By Monika Griefahn
„Trees wouldn’t vote for Trump…“ – that’s how the forester and author Peter Wohlleben summarised his view on the current political landscape. Trees, he says, know that they can only survive as part of a group. And he has further memorable statements:
„When men go into the forest, they usually take a chainsaw with them. Women are more sensitive.“
„Environmental protection is mainly human protection. The planet would easily regenerate if mankind caused its own extinction.“
In his very entertaining manner Peter Wohlleben, author of books such as „The Secret Life of Trees“, „The Mental Life of Animals“ or „Nature’s Secret Network“, spoke about his work as a forester. He has established a Forest Academy in order to teach as many people as possible about the ecology of forests. Because you only protect what you know about.
Wohlleben was just one of many authors who made this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair a worthwhile event. The French pavilion, which featured great design, demonstrated that literature can achieve anything. The audio-visual areas of the fair let visitors not only read but also listen to poetry.
The Kosmos publishing house presented beautifully designed children’s books that are made to Cradle to Cradle specifications, including such wonderful titles as „Does the Lion have to go to the Hairdresser?“ or „Animals in the Night“. Renate Michel at the Kosmos booth told me excitedly that the Cradle to Cradle info flyers had already gone out of stock on Saturday morning and that the response had been very positive.
The authors Christiane Grefe and Susanne Mayer discussed with Nils Minkmar, an editor at Der Spiegel magazine, about the book „Democracy on the Line – What do we do?“ In particular, I was pleased to hear Grefe’s plea to get involved in politics. Because democracy is something that must be continuously re-achieved over and over again through hard work. The proceeds from the book will be donated to Reporters without Borders, a truly important organization at a time when journalists are being arrested or even murdered in many countries! Only recently the journalist Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta, which after all is a member state of the European Union.
The politician and scientist Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and the member of the German parliament Matthias Miersch held an engaging and exciting debate about the new report from the Club of Rome „It’s Our Turn“. In 1972 the Club of Rome published its report „The Limits to Growth“ which forecast the collapse of the systems. Although its predictions were not far off the mark the Club of Rome today is slightly more optimistic. There must be change, but commitment is easier when one still believes that something can be changed.
I also found a lot of reading suggestions and tips at the fair. The overall highlight of course was the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to Margaret Atwood. Eva Manasse excellently analyzed the „precision of the knife-thrower“ as she called it in her laudatory speech.