Links of solidarity must be urgently built between all those opposing fossil fuel expansion at the frontlines, like those at Lützerath.
A struggle to determine the future of Europe’s environmental movement is playing out in Lützerath, a small village in the German Rhineland.
Thousands of people have traveled to a camp, made up of farm buildings, treehouses, and other structures, to prevent the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine.
As this is being written, German police have begun a potentially several-week long operation to remove the climate activists preventing the mine expansion.
Activists are in an ongoing struggle with the German police, erecting barricades and blockading to prevent the eviction. They organise under the banner Lützerath Lebt. It translates to their main aim - ‘Lützerath lives’.
This is the culmination of several years of organising, whereby residents of four villages, including Lützerath, have attempted to save themselves from the mine expansion. Having exhausted all legal appeals, they are now blockading to prevent the expansion.
Despite this, and the German state’s goal of a 2038 coal phase-out, RWE, the energy company behind Garzweiler, has continued to push the expansion of the mine. This lignite coal, some of the most polluting in the industry, would lock the world into further emissions and colonial climate impacts.
Over the last few months, Lützerath Lebt have been preparing for the eviction, encouraging activists to come to the camp. Over the weekend, as the police tightened their encirclement of the camp, thousands arrived.
The continued commitment of the German, British and other governments to supporting polluters in their extraction shows the hypocrisy of their proclaimed green credentials. They cannot be relied upon to effect the transition from fossil fuels.
Links of solidarity must be urgently built between all those opposing fossil fuel expansion at the frontlines, like those at Lützerath. By building an international coalition - of communities facing fossil fuel expansion, those at the frontline of climate colonialism, and workers exploited by the fossil fuel industry - we can prevent this expansion and others.
After the massive growth of the environmental movement, interrupted partially by the pandemic, now is a test to see our strength. Failure would be a disaster.
Lützerath lives. Long may it.
Harry Holmes is a climate organiser and writer based in London. More details on how to stand with Lützerath can be found here.