Power in Numbers: Thousands Say NO to Coal Reliance in Germany

“More than 6,000 climate activists from across Europe were here in the Rhineland this weekend. We shut down the entire Rhineland region’s lignite production. … We are fighting for the immediate stop of coal production, but we have to do a lot more. We demand a different economic system, one that is socially fair and respects our planet’s limits.”

Kathrin Henneberger, journlaist & climate activist

Several news headlines have stated that this protest, held at the open-cast lignite Garzweiler mine, one of Germany’s largest, in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, involved hundreds of people. In fact it was over 6,000.

Coordinated by Kathrin Henneberger, member of the environmental justice group Ende Gelände ( transl. “End of Story”), these protesters were intentionally separated into groups in order to cover the most ground. One group rushed the coal mines, another camped out on rail tracks leading to a coal-fired power station, blocking trains from entering or leaving the area. Several of these demonstrators were detained by The Aachen Police force.

It nearly unanimously agreed upon by climate scientists that the ending of reliance on fossil fuel use by mid-century is an absolute must if countries want to achieve the 2015 Paris climate accord's most ambitious goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5C compared to pre-industrial times.

"We still have hope, the door is still open to a future within the 1.5 degrees C limit," Sina Reisch, a spokeswoman for the Ende Gelände alliance, said in a statement. "But we will miss this last chance if we don't act immediately.

ABOUT Ende Gelände

We are a broad alliance of people from the anti-nuclear and anti-coal movements, the Rhineland and Lausitz climate camps and the Hambacher Forest anti-coal campaign. We are from grassroots climate action groups, large environmental organizations, left political groups and many other campaigns, groups and networks.

We all share the belief that to stop climate change we need to take action ourselves, using civil disobedience as a powerful signal for real action to put our climate before profit.

Find out more here or get in touch here.

Cover image Credit: Twitter: @wearegolden2019