Global environmental challenges
Imagine standing packed inside a commuter train with a thousand other people, some in dire need of a shower, some apparently having eaten garlic for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Imagine your fingertips clinging to a metal overhead rack as you struggle to stay upright on turns and bumps in the track. And then imagine doing that for hours on end.
That’s what the train trip from Berlin to Copenhagen today was like as some 45,000 demonstrators converged on the Danish capital for Saturday’s march. But the journey was still a lot of fun — and we saw a myriad of wind turbines in both northern Germany and southwestern Denmark turning in the breeze, and thousands more roof-top photovoltaic systems extracting what little daylight they could out of the mid-December sky.
Fortunately, most of the people headed to the demonstration were in a fabulous mood. And there was even a happy ending to the ride — for the last two hours of the trip, in Denmark, an extra four carriages were added so just about everyone ended up getting a seat for the final third of the ride from Berlin, via Hamburg and a short ferry-hop.
Before that, the train was so full of German, Italian, French and Dutch demonstrators that the conductor didn’t bother to check for tickets, and the border guards gave up before they even started. “Forget it Heinrich,” one German border guard said to his colleague. “It’s too full. Just stay where you are.” They got off at the next stop without checking anyone’s passport.