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Father Christmas for the climate

German Children tearing off wrapping paper on Christmas morning will have the internet to thank for many of their presents. Almost 60 % of internet users in Europe will shop online for Chritsmas. In Germany, 33 million people will go online to shop, spending 12 billion euro. Experts say more people are shopping online as they have broadband access, and a bigger range of products is now offered on the internet.

There are incentives for people to change their habits, too, such as discounts at bike shops, and free pedometers so they can check up on how far they walk. They results have been impressive: car journeys have been cut by 11 per cent, cycling has increased by 25 per cent, walking by 17 per cent and trips on public transport by 13 per cent. All that walking any cycling should help Germans to get fitter and slimmer.

Not only the way how people shop but also the way people travle has changed enormously over the past 50 years. In the 1950s, buses had the highest share of journeys, and only a quarter of the total distance by Germans was by car. By 1996, only 1 per cent of journeys were by bike, 5 per cent by train and 6 per cent by bus and coach; the rest were by car. Many people have got so used to using their cars for journeys that they do not even know where the bus that stops in their road goes to.

No milk in the fridge? No problem – just drive to the local supermarket and get some. Children late for school? Easy – get out the car and give them a lift. Want a DVD for the evening? The shop is just five minutes´ drive away. In Germany, people depend on cars for many everyday things, and in towns all over the country you can see what that means for the environment: there are queues of traffic at roundabouts and lights, and the air is thick with exhaust fumes. All those cars produce the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and contribute to global warming. Action is necessry now, before climate change moves beyond man´s control.

Climate change, which causes droughts, flooding and rising seas, could threaten living conditions all over the world, and lead to wars and mass migrations. Father Christmas bring me a new world....

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