Tomorrow, citizens across Europe commemorate the signature of the Treaty of Rome 60 years ago. This commemoration comes at a decisive moment for our continent. The European project is, more than ever...
Why are we at Ende Gelände this weekend?
It would be easy to be discouraged by the lack of political and economic changes to fight climate change and to end fossil fuel extraction. Yet instead of sitting back, disappointed with this lack of progress, people are taking things into their own hands. That is why this weekend, thousands of activists from across Europe will unite together in the region of Lusatia in Germany under the name of "Ende Gelände", to block a lignite coal mine, one of the most polluting fossil fuels in use.
To understand how incredibly problematic lignite coal is, one can look at the entire process. Before even the first piece of coal has even been mined, damage has been done. While governments debate whether or not to approve new coal mines, they are losing time in actually building clean energy solutions and the infrastructure that it requires. Then, if the coal mine is approved, entire villages and communities must be moved in order to begin building the coal mine. The process of mining for the coal is incredibly polluting and puts the workers involved in great danger for their health. Finally, once the coal has been mined, it will then be burned, emitting enormous amounts of CO2, taking our planet one step further towards irreversible climate change.
The continuation of the dirty energy is putting our future at risk. We are already seeing climate refugees as a result of the wild levels of consumption by industrialized countries. That is why we believe that the ruthless climate pollution must come to an end. Governments and Parliaments must do more to stop fossil fuel extraction, but we won't wait for the climate skeptics to be silent and the corporate lobby corruption to be stopped. We will not stop, even if it means employing creative means of protest to foster the progress we know is necessary.
Currently, the coal-pit is for sale from Vattenfall, a company owned by the Swedish government. This ongoing process of trying to sell the coal-pit highlights that the market does not consider what is best for the planet, but simply what will bring the biggest profits.
In times of multiple crises and paralysed politics, change must come from the bottom. We need a real European energy transition, which isn't just necessary for the climate but also will create clean, sustainable jobs. Further, powerful energy companies create monopolies on the energy market and block the growth of small or medium, publicly controlled enterprises that can be the agents of the energy transition. As much as European social movements have been necessary to fight other dangerous forces, a European climate movement is needed to end climate change and democratise energy production. Young Greens all over Europe understand this and therefore activists from several FYEG Member Organisations are present at #EndeGelände this weekend.
There is a consensus amongst the activists not to employ violence or destruction as a means of political action, but to peacefully disrupt the coal mining instead, as an intervention to make the detrimental effects of coal mining known within society.