09.03.2023 - Berlin - Company-News

Die Ablenkungsfalle – Book launch in Berlin

Reinhard Schneider writes about the hidden tricks of ecology obstructionists

Berlin — Werner  & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider, winner of the German Environmental Award 2019, presented his book Die Ablenkungsfalle at the Heinrich-Böll Stiftung, The Green Political Foundation.

The work analyzes the obstacles that stop our society, politicians and businesses from taking on responsibility for the environment. What mechanisms are at work in our society that ensure almost nothing happens despite widespread awareness of the environmental threats we face?

In his book, Schneider unmasks some of the fundamental diversionary traps that many have more or less accepted. “We see that in a long-term contract made to the detriment of a third party, that is, the environment, Nature. Supposed carbon offsetting, phony recycling or PR promises instead of communication of real achievements – it’s all misleading, disguised by the interaction of responsible social players.”

However, things could be different—not with aggressive dirigisme, but with the systematic construction of something that, in the end, we “want to be able to do” instead of what we “must do”. We have examples of such qualified trust emerging when responsibility for the environment is taken on and taken seriously. That kind of accountability serves as a much-needed counterweight to the structural opportunism practiced by many major corporations.


Large sectors of our society have to overcome their learned helplessness.

If we succeed in disclosing the diversionary traps of greenwashing and the ritual blame-games while also providing easier access to the best, most environmentally effective technologies, a functioning circular economy will no longer be a utopia. However, it will become an economic success only with a new reward system in place.


To that end, politicians, particularly in Germany, have not yet devised incentives or signaled their intentions.

A striking example is the current taxation policy that is disadvantageous to plastic recycling in our country.

At the end of the book presentation, these topics were discussed by a panel made up of  Susanne Szech-Koundouros from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK); Janine Korduan from Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND e.V.); Dr. Claas Oehlmann from the Federation of German Industry (BDI e.V.); Nora Sophie Griefahn from Cradle to Cradle NGO; and Schneider, the book’s author. Moderator Hanna Gersmann led the lively debate among representatives from politics, business and environmental associations, NGOs and the engaged audience.


The book Die Ablenkungsfalle. Die versteckten Tricks der Ökologie-Bremser. Wie wir unsere Umwelt nicht länger aufs Spiel setzen goes on sale on 14 March. Advance orders can be placed on the Website of the oekom Verlag: