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WOMEN

Why women will march in Vienna on Saturday

Hundreds of women (men are also welcome) are expected to attend the Women’s March on Vienna on January 21st, the day after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, in a show of support for human and civil rights.

Why women will march in Vienna on Saturday
The march will start at Karlsplatz. Photo: LMih/Wikimedia

The Vienna event is one of more than 60 ‘sister’ marches being held around the world in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington on the same day.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the Washington march, which was set up by a retired lawyer to protest against Trump’s inauguration. As well as the multiple marches in the US, events are being held in European cities including London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Berlin, Geneva and Copenhagen.

The global event is not intended to be an exclusively anti-Trump march but a show of support for civil rights, and is supported by 200 progressive groups representing issues including legal abortion, affordable healthcare, voting rights, racial equality and the environment.

Caroline Kirkpatrick grew up on the East Coast of the United States and has lived in Austria for a year and a half. She spoke to The Local about why she decided to organise a march in Vienna. “After the election result I felt more than just disappointment, I felt a combination of many deep emotions and as an American living abroad I felt helpless and alone. Soon, I heard about the Women's March on Washington. I automatically wanted to go and began scouring the internet for flights. Finally there was a way to speak my voice and not feel so alone. When I found the journey would be long and expensive, I began to feel helpless again.

That's when I noticed sister marches popping up across the States. I thought, if they can do it in San Francisco, why can't I do it in Vienna? I posted on the Women of Vienna Facebook group and quickly received comments from women saying that they would stand with me. I created a Facebook event… and so it all began.”

Caroline Kirkpatrick. Photo: Private

Kirkpatrick says she was overwhelmed by the response she received on the event page. “I thought maybe ten women from the States would join me, we'd stand together, feel a little less alone and head home feeling a little better.

Soon after I created the Facebook page I was contacted by Karen Olsen, from the Geneva March. She told me that there were more women doing what I was doing abroad. More cities, more marches…and that they were all working together, creating a supportive network for planning and learning. Since then, the campaign has exploded. We are active in almost 60 countries and well over 100 cities abroad. It has turned into a bigger global movement responding to the rising rhetoric of far-right populism around the world.”

She hopes the marches will act as a “wake-up call” for people, who might be encouraged to get more involved in grassroots activism. “Prior to all of this I really had no interest in politics… even being just a little more awake to current events in politics is a big step for me. I hope it will have the same type of impact on others: to be more aware, reach out to local communities and join together to stand up for the basic rights of all living beings. When we all stand together, we are heard.”

Over 700 people have confirmed their attendance via the Facebook event page already. People will meet in front of the Karlskirche at midday on Saturday, and march in the direction of Stadtpark. The march is open to all supporters of civil rights.

 

For members

ENERGY

From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Winter is approaching and with it a higher use of energy. Here’s what the City of Vienna is doing to save gas and electricity this winter.

From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

As the war in Ukraine continues and energy prices skyrocket, Austria could be in for a tough winter.

To offset some of the impacts, the City of Vienna is now preparing for the cold season and rolling out a series of energy saving measures.

The aim is to reduce energy consumption in the Austrian capital by 15 percent by the end of March 2023, which is in line with the target set by the European Commission earlier this year.

FOR MEMBERS: UPDATED: How reliant is Austria on Russia for energy?

Mayor Michael Ludwig said: “Cooperation in Vienna is the most important basis for getting through difficult times well and safely.

“We proved that during the pandemic and we will prove that now. Our motto is: stick together so that everyone stays warm.”

Here are the main elements of the plan.

Ice skating

The Wiener Eistraum ice skating rink on Rathausplatz is scheduled to run from January to March 2023. But, according to the Wiener Zeitung, there is uncertainty over whether it can take place at all this winter.

The structure on Vienna’s town hall square is a popular winter attraction in the city. It attracts both locals and tourists with pretty lighting and pre-heated ice skates for hire. But it also requires a lot of energy to operate.

As a result, there is a possibility that the Wiener Eistraum could be cancelled or scaled back, although a final decision hasn’t been made yet.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Christmas markets

The Wiener Zeitung reports that Vienna’s Christmas market in front of the Rathausplatz is currently not at risk of being cancelled – at least not under the current plans.

The Rathausplatz is the city’s biggest Christmas market and is scheduled to open on November 19th, which is one week later than in 2021.

Lighting

The City of Vienna said the conversion to LED street lighting is continuing across the capital. So far, around half of the city’s 153,000 street lamps have been replaced with LED bulbs. 

The use of street lighting in Vienna has also changed. From 10pm, lighting in low-traffic areas is reduced to 75 percent, and then to 50 percent after midnight.

The LED street lighting project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 60 percent and is part of the city’s long-term energy saving plans.

Administrative buildings, campuses and pools

Energy saving measures are also being rolled out across administrative buildings, at public pools and educational buildings in Vienna.

The Town Hall claims that around 193,000 MWh (or €14.7 million) has already been saved at 42 government buildings, including at kindergartens and schools.

Further energy saving projects are planned for the Jörgerbad, Floridsdorferbad and Kongressbad public pools.

Additionally, the Liselotte-Hansen-Schmidt campuses in Donaustadt, Liesing and Penzing are heated and cooled with geothermal energy. They are also fitted with large photovoltaic systems.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Investment in the energy network

Between 2022 and 2026, Wiener Stadtwerke Group will invest around €6.2 billion to improve Vienna’s energy infrastructure, with €5.7 billion earmarked for “climate-friendly investments”. 

Wien Energie is investing €1.2 billion into the conversion of the energy system by 2026 and around €400 million is reserved for the expansion of renewable electricity production.

Peter Hanke, City Councillor for Economic Affairs, said: “In addition to the city’s goal of being climate-neutral by 2040, the security of supply for the Viennese is particularly important to me. 

“By 2030, we will invest around €3 billion in the network security of the federal capital Vienna via Wiener Netze. 

“Such a stable power grid makes the integration of renewable energies possible because 90 percent of the energy transition takes place in the distribution grid.” 

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