2. City of Bonn
3. Climate Change
I. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
II. Bicycle infrastructure
III. Green Roofs
Question: Which climate-friendly programs should be implement- ed/supported by the City of Bonn to boost the regional economy?
The Coronavirus-crisis came over to us from Asia. At first, the full impact of the Corona pandemic was not yet apparent. The consequences for the economy and society are still not fully foreseeable. Programs must be put in place to strengthen the local economy. Sustainability and green power has been pushed in the background by the media and political attention of the Covid 19 pandemic. This paper addresses the question, which initiatives make sense for a city to conserve re- sources and become more environmentally friendly. The pandemic is currently being played out on the backs of children, who are experiencing distance learning and emergency care, unable to see their friends and a peer group that they so des- perately need for proper development. Isolation and learning home alone is on the agenda for the next generation. There are studies already that outline increased behavioural problems in children, due to the political Corona instruments (tagesschau 2021). In addition to the psychological consequences for society, especially for the youngest, debts amounting to billions are incurred. Medially the agenda is filled almost totally with Covid reports - for other topics space hardly remains. At the same time, it is important to not forget the other challenges the world is fac- ing: The climate crisis, demographic change, the digitalization that has become most obvious and is lagging far behind in Germany. So, in addition to the damage caused by the current pandemic, we are passing on many other problems to our next generation. That is why municipalities should urgently respond with political initiatives, so problems such as climate change must not be allowed to fade into the background. Accordingly, the following questions are addressed in this paper: brief introduction of the topic of the Corona pandemic in Bonn, the climate change and its effects, as well as possible courses of action for the Bonn local politics, which is now even governed by the parliamentary group of Bündnis 90 die Grünen.
2. City of Bonn
The citizens of Bonn have decided, after a period of government by the conserva- tive party CDU, for a change and associated rethinking to the climate-friendly policies of the Green Party. Since the 11th of November 2020, Ms Katja Dörner designated as mayor of Bonn. Among other things, the Green Party promotes the implementation of a car-free city center in Bonn. But what is the essence of Bonn as a former capital city? "Bonn, the federal city on the Rhine, is the second political centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is the German city of the United Nations and the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. Here, the local way of life meets art and culture, science and research meet trade, crafts and industry. Tradition meets progress. Carnival, the Beethovenfest and Pützchens Fair are celebrat- ed here. Bonn is a sports city and the city of conferences and congresses." (Bonn.de 2021) In total, Bonn's urban area covers an area of 141.1 square kilome- tres and 332,769 inhabitants (status 1.1.2020) (Bonn.de, 2021).
Thanks to the former federal chancellor Konrad Adenauer Bonn can call itself a former capital. To this day, Bonn's many museums, such as the Museum of Art, the House of History or the Museum König, characterize cultural life. The subway network is also rather unusual for a rather small city like Bonn and is owed to former political power. To this day, the railroad relieves above-ground traffic and provides the connection across the Rhine to the Sankt Augustin campus for many students of the Hochschule-Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. Infrastructural, Bonn has a lot to offer already as well as a lot of educational and recreational opportunities, such as the Rheinaue, which was created with an area of 100 hectares for the Federal Garden Show in 1979 (Federal Garden Show 2019). Overall, Bonn offers a lot of green spaces in the form of parks, forests, such as the Kottenforst, and a lot of local recreation areas, such as the Siebengebirge or the Eifel. On citizens' initiatives, many private households are also active in greening the cityscape, so you can find many urban gardening projects, especially in Bonn's old town. Here, citi- zens are planting flowers and plants, based on the principle of urban gardening, in previously leased and untended flower beds.
The sustainability report from 2019 describes further projects on environmental quality and resource efficiency. For example, Bonn now also has insect-friendly cemeteries, opportunities for information around solar energy, and the possibility of finding out about the suitability of one for one's home. Besides, the improve- ment of public transport is reported as well as the promotion of cycling, which is to receive a share of 25% in road traffic in the future. Furthermore, nature conservation and sustainable forestry and the protection of biodiversity are mentioned as goals (Sustainability Report Bonn 2016-2019).
3. Climate Change (Consequences )
Thanks to Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement she initiated, climate change has received a lot of media attention (Fridaysforfuture 2021). There are still some citizens who consider climate change to be some kind of fake news, supported by politicians like the US-President, who negates climate change. However, scientifically, the change in climate and the consequences are proven clearly. In Germany alone, an increase in the average temperature of 0.3 degrees Celsius has been measured over the last five years (BMU 2019). The German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety report in its 2019 monitoring report: "This results in, among other things, more health risks from heat stress, an increase in the mean surface temperature of the North Sea and greater fluctuations in agricultural yields" (BMU 2019). Also, a higher number of "hot days" was noted, which of course is also causally related to the increase in the general mean temperature. The days with temperature rises above 30°C measured since 1951 increased by three to about twenty days per year at present (BMU 2019). As a result, heat deaths have increased as well. For exam- ple, in 2003, approximately 7,500 people were suffering from heat deaths. Be- tween 2006 and 2015, 6000 additional heat-related deaths were recorded (BMU 2019). Groundwater levels have dropped, causing drinking water supply problems in some communities. There have also been restrictions on shipping and degradation of ecosystems. The supply of cooling water for power plants and industries was also not guaranteed (BMU 2019), to list just a few of the consequences of climate change and highlight the need for action at the political level. "These in- frastructures are primarily damaged by extreme weather events such as storms and heavy rain. In 2018, for example, this resulted in insurance losses of around 3.1 billion Euro to houses, motor vehicles, household goods, commerce, industry and agriculture. According to the insurance industry, 2018 was one of the four most severe storm years in the last 20 years", informs the BMU in the 2019 monitoring report.
Last but not least, it must be mentioned that today's CO2 level is 45 per cent higher than in the millennia of stability before that. This now results in the highest CO2 concentration in at least 15 million years. Above all,by mass animal husbandry, traffic (air traffic, ship traffic, car traffic etc.), coal power stations and industry this process is accelerated by the release of gases (care 2021). In Germany, as an industrial and export nation, we contribute a large part of course and are already affected by the effects. But at the same time, we have a responsibility for the rest of the world. Especially developing countries with a low GDP and little prosperity are depending on income from agriculture and the supply of food through their own cultivation. These countries are particularly depending on a change of think- ing and political action in the industrialized nations.
As briefly mentioned in the introduction, there are various programs to promote environmental and climate protection in Bonn already. In the following, three options for action will be explained more detailed, which seem to make sense for Bonn to respond to the challenges with a sensible solution strategy.
I. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
The first project is already established in Bonn. Two young women from Bonn founded their own company called 'Meine Ernte' in 2009. Here, the mediation between interested gardeners without their own garden and regionally based farmers takes place. Free fields, which are unused by the farmers, are rented out and thus guarantee a side income. The farmers apply their expertise and plant and sow the fields and are available twice a month for a consultation hour with their expertise. In 2012, the company already expanded to sixteen other cities in Germany with a total of 1600 plots because the model was so well received by citizens (this is Urban Gardening, p.90, 2013). The goal of this program is to preserve and protect habitat for people, animals and nature. Members share the cost of food production, harvesting and thus risk by committing to pay a certain amount for a year, so the farmer has a predictable income. The farmers benefit in terms of low marketing because the purchase of the products is already guaranteed. Thus, the farmers are more independent of market structures, wholesale prices and subsidies (solawi-Bonn 2021). Each member benefits from healthy and regionally grown vegetables and the membership fee also shows solidarity, as it is income- dependent and thus low-income earners also have access to solidarity agriculture. Now community-supported agriculture is up to now a private economic initiative and not on a communal level. However, some cities already similarly lease self- harvesting gardens. The city of Munich, for example, is a pioneer of this model, with seven self-harvesting sites in urban areas. In addition to these sites, Munich also leases out other private gardens under the label 'Krautgärten in Münchner Grüngürtel'. Here, the 1100 hobby gardeners benefit, as do the private landowners who do not use their areas themselves. Bonn already leases small beds in the city centre, which can be rented online. Furthermore, there are other initiatives like 'Stadtfrüchtchen e.V.' or the ‘Stadtverband Bonn der Gartenfreunde e.V.' besides 'meine Ernte' (Bonn.de, 2021).
Overall, it makes sense to promote solidarity agriculture and at the same time to expand the offer of self-harvesting areas in Bonn as Munich is already doing. On the one hand, agriculture can be promoted through cooperation with regional farmers and consumers to get an insight into the processes and the origin of their food. There is certainly a great educational aspect to mention here, so also chil- dren can be involved in these processes, whether in self-cultivation or raising their own vegetables. The social aspect is a big plus because organic vegetables or fruit in the supermarket is often expensive and not affordable on a regular basis for all consumers. By eating regional and seasonal fruits and vegetables, long delivery routes are avoided and awareness of regionality is created. Long transport routes, as with the popular avocado fruit, which causes a lot of resources in water during cultivation and a lot of gas with long transatlantic flights, are not generated by regional cultivation. A disadvantage for some people is certainly the limited sup- ply of vegetables and a fruit since one renounces exotic foods in favour of climate protection.
II. Bicycle infrastructure
Another sensible measure has already been politically implemented by the city of Bonn. The project 'emission-free city center' is a joint project of the city of Bonn and the public utility company. The funding program 'Emissionsfreie Innenstadt' is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia through the program 'Kommunaler Klimaschutz NRW'. The following is formulated as the objective of the project: "With the program, the state government is pursuing the goal of support- ing model municipalities in the implementation of measures for forward-looking, multimodal mobility. The project duration is three years and is to be implemented by October 2022" (Bonn.de 2021). The citizens of Bonn are to be enticed to switch to climate-friendly means of transport such as bicycles, e-bikes and e- vehicles. To this end, barriers are to be removed and among other things, bicycle paths are to be improved.
The measures of the support program are divided into three different subcatego- ries:
1. construction of mobile stations
2. development of fast cycling routes
3. conversion of the municipal vehicle fleet to e-vehicles.
The first measure includes the construction of thirty-six mobile stations in the inner-city area (Bonn.de 2021). These are to serve as bicycle boxes or bicycle parking garages, where bicycles can be parked better and more securely. This makes bicycle theft more difficult and increases the attractiveness of actually us- ing one's own expensive bicycle. A possibility to refill tire air is given by special- ly built air stations. But also for e-bikes and e-vehicles more charging stations will be provided as well as the possibility to rent e-bikes for larger transports or pur- chases, which can be especially attractive for families. All service options at the respective mobile stations should be accessible via app to enhance user- friendliness. The goal is to make the newly created infrastructure attractive for Bonn's citizens (Bonn.de 2021). Another possibility to improve the bicycle infra- structure is the construction of cycle paths. These are to be developed along par- ticularly heavily used routes between Bornheim, Alfter and Bonn as well as along the respective sides of the Rhine. The cycle paths are to be better lit, as many commuters also use these routes in the evening, and they are to be widened. The goal is to extend a route over eight kilometers (Bonn.de, 2021). Last but not least, the city of Bonn wants to purchase a total of seventeen e-vehicles for its own offices, such as the environmental office (Bonn.de, 2021). E-mobility must be rep- resented, especially in an urban role model function. With this program, Bonn has already presented a comprehensive range of instruments for improving air quality in the inner-city area. Increasing the attractiveness of bicycle use and creating new possibilities to store one's bicycle safely or to charge e-bike increases the desire to use the car since possible barriers are removed. In addition to the bicycle boxes with air station, a supplement would be useful as they exist now in some places: a bicycle box with shower possibility. Many commuters do not want to show up at the office sweaty and therefore prefer to opt for the physically less strenuous car ride. These new bike boxes could certainly be useful, if not more costly, in addition to the existing program. The control and information of the individual mobile stations via the app is user-friendly and indispensable in the age of digitalization.