. Do you see any advantages in the use of nuclear power stations ?

No, not really. Many people do say that nuclear power stations don’t produce so much CO2 and because of that they don’t contribute to the greenhouse effect. But this relative advantage are facing the major disadvantages of nuclear power.

What are the decisive disadvantages you see in it, when you represent your opinion, that the nuclear power stations should be turned off immediately ?

For me the most important argument is that at every time a so-called maximum credible accident could happen. The second reason for my opinion is that there is no final disposal for the nuclear waste. And here I think about the question: Why was such a project ever started, although there hadn’t been a solution to this problem.

What is the reason that many other European nations still hold on to the nuclear power ?

As I said before, they think that the environment isn’t harmed by them. They also say that it’s more cheap, but here is my criticism:

they don’t think of the costs for the waste and the costs of an possible maximum credible accident.

France and Great Britain use the radioactive material for their nuclear bombs.

Is the switch to regenerative energy at all financially possible, or has the government in your opinion already done too much ?

Actually Germany is a rich country, but where to get the money

from ? I suggest an ecological tax. That means, for example, if you raise the prices for a flight on a plane, people wouldn’t use a plane this often anymore and the environment would be spared and there would be more money for the switch.

Why do you think has only Fukushima led to a change in the nuclear politics ? Why not already Tschernobyl ?

The people’s thinking is very sluggish, so they thought Fukushima would be save. I think, for example, Angela Merkel thought so too. In the mass the people can only learn from tragedies. And after the accident from Fukushima there were again many demonstrations against nuclear power. These two aspects probably led to the change.

Third, it was the devastating electoral defeat of the ruling party CDU in Baden-Wurttemberg and the marvelous elctoral win of the anti-nuclear party Die Grünen – 14 days after Fukushima.

Do you think that it might be difficult for our country to switch over to regenerative energy ? Apart from the money.

The danger is that with the time the shock subsides and the fear disappears. Maybe we won’t have problems with nuclear power for 5-10 years and so the people are satisfied with nuclear power again. So it’s necessary to exit the nuclear power as soon as possible - and it would be possible until 2013.

With food, clothes or cosmetics ecological products are already very popular. Why is it so difficult to use ”environmentally friendly” cars ?

First of all there aren’t any environmentally friendly cars at all. Every car harms the environment. Secondly for many people they are to expensive; the people care about the prices, not about the environment. And mostly these cars are very small. Many people want at least a middle class car.

Does it really look so bad for the climate or is there a kind of climate hysteria ?

Definitely no! I think it’s very bad. There are damages amounting to billions because of the increasing number of tornadoes here in Germany. The people ”closed their eyes” for a long time now. They didn’t do anything of importance. They nearly understated the problems.

Thank you for your time !

Tabea Rauth und Svenja Kächele


Design Contest: Waste Paper Bins (Neues Gymnasium Bochum)

At the beginning of this term, the RRR Comenius group initiated a design contest for waste paper collection in the classrooms. The students were asked to use old cardboard boxes and to design them. In these boxes, waste paper can easily be collected in the classrooms. Naturally, the boxes can be reused as long as they are treated well ... And at the end of the term, they can be put into waste paper bins, too. So the three key words concerning the dealing with waste are found in the designed box: “reduce”, “reuse” and “recycle”.

The classes 6d and 6a won the competition because they convinced the student jury from the Comenius project even though it was a very difficult decision.

This contest was to bring also the younger students closer to important topics like the protection of our environment, which can be started easily with little things like recycling. The big participation of the classes shows that environment does matter to the students of the NGB. And there was another incentive: the winners got prizes from our school’s newly founded environment and recycling shop (you can buy reusable lunchboxes and bottles as well as eco-friendly exercise books there and we collect for example old printer cartridges and mobile phones).



Our trip to Barcelona

On Wednesday, the 30th March 2011, a small group of our Comenius – Project (three teachers : Mrs Kapella, Mr Schönberg and Mr Dienstbier ; four students : Anna Kropp, Lena Wegener, Svenja Kächele and Tabea Rauth) went by plane to Barcelona, Spain. The last international Comenius – meeting took place there.

When we arrived in Barcelona airport, we went by cab to the hotel, where our teachers stayed. There we met our host families and went to their homes.

The next day we had to get up very early, because we had to go to school ( Collegi Pare Manyanet ). There the English students and we had to present the work we did during the last months.

The English students had recorded a video about rubbish consumption and the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). After that we had to present. Although we were as nervous as anyone can be, our presentation went well.

The Spanish students presented something too of course.

When we were finished, we did a tour through the school. We realized that it is very different from our school and that also the teachers aren't as strict as in Germany.

One of the biggest differences is that the school also includes a kindergarten and a primary school. So there are kids aged from 3 years up to 18 years.

After our stay at school, we went with all the host students and the English students on a trip through the city.

We went to Sagrada Familia and from there down to the harbor. We saw a lot of things and a lot of people. It was interesting.

On Friday, the 1st April, we first went to school again and from there by bus to Eco Parc. We also have written a text about the visit.

After that we, the students, had lunch at a big shopping center. Then we traveled through Barcelona again and went shopping.

Sadly we had to leave the next day. We had to get up even earlier then before, because we had to catch our plane. So when we were back in Bochum, we all were very exhausted.

But anyway, the trip was a great experience and it was such fun.

Unfortunately our project will soon be over. Every student that worked on the project was lucky, that he or she got the chance to learn interesting facts about our environment and to meet people from different countries.

Tabea & Svenja


Our work on the Comenius - Project

In this text we want to tell you something about the work in our Comenius – Project.

Maybe we should first tell you why we decided to join this project:

We are interested in topics like climate change, environment and waste reduction. We want to make our school a bit more environmentally conscious and we want everybody to know and think about the problems that are mainly caused by the climate change.

When we started on the project, we were nearly 40 students from classes 7-11. First we had to build groups on different topics we wanted to work on, for example Waste reduction, Raising awareness and Cooperation.

Regularly, the members of Comenius meet and gather their results.

The Comenius – Project from our school also works together with a school in Wath, England and Barcelona, Spain. In connection to that, there were already some exchanges between the students from the different countries.

When the students from England and Spain visited Germany the last time, we went on a trip to a waste incineration plant in Essen. We already wrote a text about that visit. You can read it when you go on the link “Waste reduction” on the left.

Tabea & Svenja

Our trip to the waste incineration plant

On 25th November 2010 some students from Bochum and the guest students from Wath and Barcelona went on a trip to the waste incineration plant in Essen Carnap, together with six teachers (Mrs Bunuel and Mr Garriga from Barcelona, Mrs Chisholm and Mr Minshull from Wath and Mrs Biehl and Mr Schönberg from our school).

The plant is a very special one, that produces energy (heat and electricity) from waste!

When we arrived, we entered a conference room, where Mr Schliesser, an important person of the RWE concern, welcomed our group.

While we had some drinks and heated up ourselves with hot coffee, Mr Schliesser showed us a presentation about the plant and its work.

First he gave us some general information, for example that the waste management scheme serves 1.2 million people in the Ruhr-area (Gladbeck, Bottrop, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Mühlheim). That means, that the plant produces 1 kW of electricity per person per day 8.2 million people all in all 82 000 MW of electricity for everyone per day!!

We also learned something about the structure and the machines of the plant:

The highest part of the incineration plant is, obviously, the chimney. It is 200m high! There is also an electricity grind which is in charge for the northern part of Essen. The plant has also got a flue gas cleaning and an evaporating plant.

Overall, you would think that it is very loud for the people who live next to the plant. But the noise (135 dB) is insulated so strongly that the local residents hear almost anything.

Then it got a bit more difficult to follow the presentation, because we now talked about the more physical aspects of the incineration plant.

Here is some data:

- the plant has got a waste sorting concept: glass, glass recycling, paper, paper recycling, bio waste, composting, light packing, plastic recycling, gray bin, burned in plant.

- some values about the work area of the plant:


area (km²)

waste input (MHKW)


572 624


275 780

Ruhr - area

1 196 270


606 527

- bottom waste bunker records 10 000 tonnes of rubbish.

- remainders and its disposal:

bottom ash (162 147t) sorting and screening

fly ash (15 426t) utilization

gypsum (1 660t) further processing possible

sludge (1 495t) hazardous waste

- gases that are released during the burning process:



Limit value (17.BlmschV)

Ø 2009 (behind EmMa)

















C (org.)




















Σ other HM








These were the most important details about the incineration plant. We also inspected some of the machines and the operations there. We can just say, that the trip was very interesting and impressive. We were lucky that we had the chance to see this incineration plant.

But still: Even if waste is processed in a useful way here, it does not mean that we should produce more waste...

By Tabea and Svenja