Solidarity With Amazing Resistance To Destruction Of Hambacher Forest
All photos and video from Hambach Forest Facebook page.
We have covered the resistance to the destruction of the Hambach Forest before but not in several years. The resistance, which has been ongoing since 2012, have put out a call for international solidarity, so we want to highlight their impressive resistance, protecting this 12,000 year old forest from destruction to expand the largest coal mine and largest CO2 polluter in Europe.
The material for this update is taken from their website and Facebook page.
Summary of the situation: The Hambach Forest, which one could call the last “primeval” forest in Central Europe, is being stubbed for Europe’s biggest climate pollutant – the Rhenish lignite mining area of RWE (Rheinisches Braunkohlerevier), in which RWE mines brown coal. Whole villages and the health of human beings are destroyed in this process. To prevent all of this people squatted the Hambacher Forest and take part in other effective and direct Actions. Join us!
The Hambach Forest is one of the most naturally growing forests in Central Europe. It has existed continuously for 12,000 years. Before the beginning of the mining, it covered an area of 5.500 hectares, the largest forest of the region between Cologne and the Netherlands. Today, only 1.100 hectares are left, as the rest was cut down by RWE to mine lignite. If we do not stop RWE, the same thing will happen to the remaining forest.
The conflict is not only about the forest though, but also about the climate, our health, resettlement, and about the question: “Who decides?”
The open mine located now where the other part or the forest grew before is part of the Rhenish lignite mining area, the biggest mining area in Europe. This mining area is also the biggest single emission source of CO₂ in Europe. It produces more fine (respirable) dust than all traffic in Germany. This dust has a very negative impact on health, not only on people in close surroundings, but also in Cologne and the Ruhr area. Especially because this fine dust is radioactive. Not only the forest but even whole villages are destroyed for the Hambacher Tagebau open mine.
On April 14th of 2012 the Hambach forest was squatted by coal mining-opponents. In November it took 4 days for 600 police to evict the first squat. After that eviction a second squat began on the side of the forest.
Not only do we want to protect the forest, we also want to ask the question: “What
do we want our economy to look like in the future, if we do not want to destroy the
climate of this planet?” Burning fossil fuels surely cannot be one of our answers. An economic system that is based on a need to grow and that does not regulate its productivity according to
peoples needs is not one of our answers either.
The resistance is made up of a variety of people. They include people who without papers or money, others study while they live here and others work for money part of the year and spend the rest in the forest. The resistance is includes a high fluctuation with different people coming and going, constructing and creating, fighting and living.
The resistance is not only squatters but a huge network of supporters. It would have never been possible to keep the occupation alive for so long without the solidarity of supporters. This includes lawyers, doctors, neighbors with warm showers and big hearts, uncountable people not living here, but doing a lot from their homes against lignite and for a more just world.
Currently there are more than 30 tree houses in the squatted forest, and their number is still growing. Getting cozy, the occupying resistance can offer up to forty sleeping places in the trees. Most of the tree houses are in tree house villages, that means that the tree houses are connected with walkways. Using these, we can visit each other without touching the ground. One tree house is a safe space for woman, trans and inter people only. The highest tree house in the forest is 25 meters above ground. The higher they are, the harder to evict. The reason why tree houses are so effective, is that an eviction can be really complicated. This however is only true for occupied houses, empty trees are just cut. Therefore it’s important to keep them squatted 365 days a year. Most of the tree houses are equipped for the winter: walls are insulated with straw and have ovens for warmth. Some houses even offer solar electricity and internet.
On a meadow at the edge of the forest is the Meadow Camp. It functions as a base for the tree house occupations, has a communal kitchen, a round house for assemblies, a library and a museum. Since it is on privately owned grounds it cannot be entered by police or private guards without a judicial permit. Between the common houses there are multiple caravans and clay building which are being used as sleeping spaces for the people living here.
How You Can Respond to their Call for Solidarity
Come round For a few days
You can always visit us. Especially in the clearing season, it may be that police and security guard are present – do not let this intimidate you. In NRW is the forest rights, that is in the forest and on the tree houses to be is not illegal. If you still want information on the current situation before your visit, then call us: 0178 163 7325. Where & How you come to us you can find here .
For an action
The clearing works go every year from the 1st of October to the 1st of March. They can be hindered and stopped in many ways. Access roads can be blocked, endangered trees can be hugged, barricades can be erected. You can come with a group and do an action. Even if it’s just for a weekend – every action is valuable! If you need inspiration or organizational help then contact : hambacherforst @ riseup.net ( you can find the key on the website and on the PGP keysever) link actionmanual
For longer time
You want to stay longer? Yippeh! We need as many people as possible to protect the forest by inhabiting it. To help you find your way around, from September 2017 we want to give workshops in which we share all the knowledge, what it takes to occupy a forest and to carry out direct actions. Everything you need to live here we want to organize together. If you have any questions, contact: hambacherforst @ riseup.net , or call: 0178 163 7325.
Become active remotely
Our biggest push is the public. That is why it is important that as many people as possible learn about forest occupation. Many people do not even know that lignite is still burned in Germany, let alone what damage is done to it. The information does not come to people and we think it would be impossible to resist, is part of the system that suppresses us! Fight against us by informing people. Material can be found in the Media section .
One way to bring the fight for the Hambach Forest to your region is to organize events. Be it an information event, movie night, reading event, etc. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Distribute informational material
If you need flyers, posters or stickers, feel free to send us an e-mail. Furthermore, we ask flyers, posters and stickers to download. It is thus possible to print them yourself. It also contains important information, instructions and what to look out for in DIY (Do it Yourself) craft manuals and links. ,
Out of action
Activist against fighting repression also need a break. If you have a couch or room available, or if you know any projects and farms that have space and could imagine hosting someone who needs a rest for a few weeks, contact email@example.com
In case of eviction it is important to carry the message out of the forest. Organize a rally, a demo, or hang up a banner and take a solifoto. In order to be informed of an eviction, enter your number in the SMS distribution list (link follows, just send us an email)
The resistance in the Rhineland, which includes the occupations in and at the Hambacher Forst, unfortunately also needs money. Be it to finance ongoing court proceedings, climbing equipment, food and information material. The resistance is grateful for every donation.
If you have enough money and desire to donate, then do it here:
Account: Donations and Actions
Subject: Hambacher Forst,
IBAN: DE29 5139 0000 0092 8818 06
Share your skills with us
No matter where you are especially good, help us by sharing these skills with us. You can help revise texts for example, in our website and translate that record events with photographs, film or text support us in the judicial processes, organize art and cultural events or otherwise bring you whatever it suits you. To talk about ideas to report to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Write to prisoners.
Many people worldwide are in jail for their commitment to environmental destruction. Write to them to make their day a little more beautiful and show them your solidarity.
At the ABC Rhineland and at Earth First you can find information about the detained Compaś.
Become active groups / alliances
The capitalist system, in which destruction and exploitation are the order of the day, can only be overcome if we organize ourselves. There are many different alliances and organizations that stand in solidarity with us, and in which you can also contribute.
As an example for the Rhineland this is the “ Alliance against brown coal “, the “ Initiative Buirer for Buir “, Klimacamp and ausgeCO2lt.de . International action alliance “ Ende Gelände “.
Under the following link you will find a list of needed donations in kind and a text about: Supporting a tree occupation. But how?
Support a tree occupation. But how?
You want to support the tree occupation of Oaktown, Gaul or another, but do not know how, no problem. We (supporters and tree dwellers) have collected a few questions that are asked and answered again and again. For this purpose, it is shown how it can be applied to a wide variety of forms.
For more visit: “ Supporting a tree occupation. But how? “.