by Rose-Anne Clermont
A version of the following article was originally published April 8, 2011. Last month, German parliament approved plans to shut down the nation’s nuclear plants by 2022, becoming the first industrialized nation to abandon atomic energy. The following article has been updated accordingly. – Ed.
When I moved here for the first time in 1998, I found environmental issues impossible to ignore. Public trash cans already had four separate compartments. I watched people in business suits ride their bikes to work. Plastic shopping bags at the grocery store were not free. Trash collection was a significant bill, and filling up my car cost three times as much as back home.