Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Chanting 'Keep It In the Ground,' Thousands Descend on German Coalfields

Climate
Chanting 'Keep It In the Ground,' Thousands Descend on German Coalfields
@GYGeorg / Twitter

By Jake Johnson

Demanding an end to coal and all forms of dirty energy extraction, more than 4,000 activists descended on the Rhineland coalfields in Germany early Sunday in a mass demonstration just a day before COP23 climate talks are set to kick off.

"On the international stage, politicians and corporations present themselves as climate saviors, while a few miles away, the climate is literally being burned," Janna Aljets, a spokesperson for the environmental alliance Ende Gelände, which helped organize the action, said in a statement. "We do not want to be world champions in extracting and burning lignite anymore. We want to fulfill our historic responsibility. That's why we go to the coal mines, to protect the climate there."


"Fossil fuels must stay in the ground," Aljets added. "We are here at the scene of destruction to send out a clear signal for climate justice. Together we are many, together we are determined and strong."

Remarkable images and footage of the mass action quickly spread on social media, with environmentalists hoisting signs calling for "system change, not climate change" and chanting "keep it in the ground!"

The Rhineland mines have long been targeted by activists due to the millions of tons of carbon dioxide they emit per year. Activist and author Naomi Klein has called the coalfields "an existential threat to humanity."

"Germany's lignite mines are among the biggest coal mines in the world," Zane Sikulu, a Climate Warrior from Tonga, said in a statement. "If we don't shut them down, we have no chance as Pacific Islanders. We're here to protect our land, our culture and our identities as Pacific people."

As Common Dreams reported on Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump is looking to use the COP23 talks as a platform to sell fossil fuels—and coal in particular—as necessary and beneficial.

Demonstrators sought to make clear that any concessions to the fossil fuel industry and to the Trump administration are unacceptable, and that ambitious solutions must be pursued in the face of a rapidly warming planet.

"At the U.N. climate summit the fossil lobby sits at the negotiating table. By contrast, the voices of those who are already suffering massively from the consequences of climate change have too little weight," concluded Dorothee Häussermann, a spokesperson of Ende Gelände. "We have to push for real solutions ourselves. This it what we aim for today, when we are going to block coal infrastructure in the Rhenish coalfield."

While many images depicted demonstrators engaged in a peaceful stand-off with police, photos that showed police deploying pepper spray against sitting activists soon began to spread.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

RECOMMENDED

Ahead of COP23 Climate Talks: 25,000 March Demanding End to 'Era of Fossil Fuels'

Key Trends to Watch at COP23

Milkyway from Segara Anak - Rinjani Mountain. Abdul Azis / Moment / Getty Images

By Dirk Lorenzen

2021 begins as a year of Mars. Although our red planetary neighbor isn't as prominent as it was last autumn, it is still noticeable with its characteristic reddish color in the evening sky until the end of April. In early March, Mars shines close to the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation Taurus.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D.

Despite a journey to this moment even more treacherous than expected, Americans now have a fresh opportunity to act, decisively, on climate change.

The authors of the many new books released in just the past few months (or scheduled to be published soon) seem to have anticipated this pivotal moment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marsh Creek in north-central California is the site of restoration project that will increase residents' access to their river. Amy Merrill

By Katy Neusteter

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less
A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less