Green environmental policy aims to mainstream an ecological perspective in all areas of life. An intact environment is the essential basis of life for us all and for our children. The prosperity that some of us enjoy should not be achieved at the expense of others or future generations. In green environmental policy, justice is built in.
In the past, a reckless disregard for the environment and natural resources was widespread. Today, politicians, businesses and planners should know better. And yet even now, green spaces are being covered in concrete, our water, air and soil are polluted with all kinds of substances, and the systematic overuse of fertilisers continues. The extinction of species as a consequence of human action continues unabated.
Linking conservation and justice
For us Greens, environmental conservation is a value in its own right, but it is also, and crucially, a justice issue. Noise pollution, for example, is still increasing and mainly affects people who cannot afford to live in a quiet neighbourhood. Air pollution, too, still gives cause for concern. New coal-fired power plants, soot and nitrogen oxides from transport and agriculture but also from small combustion systems such as stoves and domestic heating systems contribute to the mix of pollutants in the air we breathe. Chemical residues – sometimes exceeding permissible levels – are still being found in numerous foods and other products, and even include substances which were banned long ago. To say nothing of the cocktail of environmental toxins which affect us and may interact with each other in ways which have not yet been researched or are simply unknown. Meanwhile, more and more children are suffering from allergies, skin conditions and bronchial complaints. The right to an intact environment and healthy living conditions must apply to all citizens equally. Through our green environmental policy, we are working to make this goal a reality.
Protecting the environment – worldwide!
The reckless disregard for the environment reflects global inequalities. Many fishermen and fisherwomen are losing their livelihoods because of industrial overfishing and marine pollution. The world's poor regions were promised a green agricultural revolution, for example through the use of genetically modified plants, but instead, they were given new dependencies on international seed and chemical companies. Just 15 per cent of the world's population accounts for more than half of global resource consumption. With their profligate lifestyle, they are making a key contribution to global warming, exporting their garbage to poorer countries, and polluting the seas and the atmosphere. Waste and pollution have become synonyms for prosperity. The destruction of the natural life support systems of future generations continues unabated.
The protection and use of natural resources
We Greens offer our "Green New Deal" as a response to this destructive lifestyle and economy. It combines a sustainable lifestyle and economic activity with a social dimension. Key elements include the protection of nature and biological diversity and the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources. A new resource policy reduces dependency on finite resources and creates new freedoms. Rivers, air and soils should no longer be available free of charge. The sealing of surfaces and noise pollution must be reduced to a minimum. Simple measures help us to conserve precious resources. In this way, we aim to promote the switch to a genuine closed substance cycle which consistently avoids waste and reuses inputs. Whether it is about active noise protection, measures to curb electromagnetic radiation from mobile telephones, or chemicals – our policies aim to achieve genuine progress on the environment. They include limit values which are preventive and protect the health of our children, innovative and sustainable products, and more transparency and participation by citizens.