The first time I saw an open-pit coal mine, I felt despair. The mine was enormous. It was hard to realise the scale of the destruction, until I saw the huge machines digging through the earth, the people around them so tiny.
It was a shock – realising that this was happening in Germany, half an hour away from Cologne, a city I now call my home. But I come from Peru. I’ve seen farmers and indigenous people struggle to preserve their livelihoods in the face of climate impacts. Impacts which start here, with the huge machines digging up more and more coal to burn.
Germany has a reputation of being an international climate leader. But witnessing Europe’s biggest source of CO2 in the Rheinland lignite mines, I realised that it was not the whole truth.
I decided to speak up: for myself, for my people in Peru, and for everyone else across the world forced to bear the consequences of that coal being burnt in Germany. Because it’s up to us to raise our voices about Germany’s role in fueling the climate crisis.
Now is our best moment to be heard: within the next months Germany will agree and announce its plans on when and how to stop digging up and burning coal. We can make sure that before they do, they hear the voices of people around the world impacted by climate change, demanding urgent action.
That’s why I’m calling on the German government to stop fueling climate change. The more of us joining together, the louder we can be in demanding that Germany phases out coal – fast. Please join me and others from all around the world, and sign this petition!
I’m demanding this for the potato farmers in the region of Huánuco, who face the loss of their livelihoods and traditional methods of growing crops. I’m demanding this for indigenous communities, who are already witnessing the impacts on the animals and plant species. Climate change is already rewriting the stories of millions of people around the world, like the communities from the Amazonas that I represent.
My voice is just one of many and my story is not the only one. There are people from all around the world calling on Germany to quit coal: Heiner Lütke, a farmer from Brandenburg, Germany, suffering due to severe droughts; Reiko Takeuchi, whose home in Japan was badly affected by recent floods; and Fenton Lutunatabua, a Pacific Climate Warrior fighting to keep his island above water; to name but a few.
We can still stop the worst of it – but decision-makers need to stop stalling. Together, we can push them to action.