“The international climate negotiations on the implementation of the Paris climate conference will take place in Bonn in autumn 2017. But right next door in the Rhineland coal mining area, Europe’s largest CO2 emitter, the fuel most disastrous for the climate continues to be extracted and burnt. Germany is the world’s largest producer of lignite, a catastrophe for the climate.” – Ende Gelände
This past weekend a massive action for fossil-fuel phase-out took place in Germany’s Rhineland. Over 6000 people came together to take part in the two climate camps that were set up, the Red Lines protest or to participate in the mass civil disobedience actions Kohle erSETZEN and Ende Gelände.
Photo: Tim Wagner
There were many different types of creative actions and tactics, from blockades of the coal train tracks:
To actions in the mine:
Ende Gelände Action Day 1 – August 25. Photo: Jannis Große
And sit-ins blocking access to a coal-fired power station:
Kohle erSETZEN Action – August 26. Photo: Ende Gelände
A massive 3000 people formed a “red line” human chain in protection of the nearby Hambacher forest, an ancient species-rich woodland which threatens to fall victim to the coal digger:
Red Lines Action - August 26. Photo: Ende Gelände
Each one of the people taking part had their own story and motivations, such as this mother and daughter who were participating in the action together. A wonderful example of inter-generational determination, solidarity and trust.
Many of those who participated in actions had never done this before. But none of this would have been possible without all the incredible people who stayed at camp and provided round the clock support. From cooking and delivering food and drinks to the blockades to cleaning toilets and making sure the camp had access to power. They provided legal advice and tips on dealing with the police. They gave press interviews, further action trainings, and kept live coverage up to date. The atmosphere at the camp was truly magical.
Activists chopping vegetables for dinner at the Climate Camp Rhineland. Photo: Tim Wagner
What would make you cross the line?
This was the question that the Disobedience Live (live broadcasted documentary project) posed to 4 activists they followed on their journey to and throughout Ende Gelände. It was an honest, powerful, insightful, at times funny and poetic account of what one act of climate civil disobedience felt like. Check out the clips below and visit disobedience.live to find out more about the activists and what took place.
The pink queer-feminist finger showing that everyone is welcome at Ende Gelände. Photo: Tim Wagner
But this resistance is not just about coal and fossil fuels, it’s about climate justice for all.
The next big moment for action in Germany will be during the UN Climate Conference, chaired by Fiji and hosted in Bonn. The low-lying islands in the Pacific are heavily threatened by rising sea levels and increasingly frequent typhoons. But the local population has a clear message: We are not drowning, we are fighting!
And so we’ll continue the fight for climate justice together. The Pacific Climate Warriors will be joining us in Bonn in November. Together with Ende Gelände and the local population here in the Rhineland, they will continue the protest and oppose the fossil fuel industry. The survival of their culture, lifestyle and home depends on it.
To stay in touch with what happens next and how you can be involved, visit ende-gelaende.org and sign up for updates from 350.org.