Biodiversity: Referendum collected half of the votes needed in just five days

  • A few days after the start of the referendum, five percent and thus half of the necessary votes are already together. This is the result of extrapolations by the initiators.
  • Meanwhile, the political discussion about it will be sharper, destroy opponents and remove posters.
  • Ludwig Hartmann, leader of the Greens, describes the mood in the country as "heated up".

Who cares about bees in the winter? Apparently a lot. Already half a million people should have registered for the referendum to save biodiversity and especially the bees. This is the result of extrapolations by the initiators. Five days after the start of the request, five percent and thus half of the necessary votes would already be together.

The referendum could thus become one of the most successful in Bavaria. Accordingly, the mood in the country is tense with opponents and supporters. By all means, it seems they are trying to influence voters in their favor until the end of registration on 13 February. In the country open letters are sent back and forth, more or less correct info sheets distributed and posters destroyed. In the state parliament, members of the Greens are currently also appearing with beehive. On Tuesday, bees lay on their tables as knitted cuddly animals. With biodiversity, the Greens set a topic on Parliament's agenda that is currently moving Bavaria like no other.

Environment and nature conservation in Bavaria queuing up for the rescue of the bees

Referendum on Species Protection

Queuing up to rescue the bees

More than 11,243 residents in Munich have registered in the city hall until the evening – this is more than on the entire first day of the successful referendum on non-smoker protection.By Thomas Anlauf


Greens and SPD campaigned as supporters of the referendum for binding rules in environmental protection. "We are experiencing the largest extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs," said Ludwig Hartmann, leader of the Greens. About 40,000 animal and plant species from grasshopper to skylark are threatened in Bavaria. The state government has not been able to stop the loss of species and make in the discussion about the referendum "extended lobbying arm of the farmers' association". A flyer about by Digital Minister Judith Gerlach, which is distributed as an argument against the referendum, was simply wrong. There is to read, Bavaria is the leader in organic farming, although it takes only eighth place.

Also, the assertion of the farmers' association that the referendum would bring less subsidies to farmers, do not agree. "The referendum will mean more money for the farmers and not less," said Hartmann. CSU and farmers' association fought "in a friendly unity" against the referendum, while the CSU should know better, said Florian von Brunn of the SPD. Finally, the state government itself found that the loss of species was due to intensive agriculture. Those who say otherwise try to "mislead people." The previous measures to species loss would have missed their goal: "The CSU dogma of voluntariness has failed."

Environment and nature conservation in Bavaria Biodiversity


In Affalterbach, a district of Pfaffenhofen, a poster for the referendum was pasted over.

(Photo: Private)

All other parties accuse the Greens and the SPD of making the farmers the sole bogeyman. "We do not want to just point the finger at the supposedly bad farmers, but get everyone on board," said Hans Friedl of the Free Voters. Ingo Hahn (AfD) would rather read "Save the peasants" instead of "Save the bees" and the FDP pointed out that in addition to conventional farming there are other levers that could be turned. Everyone agrees that bees, butterflies and hare must be kept in Bavaria. Environment Minister Thorsten Glauber (FW) even promised "a trend reversal in species extinction" still in this legislative period. It needs solutions that "integrate and do not split". Prime Minister Markus Söder set the goal of practicing climate and species protection with the farmers. Otherwise there is a danger that "there will be no peace in the country in the long run".

Posters for the referendum are stolen, destroyed or pasted over

Even now, peace seems to be disturbed in some places. Almost everywhere in Bavaria, posters for the referendum would be stolen, destroyed or pasted over, says Markus Erlwein of the federal association for bird protection, one of the carriers of the referendum. So far, he has reports from four out of seven government districts. In the Upper Bavarian Mammendorf, the action alliance hardly comes with the Nachplakatieren afterwards. Three posters have been removed, as well as a big banner. The action alliance there responded to its opponents by setting up a banner with the message: "Poster theft does not stop species extinction."

Altogether, according to estimates by Erlwein, about 70 posters have disappeared or been pasted over. For the action alliances meant that quite a "financial loss". He can not say who is behind the actions, but points out that many posters were pasted over with a motif, which can also be found on the homepage of the farmers' association. Erlwein accuses the poster destroyers of "bad style". There are currently 200 events to discuss with the Alliance. Anyone who does not know what to do with his arguments and therefore commits crimes is "simply undemocratic". Anyone who destroys a poster must expect an ad for property damage, says Ludwig Hartmann.

How much the discussion stirs up the Bavarians, shows in the community Finning in Swabia. There, the mayor has withdrawn his original permission to placate at the city entrance signs, again under pressure from the local council. "A community should behave neutrally," says the non-party mayor Siegfried Weißenbach. A member of the LBV from the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen reported to Erlwein von Bauern, who should have threatened citizens with public ostracism if they campaign for the referendum. Around 15 young farmers had "pretty aggressively" pressed people who were due to sign on the Munich Marienplatz. This is the statement of the city hall leaders of the Alliance.

"Heated Up" Hartmann describes the mood in the country and appeals to all, less to talk about the way of dealing with, than about the contents. To the objectification of the discussion could serve a message from the science: The demanded in the referendum legislative changes could according to Max Planck researchers stop the disappearance of insects and birds, the Max Planck Society announced. She is now one of the supporters of the referendum.

"The referendum should save much more than just the bees"

The supporters of "Save the bees!" call for more organic farming and less pesticides. Helga Pausch is a beekeeper. She explains what the initiative means to her.Interview by Merlin Gröber


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