Saturday night, I finish in a second attempt director Adam McKay’s film Don’t Look up. I felt compelled to turn off in a first attempt after only 30 minutes. Don’t Look up is Netflix’ second highest grossing production. It’s a cash cow. One which is described as dark comedy, a satire of government, political, and media indifference to the climate crisis. I couldn’t find the comedy aspects in it. The way it has been made reflects how sick our hedonistic societies are. And it made me literally sick.
Our next stop is a same size tilia platyphyllus a few kilometers south from where we start a three hour hike. The wind makes it occasionally difficult to walk. The kids think its fun, I think it’s a manifestation of climate change since I can’t remember such frequent storms from my childhood. How the trees must suffer under such a storm. We cross under the A1, the country’s main highway, in a tunnel and encounter loads of trash on both sides. The signs of a closeby service area with restaurant and gas station where drivers discharge their waste on the parking lot.
A rolling landscape opens the view to the snow-covered northern Alps and after another half an hour we enter a forest which I identified on the satellite map as the main attraction on this route. I am however first disappointed then even horrified as we get deeper into the forest. The storm is ear deafening, making it hardly possible to talk to each other and the spruce monoculture has created an acidic soil which is poison to most understory plants.
Austria is considered to be a green country, one in which nature protection is a priority, but where once mixed broad leaf forests covered the surface, capitalist forestry has supplanted oaks, wild cherries and limes, with this ugly spruce monoculture with no tree older than thirty years. We follow a little creek and after another half an hour I notice a hidden fault line in the forest landscape which turns away from the forest trail which has been recently used by heavy machinery.
We walk north and discover a probably 150-year-old beech which nestles in a line with an approximately 200-year-old oak along this old path. East and west the spruce monoculture extends as far as the eye can see and looks not much different from the Malaysian palm oil plantations which I still have in my long time Asian memory. Why did film maker Werner Boote back in 2017 shoot The Green Lie in Malaysia, if there is so much more to discover back home?
Not far from the beech the forest has been partially cleared and about two dozen twenty-meter-high spruces have given way to the force of the storm. Like a game of Mikado they are scattered on the ground and lean against adjacent trees. A picture of disaster which reminds me of our 2020 visit to Japan were we saw a three dozen century old trees having been destroyed by a storm only a few days earlier. Can there be something like a graveyard for trees? Did the ditches in Srebrenica look any different?