Sleepily, with no idea of the time, I opened my eyes. Out of habit, I grabbed my phone to see what time it was. A few seconds later, I was shocked to realize that it was already half past five! I had about twenty minutes to get ready, or I'd miss the demonstration in Berlin!
Why didn't I just sleep in and miss the demonstration?
Here's the story from the beginning: I had spent a quiet, relaxing Sunday not just watching television (including a fascinating debate on public television about nuclear energy), but also getting myself mentally prepared to participate in a demonstration for the first time in my life.
Why was the demonstration even happening?
As SMA employees, we were joining other representatives of solar companies, unions, environmental associations, and thousands of ordinary citizens to protest the German Federal Government's plan to scale back its commitment to renewable energies. The plan includes a hefty reduction in the subsidies that solar power receives from its feed-in tariff. This would have far-reaching consequences for the entire photovoltaic market as well as for Germany's once planned energy revolution. In protest, more than 1,500 SMA employees traveled by bus and train to Berlin, hoping that a massive demonstration would convince the center-right government not to proceed with this short-sighted plan.
You never know what you can do!
So, back to the start of the story: My smartphone (which I “smartly” use as my alarm clock) rang at 4 in the morning. I'll admit that turning it off in confusion and closing my eyes “for just a few minutes” was NOT the best way to get up on time! But this fascinating blog post (fascinating for me, anyway) has a happy ending. I actually managed to shower, dry off, get dressed, AND check out my beloved SMA career page in just under 20 minutes, however unrealistic that might seem!
It was worth the hurry. Traveling to Berlin and back with other SMA employees, and of course the demonstration itself, made me realize once more why I love going to work every day! The weather in Berlin was fantastic, and the atmosphere was simply sensational. The fact that I was supposed to take pictures for my department (Employer Branding) made it easy for me to gather positive impressions.
The darkest hour is just before dawn
Now we can only wait and hope that we made a difference and the government will take our protest seriously. But even as we worry, we should also look at the bright side (although that may be easier said than done) -> The experience brought us all even more together as a team.
Even if rain clouds loom on the horizon, we should all look forward to a sunny future!
PS: I have attached my snapshots below. They say more than a thousand words and without them I would have gone way over a thousand words. 🙂 I hope that after this “nerve-wracking” story, at least you enjoy the pictures!