Category Archives: Going Green

Summer is here!

sunsalutesolstice16We had the most wonderful summer solstice evening last night in Osnabrück, celebrated with sun saluations during the outdoor event in honor of International Yoga Day. The Piesberger Gesellschaftshaus offered the perfect venue at the old coal station at the foot of the Piesberg. It was a very special evening because we were doing yoga together with millions of people all over the globe as it was the second year since the United Nations had declared  21 June to World Yoga Day. On top of that we were having a full moon on this summer’s longest day, which only happens once every 70 years. We were fortunate enough to have a dry spell for the 1.5 hours this session took. Even though the full moon was hidden by the clouds, we could feel the good vibes through nature’s wonderful expressions both in sound (bird song  abound) and sights (trees overhead and a natural stone wall to feel secure).20160621_194425

The goal of this free event on this summer solstice evening was to give people the chance to get familiar with YOGA or to celebrate YOGA and its benefits for health and the balancing of body and mind. The session was given in a mix of German and English to underline its international character.

The thought for the night was to be mindful of how we can practice non-violence towards others and ourselves, one of the underpinning principles of yoga. Non-violence can begin with wishing other people what you would want for yourself, and in the sense that you aren’t too critical of well-intended attempts of doing well. This also goes for your attitude towards yourself, you can only try your best and have as positive an outlook on life as you can.

With special thanks to the Osnabrücker Dampflockfreunde and the Piesberger Gesellschaftshaus for their cooperation in Osnabück’s first celebration of International YOGA Day.

Namaste 🙂

PS If you want to join the regular yoga sessions from Yoga & English by Christina, you are very welcome to join on Tuesdays at 6 pm or Saturdays at 10 am. Give us a shout at Tel. 0541 120 8888 or 0162 437 4604, or email or


yoga retreat summer 2012

Hello dear readers and/or learners of English,

Because the summer is coming to an end (have you been suffering this chilly spell lately too? Here in Northern Germany it certainly feels like autumn is around the corner) I would like to share some of my warm holiday experiences with you.

I went on a yoga retreat in Spain with my two children, around the beginning of August and that was the most awesome place I have ever been to. It’s situated in the mountains between Malaga and Ronda in a nature reserve. 

 This is is a picture of the main building, called Hermitage San Juan, surrounded by almond and olive trees:

 Almonds happen to be my favourite snack so I was in my element from day one. Only they weren’t ripe for picking yet 😦

I never knew (as a typical city girl) that their outer layer looks like a soft, velvety, light green pod (see picture below), did you? 

We were surrounded by tree-covered mountains and ruined monasteries. I actually climbed  one of those mountaintops with some other guests one day and waived to my daughter down in the valley, who took a snapshot of it.  From up there the view was magnificent. All very lush and green despite the average midday temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. Now this week was really back to nature to the extreme. We slept in tipis, took outdoor showers and swam in the ‘bolsa’ which is a watertank that holds the water that runs down the mountain rocks. This was the most refreshing water I have ever tasted. The container we swam in looked like a pool but was actually just a water reservoir, storing the water to irrigate the olive groves in times of drought. (drought= period without rain) 


While there was a children’s programme consisting of arts and crafts, swimming, hiking and other play opportunities, the adults did a long yoga session every morning on the sun-shaded roof terrace of the hermitage.

After that we had a wonderful vegetarian breakfast made up of either local or organic produce, you could tell the difference from the usual supermarket-bought groceries, very tasty. (groceries=foodstuffs)

We also went on some trips to the nearby river, which was so picturesque that I thought I was living in a fairytale.  

 Another highlight was the trip to Ronda, such a beautiful mountain town with a huge gorge running through the middle. (gorge=A deep narrow passage with steep rocky sides; a ravine)


I will defintely want to go back there one day.

That’s all for now folks!

Patch Adams interview: What’s your gesundheit?

It’s been a while since I had time to post something here, but this I don’t want to keep from you.

If you are interested in a refreshing view on health care, then read these articles on Natural News.

I wonder why you never hear things like this in the conventional media, guess they’re all in each other’s pockets, hey?

I salute Patch Adams of the Gesundheit institute and Mike Adams of NaturalNews.

Saturday, May 07, 2011 by: Mike Bundrant,

(NaturalNews) I wanted to talk to him about his approach to health, but the voicemail I received in response to my inquiry took things in a totally different direction.

“If you want to talk about how the government has ruined our chances of survival as a species…if you’d like to use this topic as your approach to an article on health, then call me.” Patch Adam’s voice was intense and not at all what I expected from my experience of his character as played by Robin Williams in the movie Patch Adams.

“I’m a nerd,” Patch told me when I called back. “I’m sitting here in my small apartment and all I see are books. All I do is read and study and I can tell you that we are heading toward extinction. In another 25 years the demise of the human race will be unstoppable – too late! But nobody cares.”

Patch turned his attention to the newspaper I publish, Healthy Times. “I’m looking at your Healthy Times Newspaper here and I don’t see any advertisers that really offer health to your community. What I see are a bunch of businesses that want to make money and are using health and wellness as their angle. If you want to promote health, I have a plan for you,” the passion in his voice began to rise. “Require all of your advertisers to offer a free community health day at their practice or place of business. For just one day, they must offer their services for free to anyone who shows up. Advertise it in your newspapers and watch how the community responds. Then you will be promoting health!”

Patch was on a roll, “Everyone is focused on money and power and it is killing us. The environment may not be recoverable. The economy is not sustainable and real health care should be free. This is what I have always strived to offer. When they made the movie about me, they promised that my free hospital would become a reality. It is the only reason I agreed to do it, but it never happened.”

Was I beginning to detect tones of resentment in his voice? Is this comedian/doctor who travels the world dressed in a clown suit really a cynic? Patch’s dream of making the Gesundheit! Institute the world’s first free health care system with a hospital that offers 100 percent free service has been a work in progress for decades. Garnering support has been tough and progress, while ongoing, has been slow.

During our conversation I silently wondered if the lack of support over time has worn on Patch or if the reverse were true. Does Patch’s natural contrarianism prevent him from forging the partnerships that could make his dream of a new health care society come to pass? Either way, the project continues to this day, with Patch’s free hospital as the flagship dream. This from his website,

The Gesundheit! Hospital Project

The Gesundheit! Institute started in the 1970s with a pilot project that is described in Gesundheit! by Patch Adams, M.D., and was the basis for a motion picture. The Gesundheit Hospital is a proposal for a model health care system aimed at changing society: a forty-bed rural community hospital in West Virginia, where care is free and is based on compassion and friendship.

What I took from my interview with Patch had little to do with health and a lot to do with what drives this man to change the world. It begins with an uncommon intelligence and perspective on where the problems lie and a clear vision of where things need to go. It is fueled by the deepest kind of dissatisfaction and anger with the status quo.

What difference do you want to make in the world and what are you willing to sacrifice for it?

Patch Adams holds onto his dream of free health care that begins with Gesundheit! (which means “good health”). Whether or not it comes to pass, Patch has given his life to the mission and has made an impression along the way. Given the popularity of the movie about his medical school days, it seems he could have capitalized on his fame and built a commercial empire. Instead, he used it to help his radical cause continue limping along. No selling out for Patch.

What about you? Where is your passion for a better world and how are you making efforts toward realizing it? What’s your Gesundheit? It doesn’t matter (so much) what it is. I don’t believe in offering free health services to the masses, as Patch Adams does. However, Patch is an extraordinary example to anyone with a dream. He is one of those rare souls who simply won’t sell out. He refuses to trade his dream and his values for money, fame or the approval of the powers that be. This quality of person is extremely rare and a gift to the rest of us, regardless of our personal beliefs.

If you don’t have a personal cause that you won’t sacrifice for any amount of money or fame, you are not alone. Most people are merely “working for the weekend” and don’t want to be bothered with radical ideas or risk sacrificing the luxuries of a steady paycheck and regular Sunday barbecues just to champion some personal cause that stands little to no chance of making a difference.

Look at Patch. Millions around the world know his name and in 40 years he has still not broken ground on his free hospital. What’s the point? This line of thinking catastrophically misses the point! The difference you make in the world has less to do with what you accomplish on the outside and everything to do with what you stand for and who you become. Patch Adams’ failures make most people’s successes look bad.

About the author:
Mike Bundrant is a retired mental health counselor, NLP trainer and publisher of Healthy Times Newspaper.

A very Happy New Year to all my dear blog readers

Did you make any new year’s resolutions (sich etwas gutes vornehmen)for 2011?
Are you going to start a diet, stop smoking, learn a new skill (Fähigkeit) like English 😉 or maybe do something green?

This year I would like to buy as many organic (bio) products as possible. I have already been doing so for a long time but this year I want to see if I can go completely green!

With the dioxin scandal in Germany this month I think it is the only way to prevent (verhindern) poisoning (vergiften) yourself through food.

Wikipedia gives some interesting facts about Dioxin:

“The most toxic (giftig) dioxin, (TCDD), became well known as a contaminant (Verunreinigung) of Agent Orange, a herbicide (Unkrautvertilgungsmittel) used in the Vietnam War.

In 1963, a dioxin cloud escaped after an explosion in a Philips-Duphar plant (now Solvay Group) near Amsterdam. The plant was so polluted with dioxin after the accident that it had to be dismantled (demontieren), embedded (einbetten) in concrete (beton), and dumped (loswerden) into the ocean.

More recently, dioxins have been in the news with the poisoning of President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine in 2004, the Naples Mozzarella Crisis, the Irish pork crisis of 2008, and today’s German feed crisis (pork and poultry) (schweinefleisch und geflügel) of 2011. See also a video about the latter on:

Some of the symptoms (krankheitszeichen) of dioxin poisoining are:

Nausea (Übelkeit), vomiting (erbrechen), stomach pains (bauchschmerzen) and loss of appetite (Appetitverlust).“

Well, I must admit that I have been nauseous for the past two weeks, so I do hope that I haven’t been poisoned through eating eggs. You don’t hear any warnings for not eating cakes and here in Germany ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ after a nice walk through the woods, is the most popular Sunday pastime (Zeitvertreib).

I wish you all lots of success with learning English this year and being environmentally friendly (Umweltfreundlich) before we poison ourselves.

What a difference six months can make

By JulietteH – October 21, 2010,

“Six months. It’s been six months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico took fire, blew and sank, causing the biggest accidental oil spill in history.

It certainly feels like longer. Was it really six months ago that BP was claiming that any day now, the leak would be plugged? Even less than six months ago that everyone was Googling hopefully for “top kill”? Six months ago that Obama called for a moratorium on deepwater drilling? Six months ago that everyone was making promises to do more, better, faster to end our dependency on dirty oil?

And yet, in six months, while people all over the world were claiming for better fuel economy, for renewable energy and electric cars, politicians all over the world did nothing. In fact, polticians did worse than nothing: they lifted the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, authorised more deepwater drilling in pristine and threatened places, they refused to put a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the North East Atlantic, and kept subsidising oil companies to keep us addicted to dirty energy.

In the meantime, scientists on board the Arctic Sunrise, the Greenpeace ship currently in the Gulf of Mexico, are still finding oil on the bottom of the sea.

So what difference can six months make? Well, a lot in that special place known as politician-world.

Apparently, it causes amnesia, because I can’t believe if they could really remember Deepwater Horizon, they would be doing all this. They’d be putting their money on renewable energy and more efficient cars.

Otherwise, to be this irrational, they’d have to be dishonest and/or paid off by oil companies. But surely, that can’t be the case.”

Daryl Hannah and green living

Check out Daryl Hannah’s super cool video blog where she pleads for renewable energy sources like biodiesel (walnut oil, recycled French fries oil etc).

Here’s one cool chick who isn’t afraid to call herself a nerd….

Let’s hear it for the nerds of this world, who wants to be part of the establishment anyway?

‘Distributed power’ to save the Earth


BBC NEWS | Science & Environment |
Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Prague

Economist Jeremy Rifkin galvanised the Research Connections 2009 conference in Prague with a roadmap to simultaneously solve the economic and energy crises.

He proposed a pan-European strategy of small-scale energy generation and smart energy grids that make everyone a partner in energy.

What is more, he said, the plan would create millions of jobs and foster investment that would see the end of the current economic crisis.

Mr Rifkin leads a roundtable of 100 top CEOs and government officials who have subscribed to the plan.

The roundtable is part of the Foundation on Economic Trends, which Mr Rifkin founded.

He said old economic models will not see humanity through, and the combination of the climatic, energy and economic woes of the planet created a “perfect storm” that will see in a new era for its inhabitants.

But such a revolution is not unique to human history, he said.

“The great economic revolutions in history occur when two things happen,” he explained.

“First, we humans change the way we organise the energy of the Earth; we’ve done this frequently over the course of our history.

“Second, and equally important, we change the way we communicate to organise new energy regimes. When energy revolutions converge with communication revolutions, those are the pivotal points in human history.”

Your building becomes your power plant, just like your computer becomes your information vehicle to the world

Jeremy Rifkin
The current renewable energy push, in common with the information and communication technology revolution that characterised the 1990s, is just such a pairing of regime changes.

But in Mr Rifkin’s grand plan, every citizen of the EU would participate in order to revolutionise the way energy is generated, used, and monetised.

Four pillars

Although the sheer scope of the idea raised eyebrows throughout the room, Mr Rifkin laid out a cogent, four-part plan that he said could in one stroke dispel the perfect storm he described.

The first two pillars of the plan were a call to technological arms:
further develop renewable energy technologies’ efficiencies, amplify production to access “economies of scale”, and develop means to store the intermittent energy they harvest.

The third pillar is a common idea writ very large indeed. He called for a pan-European commitment to microgeneration – small installations of renewable energy technology work in place of, for example, vast wind farms – but on every single building already up or yet to be built.

“We cannot build enough centralised wind and solar parks to run Europe,” he said.

“If this energy is distributed over every square foot all over the world, why would we collect it only at a few points? The problem is we’re using 20th century, centralised, top-down business models.”

The large-scale, centralised nature of power generation may be changing
Instead, Mr Rifkin suggested overhauling the technology of infrastructure and architecture such that buildings have integral power generation: solar panels and small vertical wind turbines on roofs, heat pumps harvesting geothermal energy in basements.

In rural settings, agricultural waste could be used to generate methane and in coastal regions, tidal power could be harvested.

“Your building becomes your power plant, just like your computer becomes your information vehicle to the world. Every home, factory, industrial park, every building is converted,” he explained.

While existing buildings could generate a sizeable fraction of their energy demands, new buildings would be “positive power” – generating more than they need through grand changes in building materials and architecture.


Such an idea is not new; in fact, installations are already underway. Mr Rifkin cited car maker GM’s Opel factory in Zaragoza, Spain, which sports a $78m (£52m) solar panel array.

It produces some 10 Megawatts of power, which means the energy savings could pay for the installation in just nine years.

Elsewhere in Spain, Navarra and Aragon have, in the past 10 years, moved to generating 70% of their energy with renewables.

Using wind turbines in the Pyrenees, hydroelectric generation from snowmelt, and sun-tracking solar arrays, Aragon will be 100% self-sufficient in six months and be in energy surplus in six more.

“Everyone can do that tomorrow,” Mr Rifkin emphasised. Moreover, it is a handy way out of an economic abyss.

“If you want to jump-start an economy it’s always about construction. You jump-start not hundreds of thousands of jobs building solar collectors, but millions of jobs reconverting the entire infrastructure.”

The scale of the proposed changeover is unconvincing for Paul Ekins, professor of energy and environment policy at King’s College London.

“People tend to want power when they demand it and they tend to want it to be there all the time,” he told BBC News.

“It’s certainly possible that microgeneration has a role to play in the future energy system, but my view is that central generation is likely to be a very important part of satisfying that demand.”

‘Distributed capitalism’

Each homeowner could become a small player in the European energy market
The fourth pillar of the plan would make everyone a stakeholder in the scheme by overhauling the outdated power grid system.

“We’re going to use the same tecnology that created the internet; we take the power grid of the EU and turn it into an ‘intergrid’ that works just like the internet.

“Say you’re producing 30% of your energy need, it’s peak period in the middle of the day and you don’t need the electricity. If millions of people send just a little bit back to the grid, peer-to-peer just like we send information on the internet, that’s distributed power.”

But the distributed computing allowed by the revamped power grid could introduce a new economic paradigm – what Mr Rifkin calls “distributed capitalism”.

“The main grid [will be] completely distributed, software connected to sensors connected to every appliance in your home: thermostat, washing machine, toaster, everything.

“At any one time the system will know what every washing machine is doing in Europe. If you have peak demand, not enough supply, software can say to two million washing machines ‘forget the extra rinse’.

“If you bought the program – it’s all voluntary – you get a cheque at the end of the month or a credit from the electricity company.”

Like microgeneration, the idea of such “smart grids” has been circulating in the energy community for some time. But it is the sheer scope of all facets of Mr Rifkin’s plan that makes it unique.

He has formed the “Third Industrial Revolution Roundtable” with 100 leaders from industry – big names such as IBM and BASF are on the list – as well as governments to further promote the idea.

And he is sure that the EU will continue to lead the way, citing the “golden goose” of the union: it is the largest internal market economy in the world, making it particularly poised to undertake such an ambitious plan.

Professor Ekins wonders about the likelihood that all the facets such a long-term, high-investment initiative is what the future holds.

“The world has room for visionaries,” he said, “and one of the characteristics of visionaries is that their total vision very rarely comes true.

“Normally the future ends up having some aspect of different competing visions.”

Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Prague