Joint press release by the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

Online debate: How can we adopt a resource-conserving lifestyle?

Have a say in the update to the German Resource Efficiency Programme

Woman standing in a pedestrian zone with a lot of fashion store shopping bags in her hands and in front of herClick to enlarge
The world today is using nearly twice the amount of raw materials as 30 years ago.
Source: Franz Pfluegl / Fotolia.com

Should the government tighten the statutory guarantee period and intervene more heavily in product standards matters? What must be done to make it easier to avoid waste in households and companies? These and other questions are being discussed online by the public at www.gespraechstoff-ressourcen.de as part of a public dialogue entitled GesprächStoff: Ressourcenschonend leben.

The outcome of the public dialogue, referred to as "Bürgerratschlag", will be taken into account in the updates of the National Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess II). Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said: "It is for good reason that we are giving the public an opportunity to weigh in with their ideas on a government programme. The question of how to conserve our natural resources and secure the associated right to development and prosperity for everyone is a matter that concerns all of us. The public dialogue on resource conservation is a fitting platform to discuss this."

A new smartphone every two years, a bigger family car, a large modern furnished flat or own home – symbols of prosperity but also of a high level of consumption of natural resources. On a global scale people are using nearly twice the amount of raw materials as 30 years ago. Many of Germany's households have are acquiring more and more large appliances, mobile phones and computers.

Maria Krautzberger, President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), said: "Consumption of natural resources such as freshwater, land and raw materials as well as the competition for limited resources are on the rise worldwide, as are the global environmental problems such as soil degradation which result. Efficient use of natural resources is a major challenge of our time and a key topic of environmental policy. The online dialogue gives everyone a change to add their own ideas about how to achieve resource efficiency in our lifestyles and policies."

Germany's Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess), launched in 2012, made it one of the first nations to agree on guiding principles and approaches to becoming more efficient and environmentally compatible in the use of such raw materials as metals, petroleum, sand, gravel, and wood. The programme is now being updated. From now until 3 July 2015 the public is invited to weigh in with ideas and suggestions via the www.gespraechstoff-ressourcen.de online platform. Citizen ambassadors will be selected from among the participants who will convey the proposals which have received majority support (Bürgerratschlag) to the Federal Environment and Building Minister. The Bürgerratschlag will be taken into account in the further development of the German Resource Efficiency Programme, which will serve as the basis for future resource policies.

Five "citizens' workshops" in different cities around Germany are being held in the course of the online dialogue, three of which have already taken place and were attended by more than 130 people. The remaining two workshops in Düsseldorf and Heubach (Ostalbkreis district) will be held by the end of June. The proposals which emerge from the citizens' workshops will also be included in the Bürgerratschlag. The www.gespraechstoff-ressourcen.de online platform records the dialogue outcome and is also the source of information about the public dialogue.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau
Germany

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 Ressourcenschonung  Bürgerdialog