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October 09, 2019

Stop the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine in western Germany

type: NGO
by: Yair Oded

When it comes to phasing out coal, Germany trails far behind other liberal democracies

While Germany vowed to phase out coal by 2038 (ten years after the U.K’s deadline), there seems to be no concrete evidence that the country is committed to shrinking its coal industry, and encroachment of oil giants on lands continue. 

In western Germany, the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine by the energy company RWE has inspired a union between local villagers who banded together under the name Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht (Human Rights Before Mining Rights) to fight the impending expansion. 

The RWE expansion is scheduled to begin in 2023, and is planned to demolish 12 villages that are homes to 7,600 residents. 

Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht vowed to refuse RWE’s expropriation agreement - under which the villagers would be paid to get resettled elsewhere - and intend to fight the company in court.

On its website, the group states, “We are not willing to accept that our houses, our gardens, our fertile fields, our cultural monuments, and our whole history, should be erased in a second – all for climate-damaging coal.”

“As just one person, it’s practically impossible to go up against the pressure exerted by RWE and most people do not have the financial means to engage in legal proceedings. But together, we are finding a way to bring expropriations for coal to an end once and for all – for people and for the climate,” the group further stated. 

Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht serves as a critical example of how, in lieu of appropriate and sufficient government action against coal giants, it is up to citizens to stand up to such companies.

Please support Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht by visiting their website, learning more about their mission, and spreading the news about their struggle across your immediate circles and use their hashtags on social media (#AkteKeyenberg #WirBleiben #HomesNotCoal). You may also invite members of Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht to speak at your event and share their experience. 

Their website has both English and German versions.

Image: courtesy of Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht