Alwin Seifert - first German environmentalist

Alwin Seifert is  German landscape designer, architect, local historian, environmentalist, associate professor of the Munich Technical...

Alwin Seifert is German landscape designer, architect, local historian, environmentalist, associate professor of the Munich Technical University. He is considered one of the most significant activists who have launched environmental movement and biodynamic agriculture in the time of the National Socialist regime.

Seifert have appeared due to the leadership of the National Socialist Party in 1934, when he was appointed adviser on integration of land in the construction of highways. He also wrote articles, which raised sensitive issues, so he tried to influence the attitude of people toward nature and landscape. In the brochure "The devastation in Germany," he asked the opinion of the Inspector General of Water Resources on the issue of creating a joint research institute.

In 1933, Fritz Todt (the general inspector  of  German motorways) turned it into the headquarters of Commissioners (where he later became chief inspector) for the construction of highways, and on May 31, 1940 Seifert was appointed Reich's  chief environmentalist. As an advisor to Todt, Alwin Seifert became the head of landscape architects, conservationists and geobotanists through which he tried to implement his ideas. Seifert was the initiator of the idea that if each department of planning and construction of highways could act as an adviser and  "defender of the landscape", he could oversaw the invasion of any nature. These advisers after they had studied the structure of the soil and analyzed the typical vegetation of the area, were present during the clearing of trees and shifting layers of the earth. In the interest to achieve a "fair" in relation to the nature of the construction of highways Seifert authorized geobotanic Reinhold Tyuksen to  determine the location for the construction in such a way not to harm the potential vegetation in selected areas. Such places had become "hotbeds" of the natural landscaping of Germany.

Seifert Todt called himself the "fanatical ecologist." Seifert believed that "environmental revolution" is an integral part of the "national revolution", as he criticized Walter Darre to be a "too soft environmentalist." He keyed the National Socialists regulations on the protection and conservation of nature and he considered half-hearted, incomplete, even though they brought Reich ecology far ahead compared to the rest of the world. The result of the activities of the group of like-minded Seifert and Hess was under the auspices of a set of laws, united under the title "The Law for the Protection of Nature in the Reich." Seifert outside in the world represented a great synthesis of philosophy: he considered the best engineering solutions those that were the most friendly to nature, and optimal protection of nature so it is at the same time the optimal protection of agriculture. His motives were not only pragmatic, but also metaphysical; for example,  he saw the water as a living being, and believed that close to nature a person feels and understands better.

Being steeped in folk tradition, Seifert also paid much attention to hydraulic engineering construction and on the right was regarded as the founder of the engineering of biology. He put a lot of effort in the development of biodynamic agriculture, based on Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy. During the reign of the National Socialists Alwin Seifert also turned his attention to the "natural prophet 'Densely Grazer, who was a supporter of the reforms of Karl Wilhelm Dieffenbach and which he presented in his book" The Age of living beings "as a" prophet "and" precursor "of this very era .
Before coming to the National Socialist authorities Seifert was already interested in racial issues, and he supported an antisemitic position, but in the 1940s under the influence of anthroposophy, he renounced to the idea of ​​"racial superiority", which was triggered by the materialist worldview, and natural instincts, appealing to true human values, It had been lost for over a decade now.
However, after World War II Seifert published works were seized by the Soviet occupation authorities of the Academy of Sonthofen. During the denazification era  Seifert was declared a "fellow traveler", but then (in 1949) his charges were dropped and he tried to return to his work in the field of landscape architecture. And though he failed to take the post of chief public defender of the environment, he was offered a place at the Department of landscape and landscape structures (roads and hydraulic structures) at the Technical University of Munich. In  years between 1958 - 1963 he was the head of Alwin Seifert Society for Nature Conservation in Bavaria, which then was at the origins of society BUND (Association for the protection of the environment and nature protection Germany).

In 1961, Seifert was one of those who signed the manifesto of the Green Charter of Mainau (manifesto, calling for more active protection of the environment, which has become, to a certain extent, a forerunner of the modern "environmental revolution").

Seifert was doing composting in his  garden since 1930 and announced his findings in 1945. In his book on gardening, written in the 1970s, he talks about the method of loosening the ground without the use of pesticides. This edition has gained great popularity among the supporters of green environmental movement in the development of agriculture. The book also has been recognized by the World Union for the protection of human life.

As a result, since 1945, the environmental movement was branded as Nazi. An entire generation of the founders of the environmental movement has been concentrated in Germany, sufficient to cite the names of Ludwig Klages, Alwin Seifert, Bernhard Grzimek, Konrad Lorenz and influenced the formation of his brothers Ernst and Friedrich Jünger and Martin Heidegger.

Despite all the negative opinions on National Socialism, society memorized Seifert as professional gardener, and primarily as the founding father of "ecological gardening."


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