Surf's UP Basel!; Dinosaur Sized Donation; Opposing Climate Referendums On Ballot

News For 14 November 2023

Not everyone is lamenting the incessant rain in the Basel region over the last few weeks.  It seems the deluge has caused the Birs river, a tributary that empties into the Rhein in the middle of Basel, to swell enough to have a large, surfable, standing wave.  Before you get too excited and start waxing your board, you might want to recall that the average air temperature in Basel during the latest storm was 9 degrees centigrade in the daytime, and the water in the river is only a slightly warmer, balmy, 10 degrees centigrade.


Novartis, the global pharmaceutical giant headquartered in Basel is donating a full-sized dinosaur fossil to the Basel Natural History Museum.  The skeleton of the 150 million year-old, 10 meter long Allosaurus will be moved from its current display on the Novartis campus to the museum in its new building in the St. Johann neighborhood.  The move will occur once the new building is completed as part of a permanent loan from the company to the city.


On November 26, voters in Basel will have the chance to vote on two opposing ballot initiatives.  The first, called "Good Air Initiative", if approved, will seek to turn 1/2 a percent of Basel's street area into green space every year for ten years.  The second, called "Future Initiative", seeks to turn the same 1/2 a percent of Basel's street area into pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation zones every year for the next ten years.  That half a percent adds up - over 10 years the amount of space consumed by either project will exceed 480,000  square meters, four times larger than the Basel Zoo.  Proponents of both initiatives claim that voting for one over the other will lead to for the climate, the other for the economy.