• MOTHER EARTH BY KATHARINA HOGENKAMP

    KATHARINA HOGENKAMP JOURNALIST AND TRANSLATOR

    Katharina Hogenkamp, a German journalist and translator living in London, writes about fashion and sustainability in Europe and around the world.

    In her new column for the wearness, she reflects on the challenges of the throw-away society, the power of the community, and how to inspire other women for change. In her second column for THE WEARNESS, she writes about the fires in the Amazon rainforest and the importance of native forests for the climate and the future of mankind.

    In Berlin they speak English now, thats what I think as I ride my bicycle through the green streets of Kreuzkölln. It has been almost four years since I lived in the German capital. Today I visit the places I fell in love with. On my way to the Turkish market on the banks of the Maybach, everything seems the same: The café, an institution on Pannierstraße filled with the scent of coffee, still offers the best croissants with a lemon filling. You can enjoy them outside in the sunshine at the little tables in a relaxed atmosphere. The twittering of the Berlin sparrows underlines the lively atmosphere in the neighbourhood. For a moment you forget everything surrounding you.

    At the neighboring table, an elderly lady takes her seat and communicates with her counterpart in Berlin dialect: 'It's warm today, wa?' she asks in her Berlin dialect. Then I take a look at the newspaper. On this late summer day in August the Morgenpost reports on the most beautiful bathing spots in Brandenburg. The news also features Donald Trump and the Greenland dispute with Denmark, as well as Peter Maffay's big anniversary tour in 2020. Only in the back of the newspaper I find a short article about the devastating fires in South America. In fact, I would have expected such a shocking news on the front page. Instagram was a bit better informed here:

    Under the Hashtag #PrayForAmazonia more and more people have been taking part in protests against the destruction of our planet in the social media since days.

    It hits an ecosystem that has been exploited for decades: The "green lung of the earth", home to many animal and plant species, has been on fire for weeks. It is particularly bad in the Amazon region. Slash-and-burn and reforestation as well as the construction of large dams for agricultural purposes are supposed to be the reasons - and that although the environment is already weakened by the advancing climate change.

    Indigenous populations are also affected by the impact of deforestation. One example is the Maroon community in the Suriname bush on the north-east coast of South America. The history of the tribe has recently been documented in Stones Have Laws. A few weeks ago I went to see it at a London cinema. The film is the result of a collaboration between the artists Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan. It explores the development of the maroons and their rites and customs in relation to the laws of nature and its exploitation by multinational commodity companies.

    I am aware of the situation of our world. Nevertheless, the problems in the countries affected by humanitarian crises and natural disasters always seem rather far away. After all, I have a roof over my head and still enough to eat in the fridge. So far I am not seriously worried about my existence.

    But one thing is clear: we, the people of the West, live in abundance and thus contribute, intentionally or unintentionally, to the exploitation of our planet.

    We have only this one "Mother Earth", which nourishes us as long as we treat it well. Treating the planet and its inhabitants with respect is what it is all about. We must become more aware of the consequences of our decisions in everyday life. Everything has its price, and we simply cannot afford the fires in South America. If the Amazon rainforest burns - about 80% of the native forests in our world have disappeared to this day - we are all threatened by it.

    Once the climate is overturned, it will be too late and we have no choice but to deal with the really important things of life instead of getting excited about the Brexit deadline or Greta Thunberg's sailing trip to America.

    Each tree stores CO2 in terms of carbon and thus stabilizes the climate. In addition, forests have a direct influence on nature's water cycle. In the course of the fires in Brazil, I therefore decided to actively participate in the reforestation of nature in the future.

    I recently discovered Jaguar Siembra on Instagram. The project in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia is to preserve the environment by planting new trees in special areas. In the first two years of growth, the indigenous community takes care of the trees. The forest is then left to its own devices. The initiative helps the locals and the wildlife. It also promotes sustainable projects in the fields of art, education, culture and society.

    I understand how far Brazil's problems seem to us in Europe. But we must recognise that such situations will repeat themselves in the future if we do nothing about them. We are all in the same boat, and at the rapid pace that climate change is taking, the flood will soon come faster than we would like to.

    Picture above: Vintage blouse; Jeans by MIH; Pumps by Chloé
    Photo-Credit: Katharina Hogenkamp
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