As the demolition of Lützerath is taking place in Germany and raised protests from climate advocates internationally, Galway Pulse talked to a German environment and sustainability activist from the boarding region of Hessen, Justus Dahmen-Wassenberg, who expressed his concern about what’s happening.
“By allowing RWE to go on with the project, the German government is acting against its own beliefs,” he says, “They have been claiming that the country risks remaining without energy since the war in Ukraine started, so they decided to go back to brown coal although they had always said they wouldn’t.”
Mr Dahmen-Wassenberg has taken sustainability and the preservation of small communities seriously: in 2021, he founded the cultural centre Die Taube in his small town Bromskirchen, one and a half hours away from Frankfurt. The centre has been built with ecological material only, and hosts workshops of any kind of activity to keep the community engaged and together.
He thinks that although many other Germans have come to live in a sustainable way, through similar projects or through communal living and organic farms, there’s still half of the population that doesn’t care. “The climate issue is still a very divisive topic in this country,” he explains, “German mainstream media have been degrading and offensive against the protesting activists in Lützerath, as if they were to confirm the Government’s narrative.”
According to Mr Dahmen-Wassenberg, the Government is putting in place a “dirty campaign”: “Through the violent police response, then, the Government showed the protesters it’s the State who takes decisions here. Unfortunately, even if they create their own narrative, the climate crisis can’t just disappear.”
After the state and RWE intervened through the years, he explained Lützerath was only “the leftovers of a village”, and it was clear to everyone that it would be demolished eventually. “But the activists got roots, they were able to build a fortress around the demolishment site and Lützerath has now become a symbol,” he added.