milk was. I’m standing in front of the refrigerated counter in the supermarket. Attack courageously to the very bottom, where the sparse printed packs for 70 cents. Since my views of the product falls a little higher on the shelf. 99 cents. The packaging shows very contented cows in lush green countryside. 30 cents more for Kuhglück? I’m with you. I think the bag is almost in the Hand, than to me that maybe there’s something more Sustainable in the Shop next door. Organic milk from the Region. The package promises: “Fair prices for our farmers”.


I close his eyes for a moment. In my fantasy, a bearded country trudges to the host, with weather-tanned face to me. The man looks like the Uncle from “Heidi”. He gives me his huge, rough paw. There are tears in his eyes. “Thank you,” says he, “that you have bought my Regionalbiofairnessmilch. Because of you, I was able to take my seven children, warm clothes for the Winter buy. You did the Right thing.”

I open my eyes and storms to the fairness of milk next to it. Take five liters of 1.19 Euro, so my fantasy-Regional-Alm-Uncle is able to survive the spring. However, my satisfaction quickly fades at the box office. I’m such a liar. Because I realize: The organic Milk is my Fig leaf. It hides gracious to my guilty Conscience. Because I have not bought the other day only cheap clothes for three euros?

I’m so often contrary to my Beliefs. Know exactly that my behavior is wrong, but am too comfortable or too cheap to change it consistently. And I wonder: a life – what does that mean? To do good? Do-gooder is a bad word. The British bring it is much better to the point: How to be good? So I wonder: How is it good?


In my mind, I write a list. Comparisons of what seems to me to be correct, with what I think is somehow wrong, but for various reasons don’t change.


• I’m trying to be there when others need me.

• I try to take that into consideration, where it appears necessary to me.

• I will write to the parents evening my son’s the Protocol

although I have no desire to.

• I eat little meat.

• I bike a lot.

• I drink tap water.

• books I order, not Amazon, but the very friendly Mr. Pankow in the second-hand bookshop around the corner.

• I fly rarely, and heat sparingly.

• I separate meticulously the garbage.

• I donate money.


• I drive a twelve-year-old, smelly diesel-guzzlers.

• I curse on motorists, the heating with the dark yellow about traffic lights, but take it as self.

• I order very frequently in the Internet and I leave everything Possible delivered to your home.

• I have no volunteering.

• I will buy, especially at discount stores.

• I own a dirt-cheap supermarket clothes.

• I produce mountains of plastic waste.

• I throw food away, and eat the problem fish, such as tuna, redfish, farmed salmon.

• I push every month a few euros in an index Fund, I have no idea what industries he invests.

As well? At all times, people in search of the right life, the right life. Have asked yourself, what are the values that count. Those looking for a huge treasure of knowledge of the past, Sages and scholars from Greece or China to find, in the case of Socrates, Confucius, and many others. Also, Christians have a clear ethical and moral standards, formulated clearly in the Ten Commandments.

Thou shalt not kill – Yes, that helps me even today. But I hope the one or other additional bid. Maybe as what not to buy, such as “Thou shalt on the Internet, if you are living inside cities are important”. Or “Thou shalt not on your phone rigid while your children need you”. So what is in the article And I wonder: Would Jesus have ordered his new sandals on the Internet? Would Confucius eat meat? Would Socrates mowing fruit, just because it was imported from new Zealand?


It has become more difficult to do the Right thing, because our options have hugely increased. In the Generation of my grandparents, a lot of people of what grew in your own garden nourished. In the Winter, there was no tomato. And, therefore, not the questions of ecological compatibility, to supply chains, CO2 Footprint and fair trade.

Likely to be realized in a globalised world, the last resident of an industrial country, that the consumer behavior has an impact – on the horizon of one’s own life. Because we know a lot, we would have to act actually. Because it has an impact, if, as in the last year, 4.1 billion people get on a plane. It is the impact, if for the production of cheap T-Shirts about 2500 liters of water are needed. Or if the production of a single Kilos of meat produced, depending on the invoice 15 to 30 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Still, I am always in a Dilemma. We are supposed to be mobile and flexible, but if possible, do not commute. The rent is always expensive, and the money, but to buy super cheap clothes can’t be right. Everything has its value. What values do I follow? And what will be the consequences? I order the organic farmers, the organic vegetable box, is the one of the Diesel delivered to Transporter cross through the city to our front door. I buy Fairtrade bananas in the supermarket are Packed in plastic, while the normal bananas without this extra cover do. And now?

How sustainable is it to spend half his life Possible, but to fly several times a year in the holidays? Who saves more resources? The wealthy Eco-fetish that resides on 180 square meters? Or the middle class family that can only afford half as much space and industrial meat buys from discounters?

As well? Something we want to do almost all – at least, we tell the pollsters that 85 percent of the Germans, to save energy at home, 81 per cent would lead to a more modest Lifestyle, if that could make a contribution to limiting global warming. 74 percent of the bags, after their own information, and more on the use of plastic. 57 percent eat less meat, and 49 percent say they have made the car more often, 46 per cent declare to fly less.

“Mind-Behaviour Gap”

However, the scientists noted a “Reduction Behaviour Gap”, aso there is a discrepancy between what people say and what people do. Example, meat consumption: According to surveys, 25 percent of consumers say they “always” or “often buy” organic Meat. Strange, because experts estimate that the share of organic Meat is on German plates is only about two percent. How can that fit together? Not at all. Apparently, it is easy to want the Right thing, and much harder to do the Right thing. Climate protection? To all of us. For this, we need to change our behavior. We don’t do that. We are not rational, as it provides for the theory of the “Homo oeconomicus” actually, but always irrational. The Nobel prize winner in Economics, Richard Thaler describes it in his book “Misbehaving”: We are fallible.

It gives you for a long time, those decision-making AIDS for a good, sustainable life, but we cheat ourselves again and again with real changes. The thing would be really serious and we were really consistent, we would have to teach us about the subject of nutrition, in accordance with the recommendations of an international Commission of experts. We should only consume half as much sugar and meat and have to eat twice as much fruit and vegetables. 43 grams of meat per day are considered to be exemplary.

As well? It is now virtually impossible to overlook the many good (and well intentioned) advice on the Internet, with which I was supposed to be educated Ökosau be a better person. Even wrapping paper is now regarded as the work of the devil. Also, detergent should I buy seems to be the best, but to produce, for example chestnut or ivy. I’m coming as a man, so just the use of a menstrual Cup (instead of Tampons), it facilitates me a lot.

I Must be equal to the extremists to Eco-in order to live responsibly? We Germans produce with 220 kilos of packaging waste per Person per year, significantly more than the average in Europe. But it helps the plastic waste in dying sea turtle, if I pass in the supermarket in shrink-wrapped Tortellini?

As the largest polluter in the world’s oceans apply to countries such as China, Indonesia or India. However, I am also affected, I have contributed my part to the fact that the amount of plastic waste in Germany in the last 20 years has almost doubled. Somewhat stunned, I learn that the whole of the German recycling system for packaging is separators a single big Scam to us eager Garbage: Not even six percent of our plastic waste back to the experts again in the production cycle. The Rest is burned or ends up in huge tailing piles, such as in Malaysia.

As well?

well How? The more I inform myself as a Consumer, the more confused I get: About 1000 different seals of quality courting on German products to my attention. However, binding Standards are lacking. Organic is not the same as organic, meat is not equal meat. Alone for pork Greenpeace lists seven different kinds of seal of quality. In the case of textiles, there are eight.

Even in the case of the money system clear orientation points are absent. A matter of honor, that I don’t know my money knowingly in weapons companies put. Green” Fund would be “an Alternative? Probably. But how “sustainable” the money system is, in fact, remains the big question. Also here: a lack of uniform Standards.

I have to rooms in my ethical standards for life today so even. Maybe I abkupfere in the case of great thinkers? Helpful would be now, if in the case of “Hard but fair” the gentlemen of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill discussed: Arises from the good Do a good character? Or good deeds bring forth only the good character? Or is it just the act itself, the obligation to so use his mind for the benefit of all, as it is Kantian in his famous categorical imperative has been formulated: “act only according to the Maxim by which you can at the same time want that it should become a universal law.”

Mill, in turn, would probably consider neither the motives nor the plot, but, above all, their consequences in the eye and say: Good is what is Good. Good and right, therefore, is what means the most Benefit for all who are affected by an action. It would be therefore good to punish children, even if in some countries, children still have the income of your family?

I can’t get more. And decide to make me on a little trip through Germany – people should know what is good and right: to the clergy, an ethicist and theologians, politicians and activists, a, an environmentalist and to an old person with life experience. So, How’s well?

The activist and politician

A small Café in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I’m meeting with a cross-head. Jan van Aken, 57, a trained biologist, was, among other things, genetic engineering expert at Greenpeace, UN-inspector for biological weapons, and was sitting for the Left for eight years in the German Bundestag. To date, he appears in Jeans, a gray hoodie and a white T-Shirt. Is traded the fair? Van Aken supported. Then he grins the grey jacket and the Shirt pulls over the head. Now he’s sitting bare-chested in the cafe and examined the sewn-in manufacturer’s plate on the T-Shirts. A Biolabel. Van Aken breathes on. “I have been for many years. Pretty good quality. But try to find a one ninety-six-a man like me, a Eco-hoodie. It is almost impossible.”

we are in the topic. How do I behave correctly and where the boundaries of my action? “I can’t conduct myself always and everywhere perfectly,” says van Aken, “our life is full of contradictions, and we have to live with. ‘Well’ life goes on, better and more conscious life.” Means: the salvation of The whole world still takes a bit.

No reason to fall into pessimism. It nuclear power will do well to remember that change in different areas was not possible: “? We got off the train. For a long time was unthinkable. Genetic engineering? In Germany there is not practical. Minimum wage? We have. Hambach Forest? Our consciousness changes. All of this makes me courage.”

Van Aken says, he believes “100 percent” in the Good in people. “I understand that we feel from all of the decision options will be overwhelmed,” he says. But it’ll help to get rid of the pressure, always and everywhere, achieve the Maximum. “I don’t like Eco-Suppressed past, because didn righteousness makes you ugly.”

autonomy and independence

van Aken rises quite to the plane – but never thoughtless. He buys also in the Nichtbio cheese – simply because of the taste of him. Oeating in a football stadium, the normal Bratwurst – because it belongs to him.

He considers what is going on for him and what is not. Online shopping, for example, is not. Or to buy things just because they are cheap. The other day he had a cold and wanted to cook a chicken soup. A chicken from mass animal husbandry costs a few Euro, a Biohuhn 25. That was him to expensive. So he has bought only half a Biohuhn. “We come every day to such a decision. Where it is easy to sense in three seconds. In order to make it clear what you are doing. And in order to overcome their own inertia.”

There are, according to van Aken, a lot to do. Coal phase-out, to a new peace movement, new ideas for mobility. “We are 82 million people,” says van Aken. “If everyone does something, changes something. Why not in a trade Union, advocacy, get involved, volunteer, adopt, act politically?”

Van Aken adopted. His coffee he pays. This is also his Conviction that autonomy and independence are important. I’m going back to Hamburg.

The environmentalist

The offices of Greenpeace Germany in Hamburg’s HafenCity are grouped on several floors around an Atrium, which serves as an exhibition space. Through the interactive exhibits, as a modern sculpture, a ten-Meter high, the vortex-shaped Installation made of plastic waste. With the exhibition, Greenpeace will inspire me some food for thought:

An average German owns 10,000 things.

All man-made things together weigh about 60,000 times as much as all the people.

Everyone in the UK buys about 60 pieces of clothing in a year. Clothing is always repaired rare, but simply thrown away. About half of the German was never at the tailor.

60 percent of our clothing is made of synthetic fibers. A single piece of clothing can lose in the wash of 700,000 synthetic fibers, as a micro-plastic into the waste water.