GENERATION SMARTPHONE

by Silke Müller

When talking about climate change in class, we soon realized that no matter how much knowledge we acquire about this subject, there will not be any considerable changes. Change will start happening when people start acting. Even though a small part of the world has done so, the majority is still ignoring the issue of climate change. I decided to write the following poem in order to shine light on this situation.

 

We used to be creatures in the dark,

lighting our world with a single spark.

It gave us warmth, it kept us alive.

It was the reason we were able to survive.

 

That spark was the beginning of life as we know it,

developing each day and learning bit by bit.

We started domesticating nature all around,

invented the devil, called it dollar or pound.

 

Fast forward: we’re living in big cities.

Eyes glued to our phones, laughing at pictures of cute little kitties.

Rushing through life without ever stopping to take a breath,

relying on computers to take care of the rest.

 

Your Instagram account is more important than a tree,

the first thing you ask: Is the WiFi free?

They call it intelligence, progress maybe,

but I believe it’s getting worse with every baby.

 

Our children won’t ever see the sky,

in just a few years and I don’t get why.

They are born and raised in plastic.

The effects of a childhood spent online will be drastic.

 

Nature is not considered sacred anymore.

We just turn our head, walk on and close the door.

Everyone knows we’re destroying our earth,

it’s a fact we have known since the day of our birth.

 

Yet no one is willing to make a sacrifice

and let go of the luxury we’ve come to expect in our life.

It’s a shame that everyone’s just standing by,

while we’re watching our planet slowly die.

 

“It doesn’t concern us,” most will say.

“We’ll be long gone, come that day.”

But think of your children, who will one day say:

“Mom, it’s not our fault. Why do we have to pay?”

 

You walk around with your eyes fixed on the screen,

while beside you nature tries to impress with its green.

It could be the prettiest bird of them all,

but you won’t see it, until someone posts a picture of it on your wall.

 

You’re always looking for the latest trends,

to try and keep up with the people you call friends.

You call yourself normal, same as everyone else.

Never stop to consider that there might be something wrong with yourself.

 

We’re flying high, high and proud,

but who’s going to catch us when we fall through the cloud?

The cloud we created to protect our mind.

The fear of tomorrow made us decide to stay blind.

 

It’s easier to pretend that we still have it all,

escaping into a world where we no longer feel small.

A world without limits, a world without war.

It seems to be endless: one click and there’s more.

 

But reality is way more complex than fantasy.

There is no button no skip catastrophe.

We have to start acting to save this world in time.

This world full of beauty is our responsibility: yours and mine.

April 1 around the world – as experienced by students from the Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium

BERLIN, GERMANY

I woke up because of the sunlight shining through my curtains and some birds chirping outside, which is not really delightful for me as a late riser that usually gets up at 10 a.m.

Only a few hours later the nice spring weather has changed and the blue sky, which only sheltered a few white clouds, turned to a dark grey one. Furthermore, it started to drizzle but soon after that it was bucketing down. Additionally it started to hail and I could hear the hailstones falling down on the rooftop.

Around the evening time the weather brightened up again.

(Leonie Heyen)

 

This day left a powerful impression on me regarding the weather. Such a weather situation is often considered as typical for the month April. It is almost a cliché that the weather during April is a healthy mix of rain showers and the first sun rays of spring letting the temperatures rise in a moderate way. But what we experienced that day was a little different. Sure enough it was a mix out of rain and sunshine, but did it feel healthy? I would rather say it was an extreme, an extraordinary mix. The weather was changing – or rather shifting – almost every minute. Heavy rain, clear skies, rain again, showers along with sunshine and even hail was falling from the deeply grey clouds. Just like a huge slideshow which lets pictures from all seasons of the year flash by in front of your eyes without any discernible order. I was not leaving my home until the late afternoon hours, but I still witnessed the whole weather slideshow by looking out of my window. I was waiting for a comfortable period in which it would not rain so I could finally leave home and go to the fitness center. Later, I actually managed to catch such a rain free window and left home to do some sports. However, returning home I got caught by a rain shower anyway. Nevertheless, I still consider myself lucky. Riding through a hailstorm would have been much nastier.

All in all I have to say that the weather today gave me several flashbacks of the time I was living in the Netherlands. Why, you might ask? Because this was not typical April weather, this was typical Dutch weather.

(Igor Zaytsev)

 

The whole day felt like a big April fool. The day started very sunny, a few clouds pushed through the beautiful blue sky. A few birds were piping melodies while sitting in a tree. But then the weather changed from one minute to the other. It started raining and not this great warm summer rain but a crackling cold rain. After ten minutes, however, it stopped raining and the sun came out again. It looked so nice and you thought about doing stuff outside but by the time you changed your clothes to go outside, it had started to snow. Yes, it started snowing in April… But what started as snowing quickly changed and turned into hailing. The green grass received a white dress but soon the sun came again. The snow and hail melted. And since we hadn’t had any wind that day, the wind came in the evening.

(Hendrik Zanzig)

 

My day doesn’t begin early. At 11.13 I wake up still baffled because of the past night. Apparently the weather matches my condition with the sky being as foggy as my brain.

Once my friends have all woken up, our teenage stomachs are starving. We dress up and leave to buy groceries having the most amazing brunch in mind. The hope of this meal added to the sudden sunshine put us in one hell of a good mood. Who would have thought we’d have so much fun while doing a chore. Even the wind that is blowing and messing with our hair – us girls with uncontrollable hair whipping into our faces and covering us like clouds – can’t put us off.

And here we are. Back home at 13.20 in that tiny single-man kitchen – meaning as empty as cluttered – all being left now is the cooking. This is not the easiest part. Bread is toasted and bacon grilled. The room fills with a delicious scent. But suddenly the weather decides to change. Huge drops crash down on that little window without warning. The tree outside starts shaking so hard that we think it’s dancing to disco-music. The sounds have changed: the smooth banging has become brittle.

I can’t see why because I am too busy between eggs, bacon and fruit salad. But when Nolan suddenly screams: “Hail storm?!” everything becomes clear. We now hear the sound of wind and ice while we are eating – delicious by the way!

Now that our stomachs are filled we have to be productive again and I decide to go back home.

By getting out of the house I notice no more rain or hail but the wind is colder and stronger than ever. Ouf! Here’s the underground station. I can’t see the sky anymore but at least I’m no longer afraid of flying away. The tube is coming.

Almost an hour later, when I finally get out, I can see holes in the blanket of clouds which seems a little less white, less aggressive… warmer.

It’s 16.30 and I arrived at home. I know I said I‘d be productive but actually all I want to do is watch a movie and finally I stop observing today’s weather.

(Claire Antonetti)

 

As I woke up at 9 o´clock I thought April was kidding me. It was a cloudy and ice cold morning, snow and frost everywhere. Then suddenly at 2 p.m. the sun made its way through the thick grey wall of clouds. It was getting warm up to 16,5°C and I could feel the spring coming. Birds were singing and I saw some cats finally having the courage to go out. Early in the evening clouds and rain pushed away the light and suddenly it felt like fall.

(Lukas Fraesdorf)

 

Waking up, looking at a cloud-free sky,

knowing that this day will be mine.

Going for a nice long run,

looking at the bright hot sun.

Using my vacation to train some muscle,

picking up books, I need to hustle.

Enjoying this chilly day at the beach,

where I am now writing this speech.

This weather, no wind, inspiring to go have some fun,

just like taking some pics with my sis’ for Instagram.

Eating a nice big meal, healthy.

Smiling, ‘cause I know the nature is wealthy.

Going home to the resort,

to finally finish my weather report.

(Niklas Hervé)

 

I wake up and make myself ready for a mindset of not believing anything incredible that is said or done to me, but I rather am very skeptical and expect an April fool’s joke everywhere. But the April fool’s joke is already waiting outside of my window. Yes, there seriously is snow on the ground in April. I guess the German saying that April does whatever it wants concerning the weather has once again proven itself to be true. But the frosty surprise in the morning wasn’t everything and a little while later the snow is gone. Now, it is windy, no stormy outside. Sun and rain alternate. One time I look outside the window it´s raining, the next time the sun is shining and yet another time it is hailing so hard that you can hear that muffled noise of millions of frozen drops of water hitting the earth. It is true April weather.

(Manuel Plonsky)

 

CASTELLANE, FRANCE

It’s the morning, a wonderful sunny morning.

The first view through the window is attracted by the sky.

Already now it has a bright, gloriously blue color which I haven’t seen for a long time in my home country. There are no clouds up there, not even a small one in the distance and almost no wind with 15 degrees here in the mountains at 850 meters elevation.

During the course of the day the sky remains in its breathtaking beauty and only some clouds appear like smears at the horizon.

My father ponders: ”We can be so happy about such beautiful weather.” and points out some small special details in the surrounding area.

And he is right – of course he is – but you only ever see the “nice weather” and do not really recognize the special features; you often take it as a matter of course.

Well, now it’s getting higher, up to 1.200 meters. There is no change in the sky but the temperatures decrease, almost collapse to 8 degrees and the wind starts roaring and gets so powerful that it almost blows me away.

While driving to a lower altitude, the temperatures climb up to 13 degrees and along the way one can see the first green buds on the trees, some cherry trees in flowerage and even the jasmine shows its first summerlike smelling blossoms.

The wind, now much more slightly, cockles at the turquoise lake and the sun feels warm on my skin.

In the evening the sun sets, first slowly but then disappears at a moment’s notice and the wind rears up again to let the trees stagger.

Finally another wonderful day is over, just gone.

(Gina Grimmer)

 

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE

When we woke up the sky was blue

We went on the streets and enjoyed the view

No clouds in the sky, but later the day

The blue sky was gone and it turned into grey

It was very hot and not at all windy

It was overwhelming, we enjoyed our iced tea

The 5-minute-rain was intensive but short

The weather at home is different than abroad

Noisy thunder broke through the night

Followed by flashes throwing their light

The remaining night was very calm

As the breeze of Singapore blew through the palm

(Kim Burkart)

 

As I woke up there was a slight breeze in my face. One you do not even notice but you are still mad because you’re freezing. I was lucky for I could simply get up and turn it off. Air conditioning systems are so useful. As I walk outside I feel like I’m running into a hot wall. I could feel the water and the air and immediately started sweating. No wonder with 30 degrees and humid weather outside. Throughout the day I had to deal with this alternation between hot and cold weather but after a while, you get used to it. Later on, it went a little dark and cooled down by several degrees. About an hour later, there was a shower. Just 10 minutes long. And then suddenly the sun came back.

(Kim Krause)

 

Soft sunrays are shining through the leaves and warming up the air until clouds clench together and push themselves relentlessly in front of the sun.                                                                                            Suddenly rain drums on the ground and people hurry to reach dry places. Some thunderbolts light up the sky. But then the clouds disappear as fast as they have come.                                                                          I reach the airport, feel the warmth of the sunshine again and wish to stay for a few days longer but then the plane takes off and I wonder if I will ever see this place again.

(Louisa Kühl) 

 

DAHAB, EGYPT

A day at the reef of the Blue Hole – from a fish’s perspective

I was woken up by a plastic bag covering the entrance of my crevice that morning. I usually spend the night in this small crack in the reef. A few weeks ago, I was living in a bigger crack further north, but it was destroyed by divers. Many of my friends’ houses have been destroyed by air tanks and fins as well. The amount of available crevices is starting to decrease considerably…

Back to the plastic bag. Plastic bags in the morning meant one of two things: a strong current carrying the plastic from other parts of the Red Sea towards our reef or a strong wind on the surface blowing trash from the streets of Dahab into the ocean. Dahab is not the cleanest of cities. It is not as bad as some other places I have heard of, but the presence of trash is ubiquitous wherever you turn. Wind plays an important role in the lives of almost everyone here. When it is windy, the fishermen cannot go fishing because the waves are too high for their little boats, divers cannot access every dive site because the entry is too difficult and the merchants on the market have to run after their wares. Only the kite surfers on their boards are happy about the wind. We do not get so many of the surfers at my reef, however. They tend to stay closer to their hotels. The Blue Hole – my home – is located about thirty minutes away from Dahab and is bordered by the Sinai Mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. It is the world’s most dangerous dive site with several people dying every year, yet there is a lot of diving and snorkeling activity in this area. I do not mind the divers much, as long as they stay away from the reef and leave nothing but bubbles.

As I have already mentioned, the day started out quite windy. You can feel the surge underwater and many of my plankton-eating friends love this kind of weather. The surge and current carry nutrients closer to the reef and they have new food. I myself eat corals, but since the corals feed on plankton as well, I am glad for a little bit of wind now and then. The wind also meant more divers coming to the Blue Hole, though. The entry to the reef is protected from the sea and not exposed to the weather, making it one of the few dive sites in the area accessible in these wind conditions. Most of the divers keep their distance to the reef and just pass by. Some divers, however, grate on the corals every time they enter the water. Tech divers, that have many tanks attached to their bodies, do the most damage. Three of my homes have already been destroyed by carelessness of tech divers.

At around noon, the sun decided to come out and the wind settled down a bit. The effects of the windy night were still visible: plastic bags, empty cans and carpets were floating in the water. The sun was illuminating the plastic hovering over our reef and trying to bring beauty to the tragedy. Although the light reflecting off the trash had something almost magical to it, I know that in reality there is nothing magical about plastic. It will most likely kill some of my friends in the next few months.

After a short interval of sunshine, the wind picked up again. It was around three o’clock, time for the reef checkers. The reef checkers are a group of divers that return to our reef every year and take notes on its health. They will lay down a line and then record everything within a certain distance of that line: the fishes, the substrate, the invertebrates, the amount of coral damage, etc. Apparently the data they collect helps the humans understand the reefs. They want to know the developments throughout the years and find the causes for some of the problems that they find. I do not think you need to search hard for the answer. The root to all of our problems is mankind. We can deal with thunderstorms, flash floods and crown-of-thorn breakouts. What we cannot recover from are divers kicking up sand which lands on the corals and suffocates them and the plastic which takes years to decompose. Even then, the plastic does not just magically disappear. It is still present. You just cannot see it with the naked eye anymore. My friend the turtle once told me of the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch. An enormous area covered with human trash. Many of her brothers and sisters have lost their lives trying to escape the jungle of debris.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the reef checkers’ efforts. It lets us know that at least some people are taking notice of our situation and want to help us. On this day, they are rewarded by the sight of a young whale shark passing by. It has come into this region to feed on the plankton that the wind of the early morning has stirred up. I watch their excitement at seeing such a rare animal and smile to myself. If only they knew how many rare and unbelievably astounding animals are hiding in the walls of this reef.

The rest of the day is uneventful and I go about my business without much disturbance from divers or snorkelers. My only concern is the undulated moray a few corals down, who is continuously eyeing me in a strange fashion. I return to my crevice and know that – despite the plastic – it has been a good day at the reef.

(Silke Müller)

 

ZEVEN, GERMANY

It is that time of the year again, when April is not quite sure about its appearance.

I woke up to singing birds and sunshine in the morning. But soon the once clear blue sky turned grey and it began to rain, not just once but in several ten minute intervals alternating with the sun. One time, it even started snowing and every time you tried to go outside, it would start raining and snowing again.

(Jördis Gerhard)

 

NEW YORK CITY, USA

It was 8:00 a.m. in the morning when I was woken up by the first sunbeams chafing my face. In front of me was an amazing view consisting of the sparkling Hudson River as well as the skyline of Manhattan. Everything seemed so calm: Just a few people on the streets, some ferries on the river and the sun which turns the windows of the skyscrapers into blazing fire. Even with the sun shining throughout the whole day, the temperature stayed at around one degree and you could feel the cold wind flitting through the alleys. Fortunately, the day was cloudless wherefore you were able to see every helicopter flying around the island in the blue sky. In the evening we went back to our apartment and observed the sunset from the 22th floor while the sunbeams on the buildings and the sparks on the water disappeared little by little. Next, the sky dyed itself dark blue and the first stars appeared.

(Sophie Charlotte Adam)

GENERATION SMARTPHONE – Silke Müller- Romain-Rolland-Schule

When talking about climate change in class, we soon realized that no matter how much knowledge we acquire about this subject, there will not be any considerable changes. Change will start happening when people start acting. Even though a small part of the world has done so, the majority is still ignoring the issue of climate change. I decided to write the following poem in order to shine light on this situation.

 

 We used to be creatures in the dark,

lighting our world with a single spark.

It gave us warmth, it kept us alive.

It was the reason we were able to survive.

That spark was the beginning of life as we know it,

developing each day and learning bit by bit.

We started domesticating nature all around,

invented the devil, called it dollar or pound.

Fast forward: we’re living in big cities.

Eyes glued to our phones, laughing at pictures of cute little kitties.

Rushing through life without ever stopping to take a breath,

relying on computers to take care of the rest.

Your Instagram account is more important than a tree,

the first thing you ask: Is the WiFi free?

They call it intelligence, progress maybe,

but I believe it’s getting worse with every baby.

Our children won’t ever see the sky,

in just a few years and I don’t get why.

They are born and raised in plastic.

The effects of a childhood spent online will be drastic.

Nature is not considered sacred anymore.

We just turn our head, walk on and close the door.

Everyone knows we’re destroying our earth,

it’s a fact we have known since the day of our birth.

Yet no one is willing to make a sacrifice

and let go of the luxury we’ve come to expect in our life.

It’s a shame that everyone’s just standing by,

while we’re watching our planet slowly die.

“It doesn’t concern us,” most will say.

“We’ll be long gone, come that day.”

But think of your children, who will one day say:

“Mom, it’s not our fault. Why do we have to pay?”

You walk around with your eyes fixed on the screen,

while beside you nature tries to impress with its green.

It could be the prettiest bird of them all,

but you won’t see it, until someone posts a picture of it on your wall.

You’re always looking for the latest trends,

to try and keep up with the people you call friends.

You call yourself normal, same as everyone else.

Never stop to consider that there might be something wrong with yourself.

We’re flying high, high and proud,

but who’s going to catch us when we fall through the cloud?

The cloud we created to protect our mind.

The fear of tomorrow made us decide to stay blind.

It’s easier to pretend that we still have it all,

escaping into a world where we no longer feel small.

A world without limits, a world without war.

It seems to be endless: one click and there’s more.

But reality is way more complex than fantasy.

There is no button no skip catastrophe.

We have to start acting to save this world in time.

This world full of beauty is our responsibility: yours and mine.