Ende Gelände

Ende Gelände is a German network of grassroots climate action groups. It brings together people from the anti-nuclear and anti-coal movements, the Rhineland and Lausitz climate camps and the Hambach Forest anti-coal campaign.
They start from the conviction that in order to stop climate change people must act, and that the best way to do this is non-violent civil disobedience. The name is a German expression meaning «here and no further».

Above all, it is known for its mass protests (between 3000 and 7000 participants) at opencast lignite mines, coal used in Germany for energy production, and which they have thus managed to bring to a temporary standstill. The first ones took place in 2015, the year of the Paris Summit. The mobilization of so many people corresponds to a feeling permeated in society of the need for change, but also in a great work of mobilization and action that extends throughout the year.

Coinciding with the Climate Summit in Berlin in 2019, Ende Gelände once again occupied the Garzweiler mine. This open-pit lignite mine covers an area of 48 km², and is notable for its mega rotary excavators, monsters heavier than the Eiffel Tower and taller than the Statue of Liberty. The mine’s radius of action is growing and engulfing the surrounding villages.

With this action, Ende Gelände drew attention to the hypocrisy of its own government, which, while organizing the Climate Summit, concentrates its energy production on a fossil fuel such as lignite, which has a high greenhouse effect, and again demanded that its use be abandoned. Ende Gelände is also pushing for the occupation of the Hambach forest to prevent the mine from continuing its expansion.

Germany has been the world’s largest producer of lignite since the beginning of its energy use. Lignite, which has a lower calorific value than hard coal because it is softer and wetter, also produces more CO2 when burned. Lignite mining has affected 179,490 hectares in Germany, including ecosystems and agricultural production areas, and has destroyed 313 villages (since 1924).

One of the hallmarks of Ende Gelände is the use of white divers. Its great mobilization capacity and its forms have been inspiring. In the Basque Country, the clearest example was Gipuzkoa Zutik, which used many of the elements such as the divers and the occupation of infrastructures that they denounced as responsible for climate change, such as the Zubieta incinerator.

Ende Gelände was also the driving force behind the climate network By 2020 We Rise Up, which brought together some 60 (climate) justice groups, mostly from Europe. Its focus was on 2020 as the year chosen by (international and national) institutions to implement many climate policies that did not materialize and to denounce it as such. Like Ende Gelände, their activity focused on civil disobedience and mass actions. Obviously, its objectives were frustrated by coinciding with the year of the Covid 19 affection, which made political activism impossible. In Spain, it converged with Extinction Rebellion (and others) to form 2020 Rebellion for the Climate.

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