Greta Thunberg Visits German Village Threatened By Open-Cast Mine
Only a country road separates farmer Eckardt Heukamp's farm from the Garzweiler open-cast mine, and if the energy company RWE and the German government have their way, even the road won't be there for much longer, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
Photo Insert: Greta Thunberg lends her voice to those opposed to the open-cast mine threatening North Rhine-Westphalia.
To prevent Heukamp's farm from being destroyed simply to mine more coal, climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled to the village in North Rhine-Westphalia with a friend on Saturday to lend her support.
"Even though this is a place that's full of sadness, I find it very hopeful and inspiring to see the dedication and engagement from the people living here - who are fighting to keep these villages and fighting against climate and environmental destruction," she said. "That's what gives me hope."
The day before Germany's parliamentary elections, the Swedish founder of the global Fridays for Future movement warned against putting the fight against the climate crisis and for the protection of villages threatened by open-cast mining solely in the hands of politicians.
"We cannot just solve this, we cannot the climate crisis with just party politics because we need a mass mobilization of people," she said. "We would like to urge people to help in this fight for climate justice and for social justice."
The village of Luetzerath, now almost entirely abandoned as the mine draws ever closer, will be the latest village to disappear as coal mining at the Garzweiler mine expands, but several others are due to follow.
"We need to spread awareness about what's happening here. And we need people to join the fight and join the mobilization against it," Thunberg said, adding that civil disobedience was a legitimate way to do so, as long as it remained peaceful.