The German passion for environmental protection was fueled initially in the late 1970s and early '80s by reports of Waldsterben
, or "forest death"--the widespread damage to the country's forests caused by air pollution.
Acid rain has so damaged the Black Forest that Germans have invented a sad word, Waldsterben
, or forest-death.
This is different from the outright forest death or Waldsterben
from sulfur' dioxide that has claimed thousands of acres along Germany's border with Poland and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (Czechoslovakia).
Nevertheless, the Greens remain divided over a gaggle of issues, including Waldheim's future, and some believe that by being "more upset by Waldheim that Waldsterben
[dying forests]," they will dilute their ecological and regional identity.
He grew up in Basel, Switzerland, in a time which was characterized by affluence and unlimited economic growth but at the same time oil price crises, publications on limits to growth, Waldsterben
and technical disasters like Bhopal, Seveso, Tchernobyl and Schweizerhalle.
How much more interesting, for instance, Kiefer appears when his work is examined in the context of Waldsterben
, "forest-death," and given a pedigree not just art-historical but historical, one encompassing not only Kiefer's own postwar Germany but Tacitus' and Arminius' 1st-century views of Germania; the nationalist ecology of Nazism; the 19th-century forest landscapes of Friedrich and Georg Friedrich Kersting; and even the remarkable 18th-century phenomenon of the "xylotheque,' "wooden libraries" devoted to trees their books being bound in the bark of the particular arboreal variety examined in each volume.