Steinmeier: “We have only one planet”


250 years ago, Alexander von Humboldt was born. Even then, he warned of the destruction of nature. Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened now in Ecuador, the Humboldt year.

Steinmeier with Director Stephanie Pauwels on the Isla Grande: Alexander von Humboldt came to the 30.3.1801

“Plastic is our biggest enemy,” says Stephanie Pauwels. Everything to you looks like in Paradise: the deep blue sea, bright sandy beach and a wild mangrove landscape. The vibration of nature is here to listen to positively and feel. Pauwels is the head of the huge nature protection area “Corales del Rosario”, a gigantic group of Islands in front of Cartagena in Colombia. It shows the President in the midst of this spell, the Idyll is deceptive. Because nature is here threatened: Of mass tourism, climate change, dynamite-fishing, and, of plastic.

Also John bird, head of the natural history Museum in Berlin, warns of the devastating consequences of plastic waste for the environment.

A few hours later, Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, delivers a speech to the 250. Birthday of Humboldt. The hall is filled with academics, students and a lot of political prominence. In his speech the President calls on world governments to deal finally with the issue of plastic waste-intensive: “It is late, but all the more necessary”. Not only here in Quito – in the whole of Latin America Alexander von Humboldt is revered as a Hero and pioneer in his time. Frank-Walter Steinmeier has gone with his wife Elke Büdenbender on his tracks.

Andes expedition: starting in Cartagena

Alexander von Humboldt is 30 years old, as he can finally fulfil his dream: A journey of exploration through Latin America. In 1799, he sails in Spain, in order to understand the world through careful observation. In order to collect data and facts, to feel the nature and to experience and to measure. The young researcher is to depend on the search the big.

30. In March 1801 a Alexander von Humboldt in Cartagena and sail along the beautiful mangrove forests that are now threatened.

In Humboldt’s footsteps: the mangrove landscape in the nature reserve “Corales del Rosario” in Colombia

The port city is Humboldt’s only station for another daring adventure: He wants to explore the Andes, and with his companion Aimé Bonpland to Lima. Walk. Almost 4000 kilometers. An unimaginable ordeal. Most violent snow storms on the mountain in tropical heat chains in the valleys. The mules are Packed full of food, but even with all the measuring instruments and records, the animal and plant collections.

On incredibly narrow paths, you are on the go. “They had to run long distances barefoot, had bloody feet. The shoes, the clothes were not made easily,” says Humboldt biographer Andrea Wulf, which accompanied the Federal President of the Latin America trip. “Humboldt is not traveled different than other explorers – with a large Entourage, and he was not wearing it.”

Steinmeier on the Humboldt’s traces

Already 200 years ago, Humboldt understands that humans influence the climate and Soil erosions caused when he cut down the rain forest, and mono-cultures. He had to be right as the father of Ecology, says Steinmeier.

At the same time, the world explorers to inspire his readers and listeners. He was a pioneer of science communication. “Humboldt has gone from the ivory tower of the scientist and his sober world of communication out and he carried the emotional world in the science,” says Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In the Foundation’s outstanding scientists from all over the world of networking today. Humboldt had the.

Hans-Christian Pape with the stone Meier’s: Humboldt has left the ivory tower

And also in the political questions of the universal mixes with the genius of Humboldt. Slavery in the colonies, he condemned in the strongest possible terms. With the utmost respect, he met the Indians, and for their freedom. “He has criticised the Church is strong because he has seen how bad the missionaries treated the indigenous peoples,” says the biographer, Wulf. “He is marching through a endless number of silver mines in Peru and Mexico, and has denounced the cruel treatment and exploitation of the mine workers again and again.”

Back in Europe, Humboldt is not railed so vehemently against colonialism, the British have to leave India. “Why you should leave such a difficult Prussia in your colony?”, smiles Wulf.

Humboldt superior performance but its ability to from the examined smallest Detail to the big picture. “At the time, the scientists in their ever-narrowing disciplines are ends climbed. And, as Humboldt has done exactly the opposite. He has tried everything to bring together,” says Andrea Wulf. “Humboldt has revolutionized our understanding of nature. He described nature as a living organism.”

At the beginning of January in 1802 Humboldt station in Quito. For the volcano research interested, Quito is an ideal base. Here he is climbing every volcano, it can reach. The researchers want to understand how the earth came to be.

Not to the creation of the earth, but your threat, it goes to the Federal President in 2019 in Quito. “The entire Ecosystem of the earth is threatened,” warns Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “We have only one planet. Therefore, we are not able to do so on”. The protection of the environment needed to succeed in the future. A call to each Individual to change his behavior. That was Humboldt’s message for the 21st century. Century, Steinmeier said. The anniversary year for the 250. The birthday of Alexander von Humboldt is opened.