This article appeared in the June 25, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Thirsty Neo-Nazis and errant ducklings

Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters/File
A vendor waits for customers during the far-right rock music festival "Schwert und Schild" (Sword and Shield) in Ostritz, Germany, April 20, 2018.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

In today’s edition, we’ll look at continuity in U.S. Supreme Court decisionmaking, address conflict with Iran, break down quantum jumps with a cartoon strip – and learn how California oyster farmers are coping with climate change and why one South African reads while he runs.

But first, here’s a question: What do ducklings and neo-Nazis have in common? Not much. But check out the creative solutions found for two civic problems on opposite sides of the world.

First, let’s go to Germany, where white supremacists descended on the town of Ostritz this past weekend for a “Shield and Sword” music festival. To prevent violence from breaking out (and frankly, discourage attendance), locals got a court order to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol at the event, reports Deutsche Welle. Police confiscated 4,200 liters of beer. But just in case concertgoers tried to replenish in town, residents bought out all the beer in the local supermarket. “We wanted to dry the Nazis out,” Georg Salditt told the ZDF Television. Did it work? About 600 people attended this year’s festival, half as many as last year.

Meanwhile, in Littleton, Colorado, authorities faced a completely different challenge. Last Thursday, eight ducklings were swept into a storm drain. Half were easily rescued. But four were still out of reach in a pipe. That’s when a member of the South Metro Fire Rescue team pulled out his phone.

He found a YouTube video of a duck quacking, and held his phone near the pipe. The frightened baby birds stopped chirping long enough to listen. Perhaps they heard the sound of safety. Or a stern rebuke. In any case, they responded by waddling into the waiting hands of a firefighter.  

Whatever the challenge, lost ducklings or neo-Nazis, there just might be a lesson for all of us in pausing to listen for an inspired solution.

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This article appeared in the June 25, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 06/25 edition