Climate protection – tightrope act – society
What is she doing up there?
Protest. You can hear that too. There is often a faint click at first. The noise comes from clipping the carabiners with which demonstrators attach themselves to ropes high above the ground in Lützerath and walk on them from one tree house to the next. They hole up so high it makes it harder for the police to carry them away. Otherwise, the background noise is very mixed: sometimes you can hear the wind rustling through leaves, sometimes protest chants, sometimes excavators or chainsaws. “Lützi stays”, “climate protection is not a crime” or police announcements over the loudspeaker. Others sing, play the violin or the guitar.
Why are they chopping wood?
Serious? Climate activists chop wood? They do this so that it doesn’t get too uncomfortable: it has rained a lot in the past few days, the ground is wet and slippery. To make walking easier, protest supporters have laid paths made of wooden boards or mats on the ground. They warm up around large campfires. Who is responsible for hacking is rescheduled every day. To do this, people meet in a blue and white striped circus tent in the morning and distribute tasks: serving in the kitchen, refilling the disinfectant dispenser, chopping wood, doing the dishes. The “shit brigade”, which is responsible for emptying the toilets, is less popular.
How does it smell there?
Especially after mud and damp soil. Otherwise it depends on where you are: The protest camp was set up in the abandoned village of Lützerath and borders on the demolition edge. In other words, where it goes down to 210 meters. The job of the police is to take the people away because the lignite is to be mined under the village. There is much debate as to whether this is necessary. The protesters and a scientific opinion say no. The energy company RWE and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, say that coal is needed in the current energy crisis and must be promoted. This is exactly what the protesters want to prevent. They barricade themselves in the abandoned buildings and on self-built tree houses. The alternate camp is about a 40-minute walk away. The people there support the protest, but shy away from direct contact with the police. There it smells mainly of coffee, potato leek soup and campfire. Unless you get close to the homemade separating toilets …
Are there fries there too?
The nearest chip shop is quite a long way away. On foot, but also mentally: It’s all about the protest, food is rather a minor matter in the camps. The main thing is that it fills you up for a long time and is easy to prepare in large quantities. In the morning there is oatmeal or bread, at lunchtime there is usually soup or stew and in the evening another warm dish. In addition, the supporters can always get coffee, herbal tea and warm water for hot-water bottles. If you can’t do without fries, you have to walk about seven kilometers to the next town.
Why the glitter fingers?
Many activists do not want to be recognized for fear of prosecution. They don’t reveal their names or ages, leave their IDs at home, pull scarves up to their noses and hats just over their eyes. Some also put glitter on their hands to fake their fingerprints. This makes it harder for the police to identify them.
How will the weekend be?
This week, around 1,500 police officers were on duty in Lützerath every day. At the weekend they want to push ahead with the evacuation of the village. The climate protectors have announced resistance – with barricades, adhesive tapes and sit-ins. They are planning a big demonstration for Saturday, to which even Greta Thunberg wants to come. There will probably be village walks again, last week there were more than 3000 people. The protest is also about time: the clearing season ends on March 1st. If Lützerath has not been cleared by then, RWE will not be allowed to cut down trees and continue digging until October.