Thunberg visits a village in a lignite mining area |

Lützerath (dpa) – Only a country road separates the farm of farmer Eckardt Heukamp from the open-cast mine in Garzweiler. And if the energy company RWE and the federal government succeed, soon even more.

In order to prevent Lützerath and therefore also the Heukamp farm from having to make way for coal mining, environmental activists Greta Thunberg (18) and Luisa Neubauer (25) visited the village in North Rhine on Saturday. -Westphalia. In the luggage a small yellow sign with the inscription “Defend Lützerath, defend 1.5” (“Defend Lützerath, defend 1.5”). They dug their message into the ground outside the court, calling for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. It is a symbolic act, in a symbolic place – a day before the legislative elections.

“Even though it is a place full of sadness, I find it very encouraging and inspiring to see the dedication and commitment of the people who live here – who are fighting to keep these villages and who are fighting against the degradation of the climate and the land. ‘environment,’ Thunberg said. “This is what gives me hope.”

However, the Swedish environmental activist and initiator of the global movement Fridays for Future has warned against placing the fight against the climate crisis and the protection of villages threatened by surface mining in the hands of politicians alone. “We cannot solve this and the climate crisis with party politics. We need a massive mobilization of the population, ”she declared. “We want to urge people to help in this fight for climate and social justice.”

Ahead of a CDU election campaign event in Aachen on Saturday, Luisa Neubauer said: “A few kilometers from here, Angela Merkel and Armin Laschet speak out today and defend a fossil status quo which normalizes and justifies this destruction here “. But there is no justification for this. “It is unacceptable, it is unacceptable and therefore we will neither accept nor accept.”

The place Lützerath, in which hardly anyone lives, will disappear nearby for the extraction of coal at the Garzweiler surface mine. A decision must be taken by the end of 2026 as to whether the villages of Keyenberg, Kuckum, Ober- and Unterwestrich and Berverath, which are part of the town of Erkelenz, will have to cede. Mining in the three existing surface mines in the Rheinische Revier is to expire gradually and end in 2038 at the latest. The next raw manure period begins on October 1.

“When we say all villages stay, then we are not talking about standing houses, we are talking about protecting the livelihoods we depend on, together,” Neubauer said. “And we say we’re ready to stand between houses and excavators and between livelihoods and excavators.”

Compared to Thunberg’s appearance at the Fridays for Future event in Berlin on Friday, the date in Lützerath was much shorter. Still, it’s important to be here, she said. She wants to make people aware of what is happening in the village. “We have to raise awareness of what is going on here. And we need people to join the fight against this. Civil disobedience is also a legitimate way to do this, as long as it remains peaceful. “And we’ve seen people in this field use this tool very effectively in a lot of ways.”

Environmental activists also called on people outside Lützerath to continue working for the climate after the elections. “This choice will not solve the climate crisis, whatever the outcome. It will last a lot longer, ”Thunberg said. “We will have to continue to mobilize and take to the streets.”

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