A top Green Party official has caused controversy by suggesting Germans use washcloths instead of taking showers, as well as buying expensive eco-heating systems that are unaffordable for the average person.
The comments were made by Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann in response to the energy crisis, which will be exacerbated this winter as a result of gas shortages caused by the war in Ukraine.
“Even the washcloth is a useful invention,” the Green politician told Südwest-Presse.
Bragging about his own eco-credentials, Kretschmann boasted, “I have an electric car, I have a huge photovoltaic system on the roof.”
The pellet heating system Kretschmann uses in his home costs anything up to €21,000 euros and beyond, a figure completely unrealistic for Germans already struggling to pay their energy bills.
Remix News explained the actual environmental cost of Kretschmann’s so-called solution.
“Wired magazine reports that these devices rely primarily on wood pellets sourced from forests in the southeastern United States. They are then shipped halfway around the world to individuals like Kretschmann despite many scientists arguing that these pellets are just as polluting as coal.”
“Although they come from a renewable resource, forests are cut down across the U.S. to make this resource, and according to Greenpeace, the practice destroys biodiversity and ruins entire ecosystems. Scientists estimate it takes between 44 to over 100 years for these forests to grow back, and for those worried about climate change, they say this destruction of natural forests will cost the planet immeasurably.”
The reaction to Kretschmann’s advice probably wasn’t what the green politician anticipated, with the hashtag #Waschlappen hashtag (German for “washcloth”) trending on Twitter.
“Our country faces an energy crisis that threatens the prosperity of millions of people! And what is the answer of the green father Kretschmann? Don’t shower every day: ‘The #Waschlappen is also a useful invention.’ What kind of people actually govern Germany?” asked Gerhard Papke, the president of the German-Hungarian Society.