Federal President Koehler: „Nature conservation is no luxury, but a future task“

Dresden: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt has given German Environmental Award to Hans G. Huber and Ernst-Detlef Schulze today
Dresden. This with 500,000 Euro supremely endowed European environmental prize has been awarded for the 14th time. President Koehler presented the German Environmental Award of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt in Dresden to the Bavarian entrepreneur Hans G. Huber (64) and the Jena ecosystem researcher Professor Ernst-Detlef Schulze (65). Huber gets the price because he developed robust and high-quality technologies for the drinking-water purification and sewage treatment in emerging and developing countries and sold these technologies successfully. As director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Ernst-Detlef Schulze explores the reasons for the global warming. In his speech emphasized President Köhler the importance of the nature conservation: "For 100 years, nature conservation has been a national task. That must remain, not as a burden, about which one is concerned more or less according to the current budget situation. Nature conservation is no luxury, nature conservation is a future task.”

Koehler: Let us "protect this treasury, the rich nature heritage of our country treasury, for our children and grandsons"

Addressing approximately 1,500 guests, the President emphasized that nature reserves and parks, national parks and biospheres amounted to one quarter of Germany's surface. For him it belonged to the central tasks of a future-oriented politics “to protect this treasury, the rich nature heritage of our country treasury, for our children and grandsons.” Therefore he also appreciated expressly that the Federal government will bring in 125;000 hectares of nature conservation areas gratuitously into a federal foundation or transferred it to the federal states in order to protect the national nature heritage. Finally also the idea of the "Green Riband" could now be realized. Koehler: "I wish very much that those who are in charge of the national nature heritage in the future will act in favour of it.”

"The wound of the devision is healed and Germany interconnected through a green riband"

A wide wound divided East and West Germany forty years long: the deadly barriers and border installations of the GDR. There were brutal interventions into the nature - free firing areas, minefields, death stripes and barriers. But there was also uninhabited no man's land, where nature could develop undisturbed, and meanwhile got back what earlier was concreted, ploughed or mined. "The wound of the division is healed and Germany interconnected through a green riband from the Baltic Sea to the Bavarian Forest. It is good that this natural area can now be protected constantly.”

Nature conservation: a growing economic factor

There would be probably less nature conservation without resistance. The more important therefore was an early dialogue with the concerned and where possibly, the striving for cooperative solutions. Because nature conservation was also a growing economic factor. Studies proved that nature conservation protected also in structure-weak regions incomes and jobs. In the Müritz region for example, the visitors of the national park left over 13 million Euro in the region in 2004 and thus helped to safe approximately 630 jobs.

"With the federalism reform, the way for the future task natur conservation is finally free"

With the federalism reform, the way for the future task nature conversation was finally free for a federal environmental law now. Also the countries had gotten new scopes to act. Henceforth, they could derivate from the federal law when dealing with the topics of nature conservation, water, and procedures. Koehler: "I trust that the federal states use this new competence responsibly. A competition for the lowest environmental standards helps the future ability of our country just as little as an investment-hostile rag rug of most different regulations."

Weinzierl: DBU participates in the protection of the national nature heritage

Also Hubert Weinzierl, Chairman of the DBU Board, emphasized the willingness of the DBU to take advantage of this great moment and participate in the protection of the national nature heritage. However, the condition was that the reserves were preserved for following generations and were not being sold.

Toefer: "The compana Hans Huber contributes that water is not wasted"

Professor Klaus Toepfer, former director of the Environmental Program of the United Nations UNEP and member of the jury of the German Environmental Award emphasized in his eulogy on Hans G. Huber that awarding him was good and quite reasonable. 6.5 billion people needed water - for agriculture, irrigation and industry. More than 5,000 people, primarily children, died daily when suffering from illnesses that are interconnected with water. Toepfer: "And it is not the question that we have not enough water in this world, in all regions. But we need better ideas, improved technologies, to use this water more meaningfully and thrifty. If we assume that the coming wars will be wars about water, we must ask ourselves today: Which are the disarmament measures, the preventive disarmament measures for these wars? - They are: Intelligent technologies, investments and a good water management."
Water had to be considered as a kind of recyclable material. The company Hans Huber took up this very consistently, and contributed that water was not wasted but seen as recyclable material in the cycle economy. Toepfer: A medium-sized enterprise, that proved again: Here, there is the willingness to think, to work out developments and to make them marketable. Congratulations, a good chance for Germany".

Schmidt: "Schulze's results are extremely relevant not only for the basis sciences but also for the climate politics"

Laudator and jury member Professor Michael Schmidt from the Brandenburg Technical University of Cottbus underlined that Professor Dr. Ernst-Detlef Schulze got the environmental prize for the exploration of the global carbon cycle. His results were extremely relevant not only for the basis sciences but also for the climate politics. So, Professor Schulze and his research team had shown that only the half of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere could be bound again through the land masses and the oceans. Another and completely new result was that an extensive change in the land use like deforestation contributed also to the global warming with approximately 25 percent.

Schulze: "The German Environmental Award ist a high point and an honour an gives fresh impetut for a big sphere"

Prizewinner Schulze pointed out that the carbon dioxide emission of the agriculture was still underestimated in many cases. The importance had approximately the dimension of the fossile energy sources gas, coal and oil. On the other hand, attention had increasingly to be drawn to a prevention of deforestation. It was possible that farmers paid "compensations" to foresters for this measure in the future. Schulze expressed that he was in charge of a network of 500 scientists throughout Europe. Therefore the German Environmental Award was a high point and an honour and gave fresh impetus for a big sphere.

Huber: "One has to understand the mentality of the people in order to create trust"

Hans G. Huber emphasized that Germany had sufficient water in best quality. But also applicable technologies had to be created for those countries that were not as blessed as Germany. This idea had to be spread more broadly in politics and non-government organizations. In emerging countries, the psychological barrier of processing sewage that could be re-used had to be overcome. One had to understand the mentality of the people in order to create trust as an important basis for the future. His company offered quality and appropriate solutions and he was optimistic that their good ideas would continue.

Gabriel: "It is half the battle if economists thought more ecologically and vice versa"

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's Minister for the Environment, said that it depended in the future on the right energy mix to prevent an ecological catastrophe. With soon approximately nine billion people world-wide, it was a challenge to develop payable energy alternatives. Energy efficiency was more important than "each new oil field under Alaska". Between economists and environmentalists still was a "fight around the right way in this point": "However, it is half the battle if economists thought somewhat more ecologically and vice versa", Gabriel emphasized.  
Federal President Horst Koehler (3rd.f.r.) presented the German Environmental Award of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt to Hans G. Huber (4th.f.r.) and Prof. Dr. Ernst-Detlef Schulze (6th.f.r.). Also on stage: Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde, Prof. Dr. Georg Milbradt, Hubert Weinzierl and Sigmar Gabriel (f.r.).